From convenience concepts to specialty features, personalized offerings and more, grocery retailers are continuously reinventing their stores to offer shoppers unique, interactive, memorable experiences. Read on for a comprehensive profile gallery of WGB’s signature Grocertopia, showcasing excellence in merchandising, engagement and retail theater over the past six months.
Central Market’s Showstopping Specialty Shrooms
H-E-B’s gourmet Central Market banner opened the doors of its newest location in Dallas in early September, marking the retailer’s 10th specialty store in Texas and its third location in Dallas. The two-level, 50,000-square-foot format boasts an expansive selection of gourmet products and new features, including an 8-foot specialty mushroom table filled with vibrant, unique delicacies such as lobster mushrooms, lion’s mane, cinnamon caps and Italian burgundy truffles—the latter of which “have been the ‘showstopper’ that everyone looks at and touches,” says Marty Mika, Central Market’s produce business development manager. Inspired by consumers’ growing interest in specialty mushrooms, the retailer rotates the selection of 10 to 15 varieties weekly based on seasonal availability.
Publix Wises Up on Convenience
Publix Super Markets in October unveiled its GreenWise Market 2.0 concept store in Tallahassee, Fla. As the first of five planned locations for the Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer’s new small-format specialty banner, the prototype represents the next generation of the GreenWise format, which Publix had put on hold in 2007 until announcing the revamped model in 2017. The convenience-focused GreenWise Market puts fresh prepared foods front and center in its Eats department, which features handcrafted sandwiches, acai and other bowls, gourmet pizzas, burritos, sushi, organic cheeses and vegan items. “With our new-format GreenWise Market, we will offer today’s natural and specialty customer the new and interesting products they are looking for while setting the stage to provide a uniquely different shopping experience,” said Kevin Murphy, Publix’s SVP of retail operations.
Lazy Acres Generates a Buzz
Guided by a mission to provide an experiential grocery shopping destination, Lazy Acres Natural Market—part of the Bristol Farms family of brands—recently unveiled its fifth location, and its second in Los Angeles County. At 2510 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach, Calif., the store touts a commitment to fresh foods, clean ingredients, healthy living and community partnership. It features several buzzworthy concepts—most notably its new Bee Department, which is equipped with a live working honeybee hive and beekeeper. Curated in partnership with Draper’s Super Bee Apiaries to educate shoppers on how bees contribute to the food system, the department also offers natural bee products such as honey and beeswax items.
Stater Bros. Cuts Out the Prep Work
Leading with a local design aesthetic and a strong focus on fresh offerings, Stater Bros. Markets recently unveiled its newest store in Pasadena, Calif., marking the retailer’s first location within the community and its 26th location in Los Angeles County. “We are excited to expand our presence in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden, pointing to key highlights such as a time-saving produce-cutting station featuring fresh fruits and vegetables cut in-house daily. The fresh-cut fruit stand showcases the San Bernardino, Calif.-based retailer’s emphasis on providing convenient, healthy snacking solutions and meal prep time-savers. The store’s expanded produce department also boasts an assortment of more than 1,000 fruit and vegetable items, including local offerings and enhanced organic selections.
Heirloom Market Plants Roots in Philly
Blending modern innovation and community focus, Giant Food Stores in late January debuted its new small-format Giant Heirloom Market in Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood in southwest Center City. At 9,500 square feet, the Carlisle, Pa.-based retailer’s urban-concept store features a curated selection of fresh, local and specialty products merchandised in distinct category departments. Among Heirloom Market’s unique highlights is a dedicated plant-based section boasting a vast assortment of fresh and frozen vegan items such as tempeh, tofu, chorizo seitan, Chao slices, Beyond Meat, Halo Top ice cream and burger alternatives from Giant’s own brand, Nature’s Promise. Rather than dispersing plant-based options throughout the store, “we’ve given it its own section,” says Paul Madarieta, director of growth initiatives. “Somebody who’s looking for plant-based can now go to one spot instead of having to travel” throughout the whole store, he says.
H-E-B Gets Personal With Pizza
As the lines between supermarkets and restaurants increasingly blur, H-E-B Grocery Co. is investing in the extension of its brand beyond grocery stores with the expansion of its store-within-a-store South Flo Pizza shops. Launched in 2016, the in-store dining concept is featured in 11 of the San Antonio-based retailer’s locations in Texas and is available daily for lunch and dinner, with new items such as an 8-inch personal-sized pizza for $7. At half the size of the eatery’s traditional 16-inch pizzas, the new personalized offering can serve as a meal for one person or a quick snack for several to share. H-E-B also expanded South Flo Pizza’s beer selection and introduced wine options—including chardonnay, cabernet and a red blend—to its daily happy hour special, available from 4 to 7 p.m. for $10.