What do you do with 240,000 square feet of retail space? For Janesville, Wis.-based Woodman’s Markets, you open two gas stations on adjacent parking lots, wall off a separate liquor store and fill a massive grocery floor with items meant to offer choice and harder-to-find selections to a diverse local market.
Woodman’s newest store opened in August on the site of a former Macy’s at Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale, Ill., about 28 miles west of Chicago. The mall, formerly anchored by the likes of Sears, Carson Pirie Scott, JCPenney and Macy’s, saw its vacancy rate soar to 69% this year from 26% in 2019, the Daily Herald recently reported, and the Village of Bloomingdale in May hired a community-planning firm to come up with new ideas for the 40-year-old mall.
For Woodman’s, the site was a prime opportunity to move into an established location in a busy commercial corridor near major highways and to deploy the retailer’s model of offering a no-frills, value-oriented shopping experience in massive locations (Woodman’s stores average 230,000 square feet) where wide selection is the name of the game.