The wholesale grocery industry landscape is widening.
CHEF’STORE, the fast-growing warehouse retail concept from US Foods, will open its third location in Montana on Saturday.
The 20,000-square-foot Helena store will be located at 2885 North Sanders Street. Joining the existing Montana locations in Kalispell and Missoula, the new location is part of CHEF’STORE’s commitment to being a one-stop wholesale shop for all shoppers with no membership fee required.
“We certainly aim to appeal to food service operators as well as industry professionals such as caterers and food truck operators, but we also count at-home chefs as customers, especially those planning family or community gatherings,” Irfan Badibanga, president of CHEF’STORE, told WGB last fall. “We want to support all that are looking for diversity in product sizes to meet their needs at a price that works for them. CHEF’STORE is open to the public and no, we do not require membership. While we do focus on meeting the needs of the foodservice operator, we strive to make the shopping experience inclusive for all.”
And with nearly half of shoppers believing the country is in a recession, according to research from sales and marketing services provider Acosta, shoppers are scoping out well-priced groceries beyond their traditional supermarket.
“CHEF'STORE is poised for tremendous growth across multiple geographies in the U.S. as aligned with our omnichannel strategy that is focused on enhancing synergies for US Foods' broadline customers,” Badibanga told WGB.
With shoppers looking to find ways to decrease wallet spend, discount grocers dominated new store openings last month, prompting a continued shift in where shoppers are willing to spend.
With no signs of slowing, the Rosemont, Illinois-based US Foods has been growing its CHEF’STORE warehouse retail concept since April 2020. The Costco rival's opening on Saturday brings its total store count in Montana to three, Costco has five, according to Costco's website. CHEF'STORE currently operates 86 bi-coastal locations nationwide.
“Value-oriented grocers have been uniquely well positioned in recent years,” Ethan Chernofsky, VP marketing at foot-traffic analytics firm Placer.ai, told WGB.
The grocery industry experienced an historic year last year as inflation created cracks in consumers' buying habits, which ultimately influenced where they shopped. Warehouse clubs and discount grocers became a draw for shoppers across the board, prompting these retailers to enter new markets with new store openings in 2022—and now into 2023 as well.