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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 4/17/2013

Kroger plans to expand at new Holland location

Larger Marketplace building to replace 2 nearby stores

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Kroger's new store in Holland, to be built in 2014, will have a wider array of products, including cribs and car seats in its Baby World section. Kroger's new store in Holland, to be built in 2014, will have a wider array of products, including cribs and car seats in its Baby World section.
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Stuck without options to expand two stores in the Holland area, the Kroger Co. said Tuesday that it will build a new Kroger Marketplace store next year at the corner of Airport Highway and Holloway Road in Holland.

When the new Marketplace store opens in the fall of 2014, two nearby stores at 1414 Spring Meadows Dr. in the Spring Meadows Shopping Center in Springfield Township, and at 850 S. McCord Rd. in Holland, will be closed.

Preparation for the new store in the Orchard Centre shopping complex on the site of a former Farmer Jack store will begin this summer. Kroger said it will demolish the former Farmer Jack, which closed in 2005, to accommodate a new 124,000-square-foot Marketplace store featuring merchandise categories and services above a typical Kroger.

It will be the second Kroger Marketplace in the area. Last year the retailer converted one of its standard supermarkets in Lambertville into a 128,000-square-foot Marketplace store, the largest in the Kroger chain.

Kroger, which is based in Cincinnati, was seeking approval of its construction plans on Tuesday night at a meeting of the Holland village council.

“We just closed a little over a week ago on the property,” said Jackie Siekmann, a Kroger spokesman in Columbus.

Ms. Siekmann said the supermarket chain had contemplated the move to the Orchard Centre site — on the south side of Airport Highway adjacent to Menard’s — for a year.

Kroger is moving swiftly — either through conversion or new construction — to add new Marketplace stores, an evolving concept featuring more non-grocery goods like hardware, automotive, furniture, and apparel. The model is based on Kroger’s successful chain of Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific Northwest, which the retailer acquired in 1998.

Fred Meyer stores are more like a Meijer or Walmart store in that they carry not only groceries but other general merchandise, such as apparel, housewares, home decor, furniture, sporting goods, automotive, electronics, toys, and other entertainment categories.

The Kroger in Spring Meadows cannot accommodate expansion to the size of a Marketplace store, which is typically about 125,000 square feet, and neither can the McCord Road store, a former Food Town store that Kroger acquired in 2003 from Spartan Stores Inc.

The new Marketplace store in Holland will have Kroger’s latest features and merchandise, based on what has been successful at Fred Meyer stores, Ms. Siekmann said.

It will have men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel sections, a Fred Meyer Jeweler section, a Starbucks coffee area, a pharmacy, and a sushi counter.

In addition, it will have hardware and automotive sections, a wine-tasting bar, a liquor store, a larger organic foods section, and Baby World — a concept the company tested successfully last year.

“Baby World will have diapers, of course, but it will also have a small selection of cribs, swings, and high chairs,” Ms. Siekmann said.

Kroger also has proposed adding a fuel center in the store’s parking lot but will need special approval for that.

Combined, the Spring Meadows and Holland Kroger stores have about 190 employees. The Marketplace stores will have 200 to 230 workers.

Ms. Siekmann said it is expected that workers at the stores that are to close will be transferred to the new store, or possibly to other stores in the Toledo area.

Last month, the Northwestern Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council asked area consumers to boycott local Kroger stores in response to the supermarket retailer’s decision to use out-of-state building contractors and some out-of-state workers for construction and remodeling work on some of its area stores, including a new store being built in Maumee.

Ms. Siekmann said at the time that the retailer has no problem with using local contractors or their workers, but a competitive bid process it uses caused it to choose F.H. Martin Constructors, of Warren, Mich., for its Maumee projects.

The contractor was chosen based on price, quality, and performance, she said.

The Kroger spokesman said the company will continue to use its existing bid procedure for the Orchard Centre project.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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