Golden Harvest Market to open Monday
Tim and Nikki Conjurski have never shied away from hard work and that fact is evident when entering their new Golden Harvest store, which will open this Monday, July 28.
“We are very excited to be opening,” said Tim. “We still have a lot of work to do, but we are looking forward to moving and opening our doors.”
For the last year, the couple and their five children have been planning to move into their new facility on Cty. G from their original store on Coon Street. They will go from 7,200 square feet to 17,000.
“It seemed like our original store was just getting smaller and smaller,” laughed Nikki. “Our customers are excited that they will have more room to shop and we will have more room to expand our products and services.”
Tim and Nikki were both raised in Rhinelander. Tim opened Golden Harvest in 1998, intending to promote it as a bulk food enterprise. At age 14, Nikki was hired as a cashier. The couple married a few years later.
The focus from bulk foods to more organic grocery items changed when more and more customers starting asking for organic foods, and the couple sees that shift only growing in the future.
With years of customer feedback to guide them, the pair has a lot of plans for their new venture. First and foremost is expanding the product lines they already carry, including providing even more items such as supplements and organic beauty aids, soaps and pet foods. Another focus is the produce department. The couple works with Amish and Mennonite farmers who live near Wausau to provide their organic vegetables for most of the year.
“These farmers have root cellars, so we can continue to purchase many vegetables from them, even during winter,” said Nikki. “We also have a trusted distributor we use, too. Our organic produce provides about one-third of our sales.”
The couple will continue to provide fresh baked goods; however, their hearth breads will be on hold until they can move their brick oven.
“We’re intending to actually have two brick ovens when that time comes,” said Nikki. “We’ll be cooking fresh pizzas in one and bread in the other.”
There will also be an expanded deli.
“We’re expanding our fresh salads and sandwiches, and eventually we want to expand to include smoothies, fresh juices, soups and Panini sandwiches,” said Nikki. “We’ll have a café seating area at the front of the store and we want to have picnic tables outside for our customers to use.”
While the new store will officially open this Monday, there is still plenty of work ahead. The refrigeration systems, including freezers, will not be in place right away, although it won’t be long before they are moved in and up and running. In fact, Tim has plans to expand that department in the future. The dairy department will also be expanding in addition to the garden center.
“We really want to apologize to our customers in advance that everything won’t be quite finished when we open on Monday,” said Nikki. “But construction timelines don’t always go exactly as planned.”
Right now, there are 39 employees who work at Golden Harvest but Nikki sees that number growing as time goes on. In fact, the couple is already planning for an expansion in a few years.
“Because of financing, we were only able to afford 17,000 square feet at this time but we have allotted for future growth, including having the land to expand and building with the idea of growing, so when we are ready we can add on,” said Tim.
And while watching their business grow is important to this couple, what they are most excited about is being able to provide organic and natural foods to the people in their community.
“It’s really fulfilling for me to be able to help and educate our customers on how important it is to eat healthy food,” said Nikki. “Our focus is to provide affordable, organic food so people are healthier. Seeing the difference in people’s lives when they have access to healthier food is what we are all about.”
Once the entire store is moved, the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry will move in. There is a big grand opening being planned for the new store in a few weeks, although no date has been set just yet.
“It is a very exciting time for our entire family,” said Tim. “I hope our customers feel the same way.”