Customers shop at the Kroger store in Lambertville, which includes Fred Meyer Jewelers and furniture.
THE BLADE/LORI KING
Levi’s, fine jewelry, cribs, dining room tables, bathing suits, shoes, lingerie. Oh, and don’t forget milk, bread, meat, and potatoes.
The Kroger Co. unveiled its new Marketplace store in Lambertville on Friday, and to say that local customers may notice some changes is probably a huge understatement.
Kroger spent more than $12 million and nearly 18 months upgrading the store, located on the northwest corner of Sterns and Secor roads in Michigan.
The result is a store that nearly doubled in size — 133,000 square feet compared to a previous 68,000 square feet — added another 100 employees, three checkout lanes, and four U-Scan devices. But what likely will open the eyes and turn the heads of customers isn’t the size or additional personnel, but the look and feel of the new store and what consumers will discover when they push their carts down the store’s aisles.
The Marketplace store, part of Kroger’s attempt to expand its items and compete with general retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Meijer, features several new categories of merchandise that won’t be found in any Toledo-area Kroger.
The additions include men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, shoes, and apparel accessories, furniture for the home, fine jewelry, and baby furniture, furnishings, and accessories. Also, the store includes expanded sections for toys, pets, kitchenware, appliances, electronics, organic foods, health food, and wine.
“All our brands we have were due to our relationship with our Fred Meyer stores out West, which are very large stores. We got a lot of our ideas from Fred Meyer,” said Jackie Siekmann, spokesman for Kroger’s Columbus division, which oversees the Lambertville store and is planning a second Marketplace in Holland that will be ready in 2014.
“Our Marketplace stores in Columbus have furniture, but this is only the second one that has apparel. We even have fitting rooms. I mean, it’s apparel — where else are you going to try it on to see if it fits?” she said.
Kroger plans to hold a grand opening for the store, which is the first Marketplace in Michigan and just the second store to receive Kroger’s new Marketplace concepts that feature apparel and baby furniture, on June 28 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, company and store officials said they’ll spend the next few weeks, and likely the summer, educating customers to accept that they now can fill their carts with things such as clothing and fine jewelry — not just cereal, soup, cookies, and apples.
But Ms. Siekmann said that may not be too difficult. “People go to Wal-Mart and Target all the time and have no problem putting groceries and clothing in the same cart. This is no different,” she said.
Doug DeArmond, manager of the Marketplace store, said seeing all the categories the store has added is eye-opening compared to a traditional Kroger store.
“I’ve been working for Kroger for over 39 years. When I started as a bag boy, I never imagined a Kroger would be anything like this,” he said, gazing at a sectional couch and end table set.
But Mr. DeArmond said many of the new categories his store will now carry are what customers have been asking for and suggesting for several years now.
“This is the busiest corner in all of Monroe County,” he said. “But there’s nothing much in this immediate area where people can go for these types of things.”
The Kroger Marketplace will represent “one-stop shopping” in Bedford Township, Mr. DeArmond said. “We hope to satisfy your every need so you don’t have to go anywhere else.”
Contact Jon Chavez at: email@example.com or 419-724-6128.