Niemann Foods’ Harvest Market has made shopping for groceries less about pantry-filling and more about connecting shoppers with the food they buy and consume. Quincy, Illinois-based Niemann operates more than 100 grocery, pet and hardware stores, pharmacies and gas stations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri. In 2016 in Champaign, Illinois, the company opened Harvest Market, a farm-to-table concept grocery store aimed at connecting shoppers with the farmers and producers who make the food by highlighting their stories and sharing knowledge about the production. Roughly four years later, Harvest Market expanded to a second location in Springfield, Illinois, and continues to spotlight its store-made and specially sourced items with a focus on delivering entertainment and inspiration within the aisles.
One of the most unique aspects of Harvest Market is the Farmhouse restaurant, where shoppers can purchase made-to-order food items for carry-out or dine-in. The retailer also has a sushi station, coffee bar and an upstairs mezzanine bar and “Nook” space for food demonstrations and cooking instructions (although the COVID-19 pandemic canceled in-person classes until further notice).
Beyond the restaurant, the retailer also touts freshly squeezed and created juices, its own churned butter and in-house made deli meats and baked goods.
Consistent with the retailer’s “farmhouse” theme and aesthetic, wooden displays are often found within the store. Hint, for example, has enjoyed secondary merchandising space for more than a year now at the Champaign location via this unique floorstand. The display is made of wood (or at least a very convincing composite).
True to its mission, the retailer often spotlights locally sourced products. The wooden floorstand at far left, for example, stocks locally grown basil from Tuscola, Illinois. During the winter holidays, these near-left refrigerators topped with TV screens showcased eggnog from Greenville, Illinois-based Rolling Lawns Farm.
Shoppers regularly find spectaculars and creative displays within the retailer’s liquor, beer and wine department. In this case, importer/distributor Proximo Spirits deployed a spectacular containing a larger-than-life margarita in the leadup to this year’s Cinco de Mayo.
Multiple TV screens throughout the Champaign store play videos depicting Harvest Market dietitian Emily preparing various meals to inspire shoppers. One screen is positioned near the checkout lane above a refrigerator that merchandises weekly meal kits. The retailer also makes recipes and videos from Emily available on its Facebook page.
That Harvest Market is located in a college town (Champaign) is not lost on the grocer. The store tied in to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament by creating this display to show support for the University of Illinois team. The display employed oranges and plums to depict the school’s orange and blue colors and cross-merchandised beer from local brewery Riggs Beer Co.