Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kroger Bauhaus and Acquired Décor

As promised, here I am with the final Kroger décor post! (About time, right?!) To this point, I've covered - in non-chronological order - Kroger's packages spanning nearly 30 years. Today, I've got the cream of the crop - the look that did stand, amazingly, for 30 years at a Kroger store right here in the Mid-South Retail Blog coverage area. That store would be the Kroger on Stateline Road in Southaven, MS, and appropriately dubbed by my flickr predecessors the "Beloved Greenhouse Kroger;" that look would be Kroger's awesome Bauhaus design. The photos for this décor all come from the Stateline store, mostly because it's the only store around here that ever had it (yes, sadly we now have to use past tense :( ) that wasn't remodeled before kingskip1, Bradley_Memphis, and l_dawg2000 started taking and posting photos to flickr. Now, they believe it to be the most photographed Kroger store on the entire photo-sharing website!

Let's start with a look at the exterior of the store. Most, if not all, Krogers with this décor were in stores of this build, with natural-light-welcoming greenhouses prominent on the front. Many of these stores still exist, and I'd posit that the majority of those have since been remodeled. Sometimes, the remodel carries over to the outside; here, you can see it did not. Don't think that that means Stateline didn't get any love though - the remodel inside is anything but lousy. l_dawg2000 has a remodel album (kinda painful to look at, at times!) that I encourage you to visit here.

Looking up through an awning at an exterior sign, only a hint of what's to come inside...

...Bauhaus décor at its finest! Kroger had many variations on this look it seems, with the colors seemingly store-specific (see here, scrolling to the left, for a different type). Stateline, as you can see, got the pink and purple version, which is reportedly extra-elusive on top of the overall look's current elusiveness!

Many stores had bread and rolls in the area where nutrition and floral is here, just beyond the produce department. Perhaps the odd layout has something to do with the fact that this store relocated across the street from an old Superstore Kroger (unfortunately, no photos of that era will be going up on the blog - there's few to find. See this link for the most readily available ones.). That certainly might explain some of the cool, if now somewhat nonsensical, flooring throughout the store:

The brick semi-circle is the best floor oddity of all; during the remodel, the new 2012 "fresh meat" basket sign was centered directly above it. I don't think anyone's been back to check, but hopefully that means it stayed... if not, I'm not sure we could handle it - we're still mourning the loss of the so-called Bauhaus Word Train (pictured below) above it!

Beyond the mouthful taking up nearly the whole back wall, dairy and eggs manages to fit its words in edgewise, with ice cream and [more] dairy around the corner.

Speaking of edges and corners, a distinctive component of greenhouse/Bauhaus stores is the curved walls (seen from a very cool vantage point in the bottom pic above). Even if the décor has changed through the years, it is still very obvious the previous design if those walls are present. And as an exclusive reveal here first on the blog, I can tell you that coming later this year to my flickr photostream is one such store.

Just beyond the combined deli-bakery here is the pharmacy, actually not here from the first day (explaining the afterthought millennium décor signage). I'm not sure if it was just a Stateline thing, or if all early greenhouse stores didn't have a pharmacy. The aforementioned store I went in was a later build (you can tell by the walls on the side of the greenhouse; if they go all the way up like they do in the first picture of this post, it's early, and if they're "shaved off" and follow the lines of the greenhouse, it's later), and it did have a dedicated pharmacy space from opening, it looks like.

Closing out the interior shots, a look down the checkouts at the second of two Bauhaus produce signs, and a view under the magnificent greenhouse. Just beside it is the pharmacy (for perspective), and beyond that, a little alcove for the café seating...

...then it's headed back outside for another exterior shot (of Barney's Café's stained-glass window), and the ubiquitous Kroger cube. (Okay, so they're not really found at every store ever, but they should be!!)

That's it for Bauhaus décor in the Mid-South, but there are some other places you can find some shots of it online. For example, this topic on the Groceteria forum has lots of image links; this Facebook page has some photos proving that Bauhaus still lives on at a Kroger in Covington, KY, (a small community apparently unsupportable of another grocery) possibly for a while as a result, though given its proximity to Kroger's headquarters and just plain knowing Kroger, it could be gone in a flash. If this is the décor in your local Kroger, we at the Mid-South Retail Blog and on flickr encourage you to let us know, and maybe even go and discreetly take some pictures yourself that you can share on social media, add to websites like Yelp or Foursquare, or even upload to flickr or send it here, to the blog, at (even if it's not in the Mid-South, for Bauhaus we'll make an exception!!).

Of course, if you want more of the Stateline store, this post barely scratched the surface! Feel free to view pictures in each of our dedicated Kroger albums (kingskip's, Bradley's, l_dawg's, and my own) and, if you're on flickr, fave or comment.

For the rest of today's post, I wanted to include some very quick glimpses of various décor packages Kroger has just happened to acquire here in the Mid-South (well, immediate Memphis metro area, anyway) and in some cases, as with Stateline, waited some time (or hasn't yet bothered) to remodel. That requires a little backstory first, though...

