Ben Campioni, co-owner and manager of the 36,000 square-foot Calumet store, said the new addition has allowed the family to offer much more produce, including organic produce. The addition, for which construction began last year, also includes Grandma Jan’s Cafe, named for his mother, and a larger selection of cheeses.
The extra floor space allowed for additions in the rest of the store, including more refrigerated food.
“In every department, we expanded,” he said.
The expansion at the Calumet store is part of changes throughout the Campioni chain, which have taken place over the last few years, Campioni said. In September 2005, the brothers opened a new store in L’Anse, which Joe manages; in 2006, they added a True Value hardware store inside Festival Foods in Houghton, and last year they added 10,000 square feet to the Hancock store, creating a large beer and wine section.
For a Gazette story last year about the brothers’ plans for their stores, Campioni said his father, Pat Campioni, started the family grocery business as an IGA store about 30 years ago. He’s retired now.
“He was delivering milk,” Campioni said. “He got out of the milk business and into the grocery business.”
Campioni said he and Joe have been working in the family business most of their lives. Their sister, Maria Campioni, has been involved with the business.
Their stores are now featuring some of their own products, Campioni said, such as Grandpa Pat’s meats and Grandma Jan’s pasties. The meats include hams and hot dogs.
“We have a lot of signature products in our stores,” he said.
Campioni said the driving philosophy for the company is to give their customers the best deal possible, as often as possible, and that was the reason for creating the Wall of Value at the Hancock store and having more promotional items in all the stores.
“Our focus is giving the customer the highest value at the lowest price,” he said. “What’s important to us is what’s important to our customers.”
Ben said he and Joe are also expanding the supply of specialty items, such as organic products, at all of the stores. Rather than have a special section for just organic products, Ben said after polling customers, it was decided to put the organic products with other similar products, such as organic cereal with non-organic cereal.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Campioni said the expansion at the Calumet store was done partly for practical reasons, and partly for reasons of customer service.
“We were just running out of room,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we were serving our customers.”
Campioni said he’s received many positive comments from customers about the expansion at the Calumet store, and it is producing positive results.
“Our sales are above projections,” he said.
Kurt Hauglie can be reached at email@example.com
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Ben Campioni, holding his daughter, Myah, cuts the ribbon Tuesday for the official opening of the 11,000 square-foot expansion at Pat’s Foods in Calumet. On Ben’s right is his brother, Joe, and to his right in the white shirt is their sister, Maria.