"For the Love of Local"

Tegan Krueger, co-owner of Main Street Market Piggly Wiggly in Lodi, recently launched “For the Love of Local,” a video series highlighting area vendors that supply the store. In the first episode, Krueger interviews Shaun Lapacek of Rock N Wool Winery in Poynette.

Even when she’s not at work – helping to run a local business, Lodi’s Main Street Market Piggly Wiggly – Tegan Krueger is passionate about supporting growth in small communities. Her latest project aims to build relationships between local vendors who supply her store and customers.

Krueger launched a video series called “For the Love of Local” in November. The series name reflects its content, as the videos will capture Krueger interviewing local business owners about their endeavors. The name also describes why Krueger is embarking on this project.

“It’s literally what its name is, just done out of love,” Krueger said.

After taking over Lodi’s Piggly Wiggly in 2016, Krueger said she, her sister and brother-in-law, all co-owners, wanted to be very transparent and let people see how many local products the store carries. Recently Krueger and another staff member went around the store making a quick list of all the local products they offer. It ended up being two double-sided pages. Krueger started thinking about how they could get their customers to build relationships with their local vendors.

“We’re building relationships every day with our customers, being here with them, but food is questioned right now a lot,” Krueger said. “There’s a lot of speculation about what happens and what doesn’t happen. High fructose corn syrup, organic, all that stuff. So if we can break it down and allow our customers to understand it better, I think that helps everyone.”

Krueger thought about either creating a podcast or a video series showcasing local vendors. Ultimately she decided videos would be better as they allow for viewers to put a face with a name. She set out to contact her list of potential subjects and shot the first episode with Shaun Lapacek of Rock N Wool Winery in Poynette.

Rock N Wool Winery was an easy first pick to highlight, according to Krueger, who said Lapacek was easy to talk to and showed no hesitation when she contacted him about the idea. During the first video in the series, which is around 21 minutes long, Lapacek and Krueger discuss topics including the winery’s beginnings, its growth over time and advice for entrepreneurs.

“(Hearing about) the work that these local, small businesses are putting into their livelihood is super important,” Krueger said.

As for future videos, Krueger has been reaching out to prospective interviewees. She hopes to connect with Piggly Wiggly Midwest and L & L Foods, which produces the Bucky Badger brand of items, to do interviews, along with other area businesses that supply the store. According to Krueger, Main Street Market Piggly Wiggly carries beers, wines, cheeses, meats and many other items generated by local establishments. Many of those products will have a “Something Special from Wisconsin” symbol on them to indicate they’re produced in the state.

Krueger aims to release one video per month, although due to the holidays there may not be one produced in December. She estimated she will spend around eight hours on each video, from researching her interviewees to editing. Questions will vary for each business, but Krueger wants to make sure there’s a personal element in every video.

“The whole point is to build those personal connections with our shoppers and our vendors,” she said. “And if you don’t get a little personal, there’s nothing to relate to.”

Formerly the Lodi & Lake Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce president, Krueger is interested in finding out about local businesses’ challenges and helping to promote them.

“That’s where my outside-of-work passion lies is economic development for small communities and having the ability to get the word out about businesses,” she said.

To watch “For the Love of Local,” search for its title on YouTube or head to Main Street Market Piggly Wiggly’s Facebook or Instagram page.

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