Back in the "good ol' days" of grocery shopping in the Memphis metro, there was a bakery-turned-supermarket owned by and operating under the name of Seessel's. Seessel's, facing troubles, eventually sold to Bruno's, but upon actually facing worse problems, withdrew the chain from that arrangement and subsequently granted it to Albertsons, which ran existing stores and opened new ones under the name of Seessel's by Albertsons. At this time, Albertsons also expanded into select territories outside of the Seessel's circle with new stores simply under the name of Albertsons, but soon found that the new region wasn't exactly what they were expecting, and sold off all Albertsons-branded stores to Kroger and all Seessel's-branded stores to another Mid-South newcomer, Schnucks. Much to Seessel's fans' chagrin, however, Schnucks stripped the stores of their name, their décor, and practically everything that shoppers had come to love about the local success story. As a result, Schnucks gained a negative connotation among Mid-South shoppers, and wound up having to leave the market themselves as well, selling out to Kroger (meaning it's basically a grocery monopoly around here anymore).

What does this mean to you? Well, if you can follow my story (apologies for making it so winded!), you should hopefully be able to deduce that 1) Kroger has had stores with Albertsons and Schnucks décor packages, and 2) Schnucks probably could've avoided this whole mess if they had just kept what made Seessel's, Seessel's. Just sayin'.

This is the only Schnucks décor picture worth sharing, haha! Many of the so-called "Schnucks Kroger" stores have since had the good fortune to remodel, though I think some may still be around. All of us Mid-South flickr folks have some Schnucks "corrugated crap" pictures in our photostreams, but if you want the full experience, I'd encourage you to visit my album here, of a grocer other than Kroger that came in and set up shop in a former Schnucks (also coincidentally in Southaven). For the record, the décor used by Schnucks during their tenure here isn't my favorite, but nowadays I find it a welcome change to the over-abundant 2012 décor in practically all Krogers.

A much better example of Kroger acquiring décor is this former Albertsons in Tupelo, MS, which had the good fortune to remain unremodeled up until this year. l_dawg2000 has a pretty extensive tour of this store here, and I have some pics of it under remodel that I'll be posting to flickr once school starts back.

Last but not least, not only for this post but for the whole Kroger décor series (!), is this sneaky little package!! This is an example of a décor package used by Albertsons in a Seessel's store, surprisingly untouched by Schnucks (perhaps the corrugated metal pleased them?), and remarkably also untouched by Kroger, at least as of earlier this year. Pics from this store can be seen in my album here.


Thanks once more to my flickr friends for allowing me to use their photos in these posts, and thanks to all of you for sticking around for this series! As mentioned in the previous post, this is going to be the last major one from me for a while, though I'll still try to get something posted once a month. Again, though, feel free to submit a post yourself, and in any case to sign up for email alerts via the desktop version's sidebar link so you don't have to keep on clicking back here everyday and finding disappointment (though we do appreciate your dedication, if you do check by everyday!). (Edit - at least, I think you can sign up for email alerts. I'm signed up, but I haven't gotten a message yet for this new post. Wouldn't surprise me if it didn't work after all... :/ ) (Double edit - well it did finally alert me, nearly a full day later, but oh well! The timing can be forgiven, because the alert is a lot nicer than I expected: it sends you the whole post, you don't even have to visit the blog!! Although, of course, I don't want to deter you from doing that... we appreciate your patronage!)

That's pretty much a comprehensive look at Kroger's looks around the Mid-South, but at the risk of saying "look" too many times in this sentence, I'd suggest if you're in the northeast to look out for Kroger possibly moving into your area, what with A&P's bankruptcy. (Though, if you're in the northeast, I'm not quite sure why you'd be reading the Mid-South Retail Blog, haha! Try my pal Random Retail's Twin Tiers Retail instead.)

Until next time... enjoy exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Krog-splosion//What's next for the Mid-South Retail Blog? (Updated with new features)

We interrupt your Kroger décor posts for the following Kroger breaking news out of Hernando, MS...

...okay, well, it's not really "breaking," per se. It's actually only recent news, from July 2nd, off of the DeSoto County magical retail chancery clerk website, if you know how to find it (which I now do, thanks very much to l_dawg2000!!). But it is our first glimpse at the definitely-happening-and-all-but-confirmed-Marketplace Kroger expansion.

In the above picture (courtesy Google), you can see the current Hernando Kroger space shaded in gray, along with the space they will grow to occupy outlined around it. Quite a big jump!! Feel free to click it, and the below picture showcasing the pieced-together land plot map thing (courtesy DeSoto County's online documents, and MS Paint), to make them more readable/understandable for you.


