Woodman's Markets

Woodman's Food Markets, Inc.
Industry Retail
Founded Janesville, Wisconsin (1919)
Headquarters Janesville, Wisconsin
Number of locations
Key people
Phil Woodman, President
Products Grocery
Revenue $2 Billion[1]
Number of employees
Website woodmans-food.com

Woodman's Markets is an employee-owned U.S. regional supermarket chain based out of Janesville, WI. Founded in 1919 as a produce stand, Woodman's has grown to operate sixteen stores in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Woodman's has appeared on Supermarket News Top 50 Small Chains & Independents list since 2010.[3][4][5] All Woodman's locations are open 24 hours a day, and have a gas station & convenience store within close proximity to the store.


Woodman's Markets was started in 1919 by John Woodman, as a produce stand on the corner of Milton & Sherman Avenues in Janesville, WI. John's son, Willard, would later join his father, and in 1921 they built an indoor location on the original produce stand corner. The company continued grow throughout the middle 20th century, and in 1956 opened a second Janesville location. (The original two stores would eventually close, and be replaced by one larger store in 1973.[6]) Willard's son Phil joined him in managing the company in the 1960s, and remains President today. In 1971 Woodman's opened their first location outside of Janesville, in neighboring Beloit. In 1975 Woodman's became the first Wisconsin based grocery store to begin using UPC scanners.

Since the late 1970s, Woodman's has opened an additional fifteen stores throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. Notable openings include the Kenosha, WI and Rockford, IL stores. The Kenosha location, which in 1997, was the largest grocery store in the United States. The 2001 opening of the Rockford, IL store marks the first time Woodman's opened a store outside of Wisconsin. Woodman's was originally privately owned by the Woodman family until 1998, when it became a 100 percent employee owned company. In March 2008, Woodman's hit $1 billion in annual sales.

Store Layout & Sales model

Woodman's stores are based on a modified warehouse model, with stores in the 200-250,000+ square foot range. The average square footage of a typical grocery store ranges between 50-75,000 square feet. Most new locations are built as an anchor store with several smaller outlots surrounding the store. The company prefers not to take on debt so it only opens new stores every 2–3 years, and remodels existing stores during the times in-between opening new stores.

Each Woodman's store features a liquor section notably larger than most other grocery and liquor store chains. Beer selection includes national brands, regional craft brews, and imports; many other brands can be obtained by special request. At a new or recently remodeled Woodman's, the liquor store is often as large as a typical small-town grocery.

Prices at Woodman's are lower than at many large grocery store chains because of their bulk purchasing model. Most items are stocked on the shelves by employees, but special bulk purchases and other items are sometimes shelved in their shipping cases or stacked in the aisles. Each store carries a variety of local products, as well as regional brands not typically found in Wisconsin. The store brand is Shurfine, which is one of the many brands of Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based private label co-op Topco Associates.

Woodman's allows payment only by cash, check, PIN-based debit cards and EBT. Woodman's does not accept payment by credit card to avoid processing fees.

The company previously owned a stake in Roundy's, now a key regional competitor.[7]

Other services

All Woodman's locations have gas stations within close proximity to the main store. All gas stations except Madison West have car washes, and all except Madison West & Janesville offer oil change services. Most stores also feature a Sushi Bar, and provide parcel pick-up.

Shopping carts are varied, offering electric carts for those unable to navigate the large area of the store, oversized carts for those making large purchases, carts that allow children to be strapped in, and carts for adults with special needs.

Mental health

Despite the company being employee owned, Phil Woodman created controversy in December 2009 by eliminating the company's mental health coverage, complaining that patients could rack up uncontrolled costs for the company.[8][9]


Woodman's has sixteen locations:



  1. "Private Company Overview: Woodman's Food Market" (PDF). PCG. September 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-04. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "The Employee Ownership 100". The National Center for Employee Ownership. 2005. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  3. Supermarket News. "Top 50 Small Chains& Independents 2010".
  4. Supermarket News. "Top 50 Small Chains & Independents 2011".
  5. Supermarket News. "Top 50 Small Chains and Independents 2012".
  6. http://www.woodmans-food.com/about/history/
  7. "Roundy's Inc., Form 10-K SEC Filing for 1999". sec.gov. UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. January 2, 1999. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  8. SHAWN DOHERTY (December 21, 2009). "Woodman's drops mental health coverage". The Capital Times.
  9. Dan Cassuto (Dec 22, 2009). "Protestors call on Woodman's to return mental health coverage". WKOW.
  10. Ronnie Wachter (June 21, 2016). "Buffalo Grove approves $7 million incentive for Woodman's Food Market project". Chicago Tribune.
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