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Shop among the trees at Festival Foods in Madison


Foods_Rendering Branched Columns

A rendering of our soon-to-be-open location in Madison at 810 E. Washington Street. 

When asked about our Festival Foods store in Madison, which is opening on April 8, the conversation always leads to our partnership with WholeTrees Architecture & Structures. The new store is at 81o E. Washington Street.

I get excited when I think of how our new store will look aesthetically, but even more than that, I get excited about the opportunity for Festival Foods to serve yet another great community. If you’re going to be shopping our Madison store, be sure to sign up here for exclusive deals and store insights.


The view from the area we’re calling The Mezz at our Madison store, which will feature tap beer as well as wine. Guests will be able to grab something to eat from the store below and enjoy it with a beverage in this unique space. 

You may be thinking “how can you build a grocery store with trees”?  The timbers are a substitute for a typical structural steel system. Madison-based WholeTrees Architecture & Structures has used this practice with smaller projects but Festival Foods was their first commercial venture. This includes using large diameter ash trees in place of steel columns, and small diameter trees with reinforcement in between in place of steel trusses.



Maybe you’ve seen similar wooden logs or tree-like structures in some other retail establishments. In many cases, tree-like structures seen in buildings are decorative or have enclosed steel serving as the structural support, but WholeTrees Structures uses real trees with no hidden steel inside. We’ll also have some concrete columns in our store to hold up the residential tower above our space.

These ash trees were identified by the city of Madison to be harvested due to concerns about the emerald ash borer infestation. We are happy to be part of re-purposing the trees and achieving a great-looking, unique store in the process. The un-milled trees in our store will be just as strong as steel and will carry the same load as a typical steel system. Surprisingly, the fire rating on the system is also as good as steel.


A large benefit of using the trees is increasing sustainability, which is a great addition to our green initiatives in our current stores across Wisconsin. The thought of using actual trees as a structural system is unique not only to us, but to the commercial industry as a whole.

At Festival Foods, we’re always exploring new and improved ways to go to market and it will be exciting to see this finished product soon! No doubt you will notice these great looking trees the first time you step through our doors. I’m also confident that it won’t take long for your attention to be stolen away by the quality products and enjoyable shopping experience that our friendly associates will provide. I can guarantee you that won’t change a bit!

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