Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop brand unveiled a new look, layout and features at 21 stores in the Hartford, Conn., market that officials said would test a comprehensive reinvention of the entire chain.
The $70 million investment includes the introduction of a retro-inspired “traffic light” logo that moves away from the “wedge” design that Ahold rolled out to all its Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores a decade ago, and reflects the brand’s heritage and independence under the new decentralized structure of Ahold Delhaize.
Inside, a bevy of new features aims to modernize the concept behind convenience and new food experiences, changes the company has acknowledged were necessary to boost sluggish sales at the brand. Hartford will serve as a test market for the brand to pilot features such as an in-store smoker, poke bowl and taqueria stations, as well as frictionless checkout, which will be used to inform updates across the brand’s 400 stores over the next several years.
“We recognize that our customer is changing, and we’re evolving our entire shopping experience to better serve them. They’re focused on getting back to their lives, juggling many responsibilities and we want to make grocery shopping even easier and faster for them,” Stop & Shop President Mark McGowan said in a statement. “Hartford is the first step in our journey towards repositioning our brand for future success and in helping our communities enjoy better food and better lives.”
Photograph courtesy of Stop & Shop
The brand’s updated format reflects a customer-centric approach and a commitment to reshape its shopping experience around the customer and their evolving needs.
New highlights of the refreshed stores include the following:
● Smoker - Customers can choose from meats such as brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs slow cooked up to 14 hours over hickory wood.
● Focus on Local, Fresh, and Quality - Stores will feature more space dedicated to fresh produce and more locally grown and produced items such as apples from Rogers Orchards in Southington, Conn., beer from Two Roads, plus coffee beans roasted right in Hartford.
● New In-Store Experiences - Customers can create their own olive oil and vinegar blends like fig-infused balsamic at DIY machines. They can also fill up growlers at a kombucha fountain, or find out what food pairs best with a hoppy IPA at an informational craft beer kiosk.
● Community Tables - In-store cafes will feature “community tables” made from reclaimed wood so neighbors can gather together with family-style seating. Digital community boards will also share local fundraisers and other events around town.
● Poke Bowl & Taqueria Stations - New stations will make it easy to grab fresh, healthy meals with global flavors to go.
● Curbside Pickup - Customers can pull up beneath solar-powered canopies to pick-up their online Peapod orders, which will soon be assembled by a miniature robotic warehouse thanks to a new partnership with Takeoff Technologies.
● Frictionless Checkout - Customers can save time when shopping in-store by using the Scan It mobile app, which provides a frictionless checkout experience. No waiting in line required.
Ribbon cutting events will take place simultaneously at all 21 stores on Oct. 5. To commemorate the occasion, Stop & Shop will also be donating $25,000 to Foodshare, the largest anti-hunger organization in the greater Hartford area.