Kroger’s CFO describes its Fresh Eats MKT concept as “a different kind of a convenience store.” The small store is being tested in Blacklick, Ohio, near Columbus, where Kroger’s c-stores under the Turkey Hill banner could potentially rebrand to Fresh Eats MKT units.
The nearly 12,000-square-foot c-store includes fuel pumps, a Starbucks, a drive-thru Kroger pharmacy and two Coke Freestyle machines. Its interior looks much like a modern grocery store; it carries produce, meat, dairy and wine and beer, in addition to bakery items, bulk nuts, mixes and candy.
This is by no means the first time Kroger has played with the c-store format. About 1,450 of Cincinnati-based Kroger’s supermarkets include fuel centers under a variety of banners. It also owns 785 convenience stores, also under a variety of names, and just last year Kroger opened the first c-store under the Kroger brand in College Station, Texas. Fresh Eats MKT represents a clear change in strategy. Only time will tell if Kroger sticks to it.