Baraboo’s east-side grocery has a new name and some fresh features, but customers needn’t fear getting lost in the aisles.
The Eighth Street store formerly known as Viking Express Market became Fresh Express Market on Sept. 5. The change followed a split in which Brian Pierce took on full ownership of the family’s Baraboo grocery and Lake Delton liquor store, and sister Pam took full ownership of Viking Village in Reedsburg.
The transition got Pierce out of the office and onto the floor, where Thursday morning he made casserole in the deli. “There’s nothing worse than pushing a desk,” Pierce said. “It’s fun being down with the people. These are our friends and neighbors.”
He’s overseeing several additions, including new deli sandwich options and an island of new cases featuring specialty cheeses and heat-and-eat dinners. Fresh Express will add a salad bar next month, followed by sushi in November.
“We’re changing how we do a lot of things,” store manager Brian More said.
Local grocery shoppers have seen many changes this year. In May, Festival Foods bought Pierce’s Marketplace in West Baraboo. Festival held a grand opening this week after overhauling the store.
Fresh Express opted for subtler changes. “We’re just going to try to get better at what we’ve been doing and not change who we are,” More said.
Changes across town have presented opportunities, with Fresh Express picking up popular Pierce’s brands Festival dropped.
Pierce’s family goes back 90 years in Baraboo, and established the Pierce’s stores. The original incarnation of the east side store, a video store, went up across the street from its current location in 1984. It later grew into a convenience store. In 2008 it closed as an expanded store went up on the north side of Eighth.
“It’s my community,” Pierce said. “The tradition continues.”
He reassures customers asking questions about recent changes that the store will remain locally owned and a dependable community partner.
“We’ve got a lot of great stuff happening,” Pierce said.