Kroger readies concept store

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. next month will debut a culinary-focused concept store outside Seattle.

The Main & Vine format, opening in Gig Harbor, Wash., will emphasize produce, food preparation advice and high-quality ready-to-eat meals.

The store will also feature an expanded selection of organic products. It will offer “fresh, affordable” local produce and meat, and local craft beer and wine. It will feature an extensive assortment of kitchen-prepared food that it describes as providing “unique culinary experiences and taste adventures.”

The outlet might also offer home delivery services, something Kroger has experimented with on a limited basis in the past.

A spokeswoman for Kroger told The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., that Main & Vine is “a place where locals and local foods intertwine” offering “a seasonally curated array of products, including fresh, organic, local and sustainable foods, alongside an assortment of go-to big-brand staples, all at affordable prices.”

Among other programs, the 27,000-square-foot unit will stage gatherings with local chefs and farmers providing daily “how-to tips and tasty meal ideas.”

The store will also have a coffee, wine and beer bar at designated times during the day, plus a two-level cafe.

“Our store will not only offer the freshest foods and mainstream grocery items at affordable prices, but we’re also incorporating daily in-store programming and events that will give our shoppers a deeper connection to their food sources,” store manager Dann Kohl told the newspaper.

Kroger has yet to discuss broader plans for the new concept, but it frequently pilots new ideas in a single market before rolling them out more widely if they flourish.

The company received final federal approval for its trademark of Main & Vine in November, according to government records. Kroger’s application lists Main & Vine’s business services as including “retail grocery store and online grocery store services with in-store pickup or home delivery.” It lists natural and organic food and fresh food as well as typical grocery store categories.

In other news, Kroger completed its $800 million acquisition of Milwaukee-based grocer Roundy’s Inc. “This merger blends Roundy’s complementary markets with Kroger’s strengths in scale and merchandising. Our future together is bright, and we look forward to learning from each other as partners,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Most of all, we want to welcome each of Roundy’s more than 22,000 associates to the Kroger family of stores.”

“We look forward to bringing together the best of Roundy’s and Kroger for our customers and associates,” said Bob Mariano, who will continue to lead Roundy’s as president and CEO. He has served as chairman, president and CEO of Roundy’s since 2002. “Our merger with Kroger will help us continue to exceed our customers’ expectations.”



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