Local foods, artisan pizza, growlers of beer, meals to go, Starbucks cafes, olive oils from around the world.
These are just a few of the things you’ll find at Price Chopper’s new Market 32 stores. And in case it’s not obvious, they’re designed to appeal to the newest crop of grocery shoppers: Millennials.
“It’s no secret, everybody’s looking to engage and attract Millennials,” said Scott Grimmett, chief operating officer at Golub Corp. “Millennials are into experimenting a lot, trying new foods. They like convenient shopping. Maybe they’re just after a meal for the night. They want organics and local foods. We doubled the amount of locally produced and grown products we carry, and that’s because we want those younger customers who are looking for a shopping experience that’s interesting, easier and meets their needs.”
Golub Corp. officials unveiled their first new Market 32 store Wednesday in Wilton, just north of Saratoga Springs, a few weeks before the last finishing touches will be added. There are still some marketing materials that need to installed, including educational signs explaining where certain products are from and what the new Market 32 brand is all about.
But gone are all traces of the old Price Chopper that once stood in Wilton’s commercial corridor — no more warehouse lighting, hard tile floors, long, narrow aisles and red-shirted employees. In its place are light wood floors, luxury vinyl tile, soft lighting, wooden shelves and displays. Departments are marked in large, sleek letters across high-resolution images of crusty bread loaves, or a roast tied up in butcher’s string, bright pink fish fillets, apples, strawberries and eggs. Employees in neon green shirts wander the store offering guidance to shoppers wondering where to find their favorite brands.
Price Chopper officials announced last fall that Golub would be rebranding and remodeling its stores to become Market 32, but had few explanations as to what exactly would be different about the remodeled stores. You’ll just have to see it and experience it to get it, they insisted.
“Building a brand isn’t coming and putting a new yogurt machine in,” Grimmett said Wednesday. “Building a brand is everything from the teammates and their engagement with customers to how they’re trained, the products you offer and the convenience. The whole entire shopping experience is how you build a brand.”
Aside from the modern, new earth-toned look, Market 32 stores feature new offerings, including a wider assortment of brands in signature categories like pasta, sauces, grains and olive oils. The departments are more intuitive, with packaged bread sold near the bakery and all dairy products consolidated to one corner of the store. Frozen foods are available in shorter aisles with high-visibility signs so customers no longer have to walk long aisles only to realize the product they want is on the other side of the store.
There’s also a greater focus on health and wellness at Market 32, with a drive-through pharmacy, walk-in health clinic and a greater variety of local, organic and gluten-free foods.
As part of this new focus, the Schenectady-based supermarket chain announced Wednesday it would be going tobacco-free to keep with the identity of its new brand. While tobacco products have been kept out of plain view in Price Chopper stores since about 2007, they will be eliminated entirely from each store once it is rebranded to Market 32, a process that should take up to a decade for Price Chopper’s 135 stores across the Northeast.
“We made this decision because as we looked at the new brand and the importance of health and wellness to what we were trying to accomplish, we couldn’t ignore the fact that tobacco really doesn’t fit,” said Golub Corp. CEO Jerry Golub. “So we decided we needed to remove those products from the stores.”
Finishing touches on the Wilton store are nearly complete. Two other remodels are nearing completion, as well — at Shopper’s World plaza in Clifton Park and in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Price Chopper stores on Madison and Delaware avenues in Albany are currently undergoing transformations to Market 32, and after that stores in Guilderland and Troy will get the rebranding.
New Market 32 stores will be built from the ground up in Fort Edward; Sutton, Massachusetts; and Oxford, Connecticut.