Opinion: Jewel Shows Its Cards With New Store Design

Grocer doubles down on fresh fruit, adds salad bars, quick purchase for liquor, cigarettes

Published in CSP Daily News

By
Steve Holtz, Online News Director & Beverage Editor

Jewel-Osco remodel

LA GRANGE PARK, Ill. -- My routine grocery store is no longer the store it used to be. Ever since Safeway Inc. announced in October 2013 that it would exit the Chicago market and close its Dominick's chain, the grocery channel has been in a bit of turmoil in the area as other chains have been jockeying for position and advantage.

There are smaller retailers, such as Pete's Fresh Market and Whole Foods, looking to grow, but the major players in this showdown are Albertson's long-standing Jewel-Osco and newcomer Mariano's, which purchased a lion's share of the former Dominick's locations.

As the dust settles, Jewel showed its hand this week, celebrating the grand opening of five former Dominick's sites and 14 older Jewel stores that it remodeled into what it's calling the "next generation of the new Jewel-Osco."

"The five new stores ... were designed to offer customers a new experience in fresh products, including an expanded variety of the freshest produce and top-quality meat and seafood," the company stated. "The new formats also provide a comfortable shopping experience with a focus on delivering premium customer service."

"Select locations" offer an oil and honey bar, gourmet bulk nuts, candy, teas and spices, freshly made caramel corn and caramel apples, and other savory indulgences, Jewel promised. One site features a fudge shop, a popcorn bar and smoothies, another includes a community room open for the public to use as a meeting space for neighborhood events. Cashiers stand in front of their aisles when they're not busy to guide customers in, ala Target. This all seems appropriate as Mariano's opens stores with full coffee bars and live piano players in some locations.

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By Steve Holtz, Online News Director & Beverage Editor
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