Grocery Store Goes Au Naturel

AIA Priority Category:

  • Materials

Categories:

Company:

Project:

Festival Foods Store

Location:

Madison, Wisc.

Design Team:

Bark Design

Product Specs:

Whole Trees Structural System

Originally Published:

The Madison, Wisc.-based Festival Foods Store was looking to provide a more natural environment for its shoppers.

Challenge: 

The Madison Festival Foods Store features 12 ash columns culled from local parks due to infestation from an invasive and lethal insect. “The partnership between Madison Parks Department, WholeTrees and Festival Foods has been an excellent example of how the city can work in concert with business to benefit both the private and public sector,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. “Festival Foods is graced with incredible pillars of reclaimed ash trees that needed to be removed because of Emerald Ash Borer, and in return the city received a monetary contribution for treating ash trees in a nearby city park.”

Influence: 

“Making decisions that will bring the guests back isn’t just about food,” said Mark Skogen, chief executive officer, Festival Foods, Onalaska, Wisc. “When we enter a new location, we work hard to learn what is important to our guests so we can make decisions that will bring them back. With each new store we build we look to make improvements, both for our guests and for our associates. We also look to find local resources and tie-ins to the community. Partnering with WholeTrees to provide columns and trusses made from local trees for our Madison store made perfect sense,” says Skogen.

Solution: 

WholeTrees engineered and fabricated 560,000 lbs. of tree trunks and branched timbers for the wooden columns and spanning trusses in the new Festival Foods Store that opened in early April.

WholeTrees provides an incentive for healthy forest management by taking what would otherwise be forest waste and transforming it into a highly valued construction material. “The Festival Foods Store is the first of its kind,” said WholeTrees CEO, Amelia Baxter. “These columns are supporting heavier loads than natural and branched timbers have ever been engineered to support; and the trusses are spanning longer lengths and holding more weight than tapered natural timber has ever achieved in 21st-century construction.”

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