Woodman’s in Carpentersville, Illinois

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Woodman’s in Carpentersville, Illinois

By Steve Frenda - 06/14/2018

Woodman’s, a 16-store supermarket chain out of Wisconsin with stores in Northeast Illinois, is something of a secret unless you live in that area. In addition to being tucked away in the heartland, Woodman’s brings something very special to the communities its serves: an incredible selection and prices that I’m convinced beat Walmart. When I say selection, it’s hard to imagine what a 200,000-plus-square-foot supermarket even looks like. Imagine a Walmart Supercenter that stocks mostly food items plus non-food items carried by typical grocers. No clothing, sporting goods, hardware, garden, consumer electronics, etc.

That begs the question: What is the feel of a Woodman's? It's a unique combination of "treasure hunt" and warehouse. With a smile on my face, I might point out that they have never met a display they didn't like. Additionally, the assortments up and down the aisles are extraordinary. I was especially struck by the availability of emerging brands of the natural, organic and good for you variety.

Woodman's is employee-owned, which in tandem with its value and service create an enormous sense of loyalty. Later this year, Woodman’s will open a store in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. It will be its closest store to the city of Chicago – a new chapter of a wonderful story.

  • You can’t help but notice the massive displays in a Woodman’s store. In this case, General Mills’ cereals are the beneficiary of this cross-merchandising in the dairy department.
  • One of the healthy and natural brands featured is Kellogg Co.’s Bear Naked (granola, cereal and snacks). The brand is so committed to its founding principals that it even uses recycled packaging materials from TerraCycle. Woodman’s is a haven for emerging or “challenger” brands.
  • Keeping with the theme of “healthy for you,” here’s a display for Lenny and Larry’s cookies. The mission of this company/brand is to provide quality cookies that not only taste great, but also contain protein and fiber.
  • On the flip side of healthy: Confections giant Mars Inc. can use its creativity and field marketing muscle to take advantage of the many display opportunities at Woodman’s. Here, the M&M’s brand is promoting the early summer holidays and a “Made for America” theme.
  • One of the very impressive elements of this store is its liquor store-within-a-store, which includes massive displays for major brands with a local theme. In this case, Beam Suntory’s Jim Beam is promoting a Chicago Cubs/Wrigley Field connection with a massive display and aggressive pricing.
  • Aggressive merchandising and brand collaboration is well-established within the DNA of Woodman's. In this example, Red Bull has a combination refrigerated/shelf-stable merchandising piece that contains a wide variety of the Red Bull assortment.
  • In my overall description of Woodman's I referred to their incredible variety. Here's one example of the brands you can find in their sauces and marinades section. Imagine aisles such as 60 feet each of sauces / marinades, pickles and olives, spaghetti sauces and 72 feet of pasta. They have variety that challenges the culinary imagination.

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