Grocer and convenience-store company Big Y Foods opened the first Big Y Express Fresh Market, a new small-format store concept announced last year, on June 1. The 10,000-square-foot c-store-sized location occupies a space on the ground floor of the 28-story Tower Square building in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
The tower anchors a mixed-use complex including office, hotel, retail, dining, service, education and community space. According to Big Y, the immediate area includes downtown residents, office workers, UMass classrooms and YMCA daycare, among others, who are seeking more convenient food retail options.
The new location is much larger than Big Y Express convenience stores—which top out at around 2,000 square feet, with some legacy stores a bit smaller—but significantly smaller than a conventional Big Y supermarket, which runs about 55,000 square feet. It does not sell fuel.
“At 10,000 square feet, it is just under a fifth of the size of a ‘normal’ Big Y [supermarket], both in footprint and offerings,” Colin D’Amour, senior director of Big Y Express, toldWinsight Grocery Business. “We have worked hard in developing this smaller format and feel we are offering a market with a ‘full-shop’ opportunity despite a bit of a limited variety.”
Although Big Y Express Fresh Market is “not a complete supermarket due to its size,” the Springfield-based grocer noted that “many will be surprised at what Big Y will be able to offer within this new location’s format.” Offerings will include prepared meals and sandwiches as well as natural and organic products and everyday staples, with more than 250 fresh produce items. A sushi chef also will be on site preparing fresh sushi daily. In addition, customers will find fresh-baked bread and cake, bean-to-cup coffee and hot breakfast sandwiches.
“While we are very excited about what this market means for downtown Springfield, this was a very unique opportunity for us, and currently there are no plans to expand this concept,” D’Amour said in the email.
Big Y’s fuel and convenience-store business also is expanding. Plans call for Big Y Express c-stores to open on July 15 in Somers and Enfield, Connecticut. That will bring the total Big Y Express store count to 17, including six in Connecticut.
Each of the Big Y Express locations will have eight fuel pumps, and the stores will offer amenities such as the signature Wide Awake fresh coffee, grab-and-go foods, snacks and staples like milk and cold drinks. Members of the myBigY rewards program will receive a 5-cents-per-gallon fuel discount and can earn an additional $1.50 savings per gallon via grocery purchases at any Big Y market.
Currently, Big Y operates 89 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including 72 Big Y supermarkets, one Big Y at Fresh Acres grocery store, one Table & Vine Fine Wines & Liquors store and 15 Big Y Express convenience/fuel stores.
Big Y’s retail banners include Big Y supermarkets, Big Y Express gas stations and c-stores, Big Y Express Fresh Markets and Table & Vine wine, beer and cheese stores.
A version of this story first appeared onWinsight Grocery Business.
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