Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End-of-Year 2015 Mid-South Kroger Statuses

I know I said my last post was going to be the last one of the year... but what can I say, apparently I was wrong! :P

Kroger, 3830 Hickory Hill // courtesy kingskip1 on flickr

Anyway, I just wanted to share some news concerning Kroger Delta Division's recent announcement, as covered by the Memphis Business Journal (among other outlets). Primarily, this involves the closure of the location at 3830 Hickory Hill, which has reportedly been unprofitable for just shy of a decade - since 2006. That store will close at the end of next month, a period that will also see the grand reopening of the last (I think!) as-yet-unremodeled store purchased from Schnucks back in 2011, on Truse Parkway. Logic would dictate that at least one of two area stores to that one - S Mendenhall, 0.6 mile away, or S Perkins (a tiny store unremodeled by Kroger or Schnucks), 1 mile away - would close soon after the grand reopening, similar to how the Exeter Road store in Germantown closed when the expanded (well, basically rebuilt) Farmington Boulevard former Schnucks 0.5 mile away reopened this past August. In any case, I don't expect Kroger to announce anything on that front until closer to the actual time.

Kroger, 799 Truse Parkway // courtesy Bradley_Memphis on flickr

So, for those of you keeping count, that's at least two Kroger closures next month, and one grand reopening: the Union Avenue store is closing January 4th so construction can enter the next stages on the new Midtown store (update: store closed 1-2; demolition will be 1-4. I sincerely apologize for the inaccuracy), the Hickory Hill store is closing January 30th and will not be replaced (Kroger encourages customers to visit either the Riverdale or Winchester Road stores, both roughly about four miles away), and the Truse Parkway store is celebrating a grand reopening January 27th.

Kroger, 1761 Union Avenue, during the changeover from Schnucks // courtesy MBJ

The other news Kroger shared was that it not only met, but exceeded its promise to upgrade Mid-South stores. I believe this great ambition arose as a corporate response to negative feedback on the public's part to Kroger's buyout of the Schnucks stores when that company vacated the area over four years ago, thereby leaving Kroger with a bit of a monopoly on the area's grocery scene. For its part, Kroger has done rather well heightening their perception to match their position here in the Mid-South, largely through major remodels and expansions (although, of course, that leaves us retail fans at a loss, with the removal of virtually all nonconforming décor packages...). In the announcement, Kroger released totals for many of its projects over the past two years. Those numbers are reprinted below from the MBJ, along with links to several of l_dawg2000's flickr albums documenting those renovations in progress, plus one of my own.

  • Kroger Cordova (Houston Levee/Macon): $1.2 million, 2015
  • Kroger Collierville (Winchester/Houston Levee): $3.8 million, 2014
  • Kroger Whitehaven: $4.3 million, 2014
  • Kroger Truse Parkway: $4.3 million, 2015
  • Kroger Poplar (Cleveland): $4.4 million, 2014
  • Kroger Horn Lake: $5 million, 2014
  • Kroger Cordova (North Germantown Road/Dexter): $5.25 million, 2014
  • Kroger Bartlett (Kirby Whitten): $5.2 million, 2014
  • Kroger Cordova (Highway 64 Stonebridge): $9 million, 2014
  • Kroger Southaven (Goodman Road): $14.5 million, 2014
  • Kroger Germantown: $16 million, 2015
  • Kroger Hernando: $22 million, 2016 (my album)
  • Kroger Union Avenue: $24 million, 2016

A graphic from 2011, again courtesy MBJ, that shows stores Kroger would convert from Schnucks and stores from both chains that would close. Of the eight stores Kroger has since converted, only the store at 576 S Perkins has not been majorly renovated and therefore is not in the money totals list above. As mentioned earlier in this post, I predict that store may close in a month's time.

Overall, that's $118,950,000 spread over thirteen projects, with a promise of "more to come for 2016 and beyond." Well, Kroger, if no one else will, then you can bet that we will indeed "stay tuned!" For now, I hope that all of you reading this have a safe and happy new year, and keep checking in with us at the Mid-South Retail Blog, as I've got more in store for you as well. Until next time, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wal-Mart Artifacts Hiding In Plain Sight

Hey everyone! For my December blog post (the last one of the year!), I've decided to take a look at some old Wal-Mart stuff. Not "Walmart" - "Wal-Mart;" as the title says, "artifacts hiding in plain sight." This idea was spurred by my visits recently to the Olive Branch, MS, Walmart, and coincides with my flickr photoset from there (which concludes this Saturday). The reason being? That store was one that was lightly Project Impacted - that is to say, such elements as the black checkout lane lights remain. Out in the parking lot, classic cart corrals remain as well!

As you can see, most of them look very much alike - the common design of black and white on blue might hide the fact that the actual content does, in fact, vary. I think there was one other design that I didn't capture, advertising Wal-Mart Financial Services. By far, though, my favorite design is the one you see peeking out in that last picture above: an even earlier sign still left untouched at the OB WM!

Of course, finding any signs at all on Walmart's cart returns nowadays is pretty difficult - most of them look like the one(s) below, as seen at my local store.

The burnt out 'r' has since been fixed :P

That last shot is included simply because I thought it was funny - you may often find a shopping bag left in the carts, but you rarely see a bird posing at the return! Speaking of shopping bags, though, my pal Albertsons Florida Blog - whose blog of the same name I encourage you to visit - has quite the collection of old Wal-Mart ones! Click the "courtesy" link under each photograph to read more about the bags pictured.

Courtesy AFB on flickr

Courtesy AFB on flickr

Courtesy AFB on flickr

Courtesy AFB on flickr

Courtesy AFB on flickr

The last photo above is not of a bag, but rather a "buggie," as carts are sometimes affectionately called. Those gray plastic honeycomb-design carts have been phased out for metal today, but live on in such stores as Bargain Hunt in Southaven, MS.

This one was actually seen still in use at the Greenville, MS, Walmart!

An even older Wal-Mart cart can be found farther south in Southaven at the Tuesday Morning store...

I assume this means the cart was manufactured in August 1993.

If you're ever in the store, just look for the cart with the googly eyes to find the Wal-Mart artifact underneath! I didn't place those there, but I appreciate whoever did - it works as a nice identifier :)

...but if you want carts older than that, you're going to have to travel across the Mississippi River to Paul Michael Company in Lake Village, AR!

That billboard was seen farther north than Lake Village in Arkansas, but brings me to my next topic: old Wal-Mart trailers! These are no doubt the most prevalent means of happening upon an old Wal-Mart logo. The different types you may be likely to see on the roads are arranged in chronological order below.

The trailers with this version of the Sam's Club logo are identical to the one above, just with this Sam's logo in place of the other one.

This last trailer, along with the billboard from earlier in the post, are some of the most elusive Wal-Mart artifacts: they feature Walmart's Project Impact tagline ("Save money. Live better.") alongside the old Wal-Mart logo. Try as they might, Walmart can't seem to completely eradicate their past logo-wise! On their house brand products, however, they can indeed achieve that purpose... pictured below are some old Great Value products, from before the logo change (and that stayed way past their expirations in one of our cabinets...!).

Yep... toldja, waaay past!

Last but certainly not least, a look at some older Wal-Mart handbaskets... the first type remains in use (and useless!!) at my local store, which lacks actual human-sized handbaskets to my great dismay; the second, older one was spotted among a bunch of Rite Aid baskets at Commerce Street Market, also in Hernando, MS.

While we're on the topic of Rite Aid, I suggest you check out my friend Random Retail's Twin Tiers Retail Blog, where he has a post covering various Rite Aid designs (among others focusing on the chain) in advance of the brand's anticipated dissolution due to their buyout by Walgreens. Also, before I go, I want to leave you with one more Wal-Mart artifact, a clue of what will be coming to my flickr photostream in summer 2016...

Well, that wraps up today's post, and this year for the Mid-South Retail Blog! I hope you have an awesome holiday season, and I'll see you again next year with all new posts. Until next time, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell