Kroger store will sell more than groceries

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli

A Kroger store scheduled to open next summer in Virginia Beach will not be a typical supermarket.  The 124,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace will include 30,000 square feet of space devoted to nongrocery items. The store will include a fuel station, garden center and departments for furniture, home décor and toys.

The store on Holland Road will be the second Kroger Marketplace that the Cincinnati-based company has built in its Roanoke-based mid-Atlantic region, which includes Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia and parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The first marketplace store, in Chesterfield County, is set to open this month.

The response to the marketplace concept “has been outstanding,” says Carl York, Kroger’s mid-Atlantic spokesman. “That’s why we continue to build them.”

York says Kroger wants to build more marketplace stores in the Hampton Roads area, and is looking at a location in Portsmouth. The company’s goal is to build two new marketplaces a year for five years. At $25 million per store opening, that’s a potential investment of a quarter of a billion dollars. Currently there are seven regular Kroger stores in Hampton Roads, four of them in Virginia Beach.

Kroger’s growth in Hampton Roads is part of a bigger plan. In October, the company announced plans to spend an additional $200 million a year to expand in new and existing markets. As of the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, Kroger had 73 marketplace stores throughout the country. 

Fittingly, the Kroger Marketplace is opening at the site formerly occupied by a Kmart store. But how does the big Kroger store compare to other one-stop shops?
“It’s big like some of our competitor stores, but it’s a combination of our expertise in grocery along with these extra commodities, these extra departments,” York says.

York says that unlike the Kroger Marketplace in Richmond, the Virginia Beach Kroger Marketplace will have a Fred Meyer jewelry store, “which will add a different element to the shopping experience you normally find.”

The Kroger Marketplace will hire about 400 workers at its Virginia Beach location, most of whom will be part time, York says. The company plans to start the hiring process around April.

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