Through the Years

Woodman's Markets was founded in 1919, when John Woodman started a produce stand at the corner of Milton and Sherman Avenues in Janesville Wisconsin.  Since then, Woodman's has grown to a $2 Billion company with locations all over Wisconsin and northern Illinois. 

1919: A Produce Stand is Born

Woodman's is founded in 1919 when John Woodman and his family move to Janesville, WI, and start a corner produce stand.  The Woodmans were originally farmers, but sold their farm after land prices skyrocketed during World War I.

1921: Willard Woodman Joins His Father

John's son, Willard, joins his father in the family business in 1921. Together they move the produce stand indoors and build a 580 square foot grocery store at 922 Milton Ave. in Janesville. The name of the store was Woodman's Super-Service Grocery Store.

1920s - 1940s:

John and Willard work diligently to offer the best food and the lowest prices. Their efforts pay off and the original store expands three times. John Woodman passes away in 1936.

1956: A New Store

After continued growth in the 1940s and early 1950s, Willard decides to build a larger 11,000 square foot replacement store at 1266 Milton Ave., in Janesville.

1966: Phil Woodman Joins His Father

Phil Woodman graduates from the University of Wisconsin and takes on management responsibilities within the family business.

1971 & 1973: Early Expansion

Woodman's expands to neighboring Beloit, WI, in 1971 marking the first new store to open outside of Janesville. A new, larger Janesville store opens at 1518 Randolph Ave. in 1973.

1975: UPCs Arrive

In 1975, Woodman's becomes the first grocery store in the state of Wisconsin to begin using UPC scanners.

Late 1970s & 1980s:

Woodman's continues to grow, opening a store on the east side of Madison, WI in 1979. The same year, Phil creates an Employee Stock Trust so employees can have ownership in the company. In 1984, a second Madison location opens on the west side of Madison. The Janesville store moves yet again to its current home on Lexington Dr. in 1986. The Janesville and Madison stores would later be remodeled to the warehouse format that is employed today.

The Original Woodman's Store
Original Woodman’s store in Janesville, WI, in 1930 
 (after multiple expansions)

The Second Woodman's Store
1958 Woodman family photo with Willard, sons Phil (left), and Dan, daughter Sarah, and wife Bunny.

1984: Madison - West location opens
Appleton, WI produce department (early 1990s)

North Aurora, IL store Ribbon Cutting ceremony (2006)

Altoona, WI store (2015)

2019: Woodman's celebrates our 100th Anniversary


Woodman's opens a store in Appleton (1990), Onalaska/La Crosse (1994) and Kenosha (1997). When built, the Kenosha store was the largest grocery store in the United States.

1998: Employee Owned

Phil Woodman sells a majority of the company to employees, becoming a Sub-Chapter S company and completely employee owned. Clint Woodman graduates from business school and joins the business full time, working alongside his father, Phil.

Early 2000s: Moving into Illinois

After opening a store in Green Bay, WI (2000), Woodman's enters the Illinois market with three stores: Rockford (2001), Carpentersville (2004), and North Aurora (2006). Willard Woodman passes away at age 100 in 2001.


Woodman's continues to expand and opens three stores in the greater Milwaukee area: Oak Creek (2008), Menomonee Falls (2010) and Waukesha (2013). Back in the greater Madison area, a Sun Prairie store opens in 2012.


2015 was a busy year for Woodman's including the opening of a store in Altoona (Eau Claire), WI and launching their smartphone app and online shopping platform, In 2017, Clint Woodman becomes President of Woodman's. Phil Woodman remains active in the company as CEO and Chairman of the Board. Woodman's returns to Illinois with a store in Buffalo Grove, opening in the fall of 2018.

2019: A Century of Savings

Woodman's celebrates 100 years! Throughout the summer special events were held at each store to thank the thousands of dedicated employees and loyal customers for helping Woodman's thrive for a full century. Another Illinois store, in Lakemoor, opens in September.


Woodman's opens a new store in Bloomingdale, IL on August 10, 2021.

Woodman's Today:

Woodman's currently has 19 stores spanning from Northern Wisconsin to the greater Chicago area in Illinois. Today's stores average 230,000 square feet - almost 400 times the size of the original store! In addition to huge selections of grocery items, stores feature a large liquorselection, online shopping with pick-up & delivery services, and gas stations with oil change centers.Although the stores have changed over the years, the mission to provide customers with best prices, selection, and service remains the same.

Woodman's has always remained headquartered in Janesville, WI. After outgrowing the original office, a new corporate office building was built adjacent to the Janesville store in 2009.