Good Harvest’s Dedication to Health and Sustainability Continues in New, Larger Store
May 29, 2015 11:11AM
● By Sheila Julson
Like many people over the last 20 years, Waukesha County residents Joe Nolan and his wife, Jody, have grown conscious of eating natural and unprocessed foods. Their quest to obtain organic foods for their family often led them on long drives into Milwaukee County, as there were no organic grocers in Waukesha at the time.
The couple contacted their favorite natural foods stores in Milwaukee and found that none of the grocers had plans to open additional locations in Waukesha. Seeing a need, the Nolans began researching options to open a natural foods store closer to home.
Neither Joe nor Jody had a background in retail grocery. Joe was an investment advisor for Robert W. Baird & Co., and Jody taught ceramics at Carroll University. “I later found out that my grandfather ran a little independent grocery store in the town of Butternut,” Joe recalls.
Using their own money, the Nolans opened Good Harvest Market in a 12,000-square-foot building on Meadow Lane, in Pewaukee, in January 2005. After tweaking the business model during the first couple of years, Good Harvest became Waukesha’s premier stop for natural foods. “I told Jody, ‘the grocery store business can’t be rocket science,’” Joe chuckles. “But for the first few years, it was rocket science.”
The success of Good Harvest led the Nolans to seek out land for a larger location. In 2014, they closed on a 23-acre parcel just a quarter-mile from their original location. The new, 23,000-square-foot Good Harvest Market opened its doors April 29.
The new space has a farmhouse theme and features an expanded café with mezzanine seating, larger produce and bulk departments, plus a nature conservancy. Good Harvest Market’s neighbor, attached to the store, is Waukesha Natural Cleaners.
“We used eco-friendly construction practices. Whenever possible, we used refurbished items, such as freezers, rather than purchasing new,” says Joe. All store and parking lot lighting is energy-efficient LED. The floor is polished concrete, which requires less maintenance than tiles. Environmentally safe paints were used.
The perimeter, known to contain the freshest items in any grocery store, is where much of the expansion was focused. The produce department has doubled, and Joe boasts that all fruits and vegetables stocked at Good Harvest are 100 percent organic.
In continuing their mission to make healthy eating affordable, the new bulk foods section offers many more items. “If you think about trying to cook and eat healthy on a budget, buying in bulk makes the most sense—and with bulk foods, you don’t have any packaging,” Joe explains.
The dairy, meat and seafood departments offer more sustainable seafood and grass-fed, pasture-raised meats. Customers can find their favorite health and beauty items, vitamins and supplements in the wellness department, along with new items such as organic clothing. Joe says Good Harvest has always been committed to sourcing from local vendors whenever possible, and he expects that to increase.
Joe notes that items such as boxed and bottled products have not increased by much, but the move allowed them to reevaluate stock, add popular natural products and eliminate items that weren’t selling well. The Nolans retain their strict standards of not allowing products containing high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, partially hydrogenated oil, trans fats, monosodium glutamate or genetically modified organisms on Good Harvest’s shelves.
The popular Harvest Café now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with seating capacity for up to 100. A patio with a fire pit gives diners an outdoor seating option, and barn-style doors close off the café from the rest of the store for private events. Good Harvest is the first grocery store in Waukesha County licensed to serve wine and beer by the glass. Non-alcoholic drinks on tap include kombucha, which customers can purchase by the glass or the gallon. The café, which overlooks a 17-acre nature conservancy, will host music nights showcasing acoustic guitarists.
Good Harvest Market is now located at 2205 Silvernail Rd., Pewaukee. For more information, call 262-544-9380 or visit GoodHarvestMarket.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.