Bar One

Open Pantry opens first Willow Creek Espresso Bar

PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wis. -- Robert A. Buhler, CEO of Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin Inc., has announced the grand opening of the first Willow Creek Espresso Bar, near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.

The retailer opened the espresso bar's doors on September 8. By doing so, Open Pantry took the next step in delivering a high-end coffee product for consumers, it said.

As Willow Creek Coffees have won the Golden Cup award from the Specialty Coffee Association two years running, opening this location was a natural [image-nocss] transition for us, said Jim Fiene, Open Pantry's senior vice president of operations.

Customers will be able to enjoy a variety of coffee-based drinks. The coffees are made from 100% Arabica beans.

The store will also offer other brand extensions such as Italian sodas and smoothies to round out its menu, and by providing other noncoffee options. A variety of pastries and high-end food products complement the coffee offering. The signature drink is the Andes Mint Frappe.

The Willow Creek Espresso Bar mirrors Open Pantry's expansion into higher-end offerings for its customers, said the company. The location has wi-fi access and computers for customer use, red leather seating, a functioning gas fireplace, a meeting room with dry erase board and magazines and games for customers.

We have worked hard to make the Willow Creek Espresso Bar a destination for our consumers by creating an environment with a welcoming feel. I feel that with the warm environment we provide along with our quality products, we have achieved this goal, Fiene said.

Open Pantry is contemplating further locations throughout the Milwaukee area, it said.

Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based Open Pantry operates a chain of 32 convenience stores throughout the state of Wisconsin while servicing 11 dealers and three franchisees. It currently serves more than one million cups of Willow Creek Coffee each year. Open Pantry sites sell over 40 million gallons of CITGO and BP fuel annually and have annual sales of more than $100 million.