By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — A longtime fixture in the Marshfield community, Figi’s is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. John Figi and his wife Ann founded the company in 1944.
John Figi was a cheese inspector prior to starting Figi’s. His initial idea was to send mailings offering a cheese of the month to high-end clients such as lawyers and doctors. His first mailing resulted in 43 orders. The company has since grown into a national operation, shipping orders all over the United States.
Today the company stands strong, delivering gift baskets of cheeses, meats, chocolates, and other treats. Figi’s also sells goods for bed, bath, and home décor.
Lisa Kubis, a market research analyst at Figi’s, created a collage of photographs displaying prominent past employees, promotional materials, and images of the company through the years as part of a way to commemorate the 70th anniversary.
Figi’s also produced banners, bracelets, and tagged emails with #FigiStrong to signify the spirit of honesty, integrity, customer satisfaction, and teamwork that defines Figi’s.
Chris Revie, Figi’s e-commerce manager, said that the company tries to get as many local products as possible.
“As much as we can, cheese and meat is sourced from Wisconsin,” Revie said. “Most of the food is assembled in Neillsville.”
Revie added that though business practices have changed, their goal has stayed the same through the years.
“We’ve changed the way we do business obviously because of technology and the internet,” Revie said. “I think at its core we’re the same company that John founded. It’s still based on giving gifts and quality gifts.”
Revie said that the toughest obstacle for Figi’s is growing competition.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is just staying competitive because there’s so many options people have now for purchasing gifts—let alone food gifts—because of the internet, because of big box stores that are getting into that market,” Revie said. “Our competitive advantage is that we’ve done this now for 70 years.”
Mike Fasula, a senior analyst at Figi’s, added that though they generally tailor to an older demographic, the different forms of media now available to all consumers has made business more complicated. A big focus for Figi’s is identifying where customers are shopping, whether it be from a computer, mobile device, or from their print catalog.
“One of the challenges is to meet people where they’re at,” Fasula said.
He added that Figi’s is active on social media and catalog marketing.
“We’re active in a lot of different places that five years ago we probably weren’t doing very much of anything with. So you have to keep up with the changing technology,” Fasula said.
Figi’s prides itself on its work environment where employees value each other and succeed together. Rebecca Balz, an administrative assistant at Figi’s, said she enjoyed the sense of community among the workers.
“Our employee base is really strong. It’s a close-knit family,” Balz said. “Each department realizes that without the other department we would not be a successful business.”
Fasula said he enjoys that much of their product line is geared toward gifts for special occasions like holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.
“It’s fun to be a part of so many people’s holiday celebrations over decades really,” Fasula said.
You can visit Figi’s online at figis.com, or call Figi’s at 1-800-422-3444.For more information on Figi’s history, their products, and services, you may also visit their blog, gourmetmarket.com.