Sophie Bolich

Third Ward Grocer Will Be Upscale, Local

First Wisconsin location for Illinois-based Go Grocer will be 35% local products.

By - Jul 11th, 2022 08:34 pm
Site of Go Grocer MKE, a small-format store planned for the Historic Third Ward.

Site of Go Grocer MKE, a small-format store planned for the Historic Third Ward. Photo taken July 11, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

Go Grocer MKE, a small-format grocery store planned for the Historic Third Ward, would emphasize family, community and local products.

The “micro-grocery” is designed to have the convenience of a corner store with the upscale feel of a high-end grocer, offering national brands alongside locally-made goods and prepared meals, said co-owner Johnny Rivera.

He explained the importance of community for the store, which will cater to customers purchasing food for a few days at a time rather than stocking up on several weeks worth of groceries.

“We wanted to pick Milwaukee because we feel like it’s a perfect area for people to feel like they’re connected with not only our store, but our brands, and then also make it convenient for them to have a good experience,” he said. “What Gloriosos does for the East Side, we want to do that for the Third Ward. We want people to feel like they’re part of the family.”

Rivera will co-own the store with his brother, Edgar Rivera. Johnny Rivera said that, as the children of immigrants, the two brothers want to emphasize the values of family business and great service, “to create a brand that stays true to making sure that we give back to the community that gave us a chance and gave our parents a chance,” he said.

The pair are still working to finalize the store’s product offering, but hope to carry Pilcrow Coffee, Scratch Ice Cream and Juiced! beverages, among other locally produced products. All together, approximately 35% of the store’s inventory would be locally-sourced.

The upcoming store would be the first national expansion for the Illinois-based company, which operates nearly 20 stores throughout Chicago and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Rivera’s family friends Paul and Greg Stellatos founded Go Grocer in 2008 and quickly realized that the store’s success depended on customer relationships. Without the security of being a big-box retailer, Stellatos had to engage with customers, act on feedback and build relationships to achieve success.

You can get a Diet Coke anywhere, and an apple’s an apple,” Paul Stellatos said. “But when there’s a story behind it, and when there’s more than just buying a Diet Coke, when you can support that local company, people tend to gravitate towards that.”

Stellatos was “blown away” during a recent visit to Milwaukee, influencing his decision to open a Go Grocer location in the city.

The Milwaukee store is slated to open by November 2022, depending on licensing and construction timelines, according to Johnny Rivera. The 1,985-square-foot space is currently undergoing renovations including a walk-in cooler buildout, new flooring and interior design updates. A liquor license is pending before the Milwaukee Common Council.

Go Grocer, 415 E. Menomonee St., would operate on the ground floor of the Gaslight Lofts, a Mandel Group property, taking over the space that previously held the Light the Hoan pop-up. Neighboring businesses include Archambeaus salon and the recently-opened Riley’s Sandwich Co.

Once open, the store’s hours would be daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with liquor sales from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Local purveyors interested in partnering with Go Grocer are encouraged to reach out to

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Categories: Food & Drink, Weekly

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