Now, to the other part of today's post: a post about posts. Following the conclusion of my Kroger décor series (one post to go, and it's gonna be the fun one!), I start back school in early August. As such, and coupled with the fact that it will be my final year of high school, my flickr account (with uploads weekly) will take precedence over my contributions to the blog. I will do my best to get one post in monthly - as promised when I started the blog, and not too hard considering I have some stuff in mind. It's just coming up with the time, not the content, that's going to be pressing on me.

l_dawg2000 surely has some things up his sleeve as well, so be sure to watch out for new posts from him. And, since I haven't done so yet, I'd like to formally extend the invitation to you guys - that's right, those of you reading these words! I'd love to have some of you visitors of the Mid-South Retail Blog become contributors. Please feel free to send in your fully written post(s), pertaining to anything and everything Mid-South retail (that is, within the counties pictured on our logo) - past, present, future, pictures or no pictures included - to, where either I or l_dawg2000 will proofread, make sure your content is acceptable (i.e., be civil, please), and post it ASAP!

UPDATE 7-12-15: Not only can you now contribute to the blog, you can sign up for email alerts, too! This way, you can choose to be notified when a new post makes its way up, whether it be from me, l_dawg2000, a visitor, or even you! That feature - along with several other new ones, including a search bar and links to some of my contact's blogs - can now be found on the sidebar on the desktop version of this website.

As for the Hernando Kroger expansion, I hope to be around to see some or even all of it, but I'm afraid I'll be in college before any real stuff gets done. Fortunately, l_dawg2000 has pledged to stay on top of it - check out his flickr account sooner or later when work begins on that, plus you can see some of his multiple other Kroger remodel/expansion albums!

That's all that's going on for now - er, in the foreseeable future, that is - in Hernando and on the Mid-South Retail Blog. So, until next time, enjoy exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Kroger 2012 and Marketplace Décor

I'll just go ahead and admit it: this décor post isn't gonna be as fun. It's 2012 décor, for crying out loud; if you have a Kroger near you, there's a good chance this is on the walls! Of course, those anomaly stores are still out there, and I look forward to featuring them in the next (last!) décor post. But until then, for this to be a complete documentation, we've gotta trudge through 2012.

As far as I'm aware, there's only one 2012-built store in the Memphis metro area (if not the entire Mid-South) as of right now: at Poplar Plaza, replacing an older neon store. kingskip1 got photos from the day before opening, including this very cool shot from the upper level looking down! Photos in this post come from him, Bradley_Memphis, l_dawg2000, and myself.

Now, I did want to get this straight - I don't dislike 2012 décor. In fact, the garden sign, as pictured above, is stunning! It's just that it's so common, what with Kroger going on what we've collectively termed a "remodel rampage" and getting rid of all of their older looks. From that aspect, I have to say 2012 décor is versatile, or at least Kroger is making it that way; since they pretty much have all the stores they need, very few new builds with this décor are going to pop up. Instead, they're having to make modifications so that the look will fit in stores of Bauhaus, wannabe neon, neon, millennium, script, etc...

A cool aspect of 2012 décor in the newly built or expanded stores is that alongside the deli and bakery departments (pictured with the garden, above) are several self-serve areas and café seating. Very nice, especially for a chain like Kroger, which us flickrites tend to mock as usually having only two tables!

Other areas that you encounter soon after entering [in most stores] are floral (most signs of which look like the second one pictured - I just thought the first one was unique) and natural foods (sometimes "nature's market"). Not sure where wine and beer would be in a store, we don't have that around here... I included it because it shows a different aspect of 2012 décor.

Along the back - as always! - meat and seafood fish as well as lunch meat. Also, since I feel obligated to mention it, even though I don't have it pictured - the garden is signed as produce in some stores. The identity crisis lives on!

Other signs gracing the general aisles - something essentially, but not totally, new to Kroger décor - include, but are not limited to, baby and pet circles and greeting cards rectangles.

Further departmental signage includes dairy and "the freezer," although depending on where frozen foods are in a store being remodeled, signage may not be given.

Now to the small things of 2012 décor! In addition to the so-called "basket signs" (which often go sans "lid" in neon store remodels) and the accompanying stenciling, sometimes Kroger puts up some little phrases, and often those department-specific pictures. Also, I can't leave out the infamous "tri-siders!"

Lastly, closing out the 2012 tour, you have the pharmacy and health and beauty departments. But that's not it for today...

Although we don't (yet) have any in the Mid-South, it wouldn't be a comprehensive Kroger décor set without including their Marketplace look! The marketplace concept actually isn't original to Kroger, but is used (maybe even owned?) by the company in stores of their namesake and other brands, like this Fry's Marketplace store in Tempe, Arizona. The above and below Marketplace photos are featured on the blog courtesy of flickr member Raymie Humbert, but as they're just a quick glimpse, I hope you'll check out his complete remodel diaries!

...and that does it for today's post! Again, I invite you to check out Raymie Humbert's Marketplace Remodel Diaries, as well as here, soon, for the final Kroger décor post - I've saved the best for last!!

Until then, enjoy exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell