BROOKFIELD, Wis. -- V. Richard's Market has struck a deal with a convenience store operator that's expected to fuel sales for both parties.
The link-up is with Dairyland Fuels, a local company that owns and operates five upmarket c-stores under the DayBreak Convenience Center banner.
V. Richard's has leased 1,400 square feet for its fresh departments inside the company's newest store -- a 9,000-square-foot flagship unit currently under construction in nearby Delafield.
This will be the first satellite location for V. Richard's since it expanded its central kitchen earlier this year and opened a small meals store adjacent to the facility [see "Independent Opens Door to Fresh Meals Concept," SN, 3/19/01].
"The arrangement is perfect for us. The demographics are right. Delafield is an area we've been looking at for a long time. We weren't ready yet to invest in a satellite location but this opportunity just came to us," said Liz Little, president of the privately owned V. Richard's.
The deal requires the independent retailer to pay rent based on a percentage of sales, with a cap, Little said. Display cases and refrigeration will be provided by the convenience store.
"All we have to do is supply our own inventory and labor," Little said.
Two of the V. Richard's counters -- fresh meat and deli -- will be full service. Produce and bakery will be self-service, but will occupy substantial display space.
There will be 12 linear feet of baked goods and 8 feet of produce. The baked items, all made at V. Richard's central facility, will include a whole range of morning items like croissants, muffins and doughnuts. All V. Richard's from-scratch bread varieties will be represented, and so will many of its pastries.
Eight feet of full-service deli will feature salads and slicing meats and cheeses. Adjacent will be an 8-foot case of prepared entrees, sides and wrap sandwiches.
The star of the fresh assemblage, however, will be a full-service meat department with a three-tier service case running 24 feet. An 8-foot self-service section will sit next to it. A meat cutter will be on duty.
"This will be a good opportunity for us to reach more people with our fresh products," Little said.
Partnering in such a way with the newest unit of DayBreak Convenience Centers is practically risk-free for V. Richard's, she explained.
"Delafield is a very upscale town about seven miles west of Brookfield, in the lake country. We have a lot of customers out there now. They come to our store or to the meals store."
The Delafield area is also growing rapidly.
"People are building permanent homes where they used to have just vacation homes and everything has to be in the Williamsburg [Va.] style. Randy's new store there will be all cedar shingles and red brick and the gasoline pumps won't be visible from the front. That's to fit in with the community," Little added.
She emphasized, too, that she and the other owners of V. Richard's are comfortable doing business with Randy Warren, Dairyland Fuels' president.
"DayBreak Convenience Centers have been around for a long time and their stores are nice. They have a different look. Also, Randy had an existing store here, a smaller one, and it was his best [volume] store. So we know the business will be there."
Warren said he's delighted to have V. Richard's in his store.
"What prompted me to contact V. Richards is their reputation. When you think of upscale in this neck of the woods, you think V. Richards. There are some other entities that have good supermarket offerings, but to me V. Richard's is the creme de la creme," Warren said.
Warren, who describes himself as a second-generation petroleum marketer, told SN why he was seeking a fresh-foods presence for his newest store. For one thing, he's seen margins on gasoline dwindle over the last few years.
"I've been in business a long time and I've seen a trend for smaller and smaller margins in gasoline, so we have to get more out of our inside sales. Create more profit centers inside the store."
Little said she had no hesitancy associating V. Richard's with the new DayBreak Convenience Center set to open in September. This one will be the company's largest, at 9,000 square feet. Other units top out at about 2,000 square feet.