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Kroger Joins Race for Midsized Retail Concept

Grocer testing three Turkey Hill Markets in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The recently opened Turkey Hill Markets are hitting the convenience-and-value sweet spot for consumers, according to a report in the Columbus Dispatch. Kroger Joins Race for Midsized Retail Concept

“It’s a one-stop-for-all store for me,” customer Yvonne Corfios told the newspaper. “It’s so convenient, and it has some good deals.”

Cincinnati grocery-store chain Kroger is trying out three of the markets exclusively in the Columbus market. They include many things found more typically in full-size grocery stores, such as fresh produce, meats, dairy and eggs, as well as prepared, packaged and frozen foods.

But at 7,500 square feet, the Turkey Hill Markets are smaller than the average Kroger store (67,000 square feet), while still about 70% bigger than the chain’s convenience-store-sized Turkey Hill Minit Markets (4,000 square feet).

The new concept stores may hit a sweet spot for consumers, according to one grocery-industry consultant.

“Shoppers want speed, they want fresh, they want convenience, and they want value,” Craig Rosenblum told the newspaper. Rosenblum is a partner at Willard Bishop, a consumer-packaged-goods and retailer consultant in Barrington, Ill.

Shoppers’ needs are driving retailers to open several store formats, such as Kroger’s grocery and convenience stores, and its in-between markets, Rosenblum said.

Wal-Mart calls this the “ecosystem approach.” While supercenters dominate the Arkansas company’s 4,000-plus stores nationwide, it is building more small grocery stores, called Neighborhood Markets, and Walmart Express convenience stores because they are growing faster than its supercenters.

At Turkey Hill Market, shoppers also can find typical convenience-store foods, such as frozen-dispensed beverages, grilled hot dogs, pizza by the slice, single-serve bottles of soda and candy bars.

The market also sells gasoline and has a car wash, and Kroger shoppers can redeem their fuel points at the store.

“This store crosses several segments,” Brad Chivington, marketing vice president at Turkey Hill Minit Markets, told the newspaper. “We try to send the message that we can take care of many customers’ needs at this location. And we work in partnership with Kroger.”

The store houses a large gift-card and cellphone kiosk, shelves of groceries and household products, and freezer cases filled with pizzas, bags of vegetables and, of course, full-sized containers of Turkey Hill ice cream.

Shoppers can order fried chicken and biscuit meals at the food counter or pick up a pork loin ($3.19 a pound), tomatoes-on-the-vine ($1 a pound, on sale) and Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix ($2.51) for dinner.

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