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The Kroger Co. Message Board

  • storewanderer3 storewanderer3 Nov 26, 2012 1:41 AM Flag

    Frys Mercado

    A number of years ago, the Frys Division converted one of its marketplace stores in a more hispanic part of Phoenix to a new format called "Frys Mercado." This format was to be better than the marginal Food City Stores all over the market that were capturing quite a bit of traffic from hispanic customers, more similar to the Pro's Ranch Stores that were developing around Phoenix at the time. I would guess the store, had it not been converted to this format, would be closed now.

    The store has a large salsa/juice bar as you enter, large produce area, huge service meat/seafood counter, hispanic deli, large tortilla/masa department, huge bakery. Most of the products on the perimeter are made in store and not items seen at other KR operations or other Frys Stores. As a result this store ran a different ad from the rest of the Frys Stores. They also took a large area on the side of the store that previously housed general merchandise and made small mall-like spaces and subleased these to various independent businesses from shoes to insurance. This store when I first went to it really impressed me. It was great to see a large chain do such a great job with this format and let this one location be something unique to better serve its area.

    I went to this store today and noticed some changes. First, they are running the same ad as the other Frys Stores now. This is all good and well, but the problem is the mercado-specific fresh departments needed that unique ad to drive traffic. There was signage about new "one day specials" but I saw no such specials. I also saw far less traffic in this store than the past 6 or so visits I've made to it since it converted. Second, the bakery had less unique product. They actually had cut up pudding cake slices in a tray or two in the service case and some of the boring standard Kroger bakery muffins on another tray in the service case. The self serve pastry area had far less variety than before and the concha I bought was rock hard. There were no empenadas at all. I don't know what happened here...

    Some months after the store opened, a trade magazine published an article where a KR Executive (I think it may have been Dillon) said the store was not going to be rolled out on a wide scale as it catered to first generation hispanic customers and the company is more focused on second and third generation customers. This disappointed me because there are other KR markets (SoCal, for example) where this format could do very well. I suppose lack of support for the format from KR corporate doomed what was a very good development by the Frys Division that had good potential for success elsewhere. Too bad.

    At least the "Signature Marketplace" up at Tatum and Shea is still doing its own thing.

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    • WMT has some stores which are geared towards HISPANIC like the fatty layered pork.
      We have a large hispanic population in TX,the Kroger near us is relatively new ,I notice they have been adding more hispanic items like more and better papaya,mangoes,tacos and hispanic pastry and fresh made salsa and alvocado dip.

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