Festival Foods beefs up store
Renovations at New London grocery
By John Faucher
When Mike and Ted Coppersmith started out in the grocery business 40 years ago, they probably never imagined fresh made sushi, grass fed beef, and $80 bottles of Scotch on the aisles of their store.
Not in New London, at least.
Forty years later, they are serving up all of the above and more.
The two brothers started in the business working for their father Lloyd Coppersmith at Ron and Lloyds Grocery Store on 416 West North Water Street. That store (now the Press Star office) featured a meat department that the boys got to know quite well.
“My dad started us both out in the meat department, cleaning up at night,” said Ted Coppersmith. “I think he gave us the worst possible job there was to start with. He may have been trying to test us.”
By the time Lloyd retired in 1997, he and his partner had a chain of five stores including Ron and Lloyds located in the Wolf River Plaza.
In 1999, Mike and Ted decided to build a new 45,000 square foot facility located west of the existing store in the plaza.
“When we built it we thought we built it way too big,” said Ted Coppersmith.
“I thought ‘what have we done?’ and never in a million years, would I have thought today we’d be standing here thinking we’re running out of room.”
“Over time you realize it, and there are just so many new things,” said Ted Coppersmith.
The grocery business is always evolving.
“We’re constantly bringing in new things, changing and adding products. You have to listen to people and bring in what they want. That’s why we keep adding to the store,” said Ted Coppersmith.
In 2014, they expanded their liquor store and built the largest walk-in beer cooler in the state.
This spring, the store underwent a major lighting upgrade that will save thousands in energy costs.
Work is also underway for a major renovation of the produce, deli and meat departments.
“Originally we set out to redo the produce department, but that just kept growing into the other areas,” said Mike Coppersmith.
Customers may have already noticed changes taking place.
Mike said renovation work would be completed in phases over the next few months.
When finished, a new island deli will feature a fresh sushi bar, added selections of hot foods, a salad bar, and an expanded fresh pizza program.
The meat department will boast a larger selection, including a full line of grass fed beef.
One side of the produce department will be devoted to natural and organic foods.
Mike said employees are excited about the changes, as well as the customers.
“We’re not even a third of the way done and people have already responded well,” said Mike Coppersmith.
In the future, they may also look at renovations in the bakery department.