Jewel in the Crown

Next generation' Jewel Express prototype puts a focus on fresh.

By
Mark Schumacher, Corporate director of fuel management and convenience operations

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Last December we opened a Jewel Express fuel center we believe is our best one yet. But before I share the details, a little background first.

You may not know us as a player in the conveniencestore channel, and that is certainly understandable. Jewel- Osco is a division of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based SUPERVALU, a well-established operator of supermarkets operating under various brand names across the country.

The recently opened Jewel Express is our 29th such store and brings the total count of company-operated fuel centers to 133. As for SUPERVALU, it operates its Express fuel centers in 18 states under several names, including Acme, Albertsons, Cub, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel and Shop ‘n Save. About two-thirds of the fuel centers feature a convenience store; most are 2,000 square feet. In addition, 27 of the convenience stores have a car wash; about half are nonfriction, touchless washes, and the other half have been upgraded to friction washes as technology has evolved.

To complement the washes, SUPERVALU has developed and deployed several very successful “super-kiosk”-format fuel centers that are 660 square feet. They feature fountain soda, coffee and roller-grill products, along with a choice selection of beverages to complement the store’s four-door reachin cooler and a best-of-the-best standard convenience SKU selection.

With all of this in place, SUPERVALU experienced great identical-store fuel and convenience sales growth in 2009.

NEW PROTOTYPE

The latest convenience design, seen in the new Jewel-Osco Express store in Naperville, Ill., is the first of a new prototype jointly created by SUPERVALU’s fuel operations and store design teams. It hosts a stunning 1,902-square-foot convenience store with attached friction car wash by Belanger and six MPD fueling islands. At the forecourt, the site features the standard E10 gasoline grades (unleaded, mid-grade and premium), plus B11 diesel fuel and E85, all dispensed through Dresser Wayne Ovation single hose or 3+1 dispensers, taking full advantage of all fueling positions. This is our fourth fuel location dispensing E85.

In the works are Dresser Wayne’s Fusion technology and 10.1-inch color in-pump monitors that will afford us daypart advertising and messaging at the pump, driving additional c-store and food store business.

Now, a bit on the store. Despite its modest size, the location sports an automatic sliding glass entrance door; 12 cooler doors and three frozen doors; a large prepared-food service island; a four-deck fresh case; expanded gondola space for multipack products; and 4 feet of groceries. As is standard with most stores, the front of the store has been designed with plenty of space for outdoor merchandising displays as well as ice and propane merchandisers and a Redbox DVD rental kiosk.

This next-generation c-store format focuses more on fresh, immediate-consumption items within the constraints of the building size. The format includes an “in-your-grill” 15-footby- 5-foot foodservice island adjacent to the check stand; it features a hot-dispensed-beverage area for coffee and cappuccino, a large bakery case, dual roller grills, stacked highpower microwaves, nachos and a breakfast/lunch sandwich warmer.

Integrated into this foodservice island is a four-deck refrigerated fresh case for fresh sandwiches, salads, natural juices and drinks, and fruit. A step away from the foodservice counter is a cold-beverage counter equipped with Manitowoc’s Flav’r Pic fountain machine; it has 16 fountain flavors and four in-line flavor shots, and customers have their choice of cubed or chewy ice. The cold counter also includes two three-head frozen-carbonated-beverage machines featuring frozen drink flavors from YoCream, Coke and Pepsi. To complement the cold-dispensed beverage counter, countertop dispensers feature plastic fountain/FCB cups in sizes ranging from 22 to 52 ounces.

It’s all pretty cool and very exciting. We at SUPERVALU are very pleased with the results thus far. And, by all accounts, so are our customers.  

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