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Good Harvest Market invests in 'third place' with new store

Nurturing place is important for the owners of Good Harvest Market, a Natural Foods Merchandiser, Natural Products Expo East Retailer of the Year award nominee.

Beth Potter, Freelance writer

September 9, 2015

2 Min Read
Good Harvest Market invests in 'third place' with new store

When Wisconsin residents Joe and Jody Nolan decided to start eating a more healthy diet, they realized they didn’t have any nearby grocery store to shop at. So they decided to start their own—the all-organic Good Harvest Market grocery store in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Just a little more than 10 years later, the Nolans are on a new mission that includes an expanded store with a cafe. Good Harvest Market recently moved to a new, 23,000-square-foot store and café space that’s nearly double the size of the 12,000-square-foot original store.

The couple attributes their continued success to the fact that they think about the store in terms of themselves as shoppers. Joe Nolan previously worked as an investment strategist at Robert W. Baird and Co. for 30 years; Jody was a ceramic artist.

Good Harvest Market’s new store stands in these unique ways:

Store location. The new Good Harvest Market is next door to a 17-acre nature conservancy, where the Nolans hope to offer future nature walks and outdoor education programs. Wild turkeys, deer and whooping cranes on the conservancy land have delighted cafe and store-goers in recent months.

Baby Boomers are a target market. Joe Nolan wants to offer people his age the healthy alternative to a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. In the cafe, a diner might spend $9 for a hamburger and green salad and feel good about the meat, versus paying a slightly smaller price for the McDonald’s meal, Joe Nolan says. The breakfast, lunch and dinner are almost 100 percent organic, with numerous intriguing food options, he says. “(Baby Boomers) are interested in eating out. If they’re eating out and eating healthy, they’re willing to spend,” Nolan says.

Creates a community-oriented “third place.” A person’s “first place” is home, the “second place” is work and the “third place” is where communities are built, according to a philosophy espoused by author Ray Oldenburg. Joe Nolan is a huge adherent of making the cafe the store customer’s “third place” where they go to relax and engage with others in the community. Indoor and outdoor seating looks out over the nature conservancy land, which gives diners a calming experience, Nolan said. “It’s more about the experience. People love it. They’re flocking to the café, and flocking to the store,” Nolan says. “The move to the new place got us back to our roots.”

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