(Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 06--Starting Sunday, shoppers will have a new place to buy vats of macaroni and cheese, tubs of mustard and anything else they need in quantity for a graduation party, tailgater or family reunion.
GFS Marketplace opens its doors at noon Sunday at 301 N. Bluemound Drive in Grand Chute. The new store is north of College Avenue behind Panera Bread and Starbucks.
GFS is short for its parent company, Gordon Food Service, a large wholesale food distributor. Its 167 warehouse-type stores sell food and party supplies, mostly in bulk quantities.
The store is set up to serve on-the-spot needs for its wholesale customers, including caterers, St. Elizabeth Hospital and restaurants like Red Robin, Melting Pot and Fuddruckers. It also allows the general public to shop its aisles.
"Anyone is welcome," said the store's young manager, Lee Ireland, who began working at the company while in high school and stayed with the Michigan-based company after college. This is his first general manager position.
Where GFS differs from a traditional warehouse store is that it doesn't charge membership fees and is just 16,000 square feet, about the size of an average Walgreens. It has just six aisles and a frozen food section.
Ireland said the company places an emphasis on friendliness.
"Gordon Food Service is family owned, and that same mentality goes through the company. They treat us like family and we treat the customers like family," he said.
That includes being able to get a cup of free coffee on the left side of the store and browse through free recipe cards.
The store stocks food ingredients, cups and napkins, frozen prepared foods, cleaning supplies and cooking tools in both national brands and the company's own restaurant-quality private labels. Top sellers are five-pound bags of frozen chicken breasts, five-pound trays of heat-and-eat pulled pork and 10-pound vats of potato salad, Ireland said.
It also sells by the case at lower prices. A single foil pan is 99 cents for example, while a case of 50 is $22.99.
Those unfamiliar with large-scale party planning can grab a Menu Wizard scanner to walk around the store and scan barcodes from the items on their lists.
"We'll calculate how much you need to buy of each item based on the number of people you're serving. It takes out the guesswork," said Ireland. "It also breaks down how much it will cost per guest."
The store will hold a grand opening from April 21-26 with food sampling and introductory sale prices on popular items.
More information: 920-739-3963 or www.gfs.com
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