Chicago-based startup Farmer’s Fridge has seen substantial growth over the past two years, placing its fresh food vending machines in 40 office parks, hospitals, university buildings and public locations across the Milwaukee area.
But the company hopes the additional exposure from its most recent expansion into the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport will drive even more growth.
“We’ve been working on this since before we launched and its a great moment for us to feel like a lot of people in the city will actually go through the airport,” said Luke Saunders, CEO at Farmer’s Fridge. “It gives a much broader section of people who might not have an office building or a hospital that they’re frequenting to see a fridge, so its a really great catalytic moment for us.”
Saunders said the company wants to follow its current growth trajectory by quadrupling its Milwaukee-area fridges over the next two years.
Farmer’s Fridge, launched in 2014, made its first out-of-state expansion in 2017 into Milwaukee. Its fridges offer freshly made salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, wraps and snacks.
Its Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport location, part of revamped food and beverage offerings, opened this week in the Departures Food Court and a second will open in the coming weeks in concourse D next to gate 42.
Saunders said its previous moves into O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport helped the company expand further across Chicago and expects the same for Milwaukee.
Milwaukee was initially selected as the company’s first expansion city because of its many office buildings, hospitals and universities and its close proximity to Chicago, Saunders said.
“We had a bunch of people on our team who are from Milwaukee and so they were actually going up there to visit friends and family and selling them fridges on their spare time at the beginning– when we launched in Milwaukee, we were still a very small company,” he said. “It was really that local connection that helped drive it into the market.”
Farmer’s Fridge entered the Indianapolis market in April as its second out-of-state expansion.