t is a climactic era in the history
of grocery, and retailers are dramatically transforming more
than just their SKUs. As the food
retail landscape becomes more turbulent and
competitive, grocers are propelling themselves into the future by reimagining their
aisles with signature departments and state-of-the-art kitchens that can whip up restau-rant-quality meals or cuts of meat worthy of
an old-school butcher.
Today’s leading retailers are using both
creativity and consumer insights to give their
customers the best shopping experiences
throughout the entire store. In these cases,
shoppers no longer need to worry about wan-
dering aimlessly around the grocery aisles
looking for a bottle of olive oil, because col-
orful signs and expert architecture will often
lead them seamlessly through their shopping
trip. Also, many grocers have made it easier
for shoppers to put a meal together through
strategic placement of items showing cus-
tomers how something such as a bag of dried
beans can be turned into a complete meal.
One of the newest additions to grocery
stores are fast-casual, restaurant-like foodservice sections with seating areas. It used to be
almost unheard of to sit down in a supermarket and have a meal, but today it has almost
become the norm. Retailers are scrambling to
keep up by assembling the most inviting seating areas they can to encourage shoppers to
spend even more time in the store.
On the pages that follow, we take a look
at some of the most groundbreaking grocery departments that came onto the scene
Weis Markets, Enola, Pa.
After acquiring 44 stores in 2016 in what
Weis Markets officials have called a time of
“historic growth,” the retailer also found the
time to make significant steps toward reducing its environmental footprint and open an
impressive flagship store in Enola, Pa. One of
the glowing highlights of the store is its Grand
Hall of produce, which stocks about 1,200
SKUs, about 200 of which are organic.
The department charms with its old-timey
train station feel, featuring a vaulted ceiling
and steel arches. Art deco chandeliers and
brick facade walls add to the nostalgic produce section, where organic fruits and veggies are merchandised at the center of the
department. An arched passageway leads
shoppers naturally into the next aisle, which
is known as the “store within a store,” where
other organic and gluten-free products sit.
Officials say this design allows shoppers to
easily transition from shopping for organics
to looking for other groceries.
The shining star of the Grand Hall is its
Fresh Cut counter, which hosts fun in-store
demonstrations. “Our cut fruit and veg sales
in the company have gone through the roof,
especially with our noodles and rice prod-
ucts,” says COO Kurt Schertle. “We do it
in-store at every location, but most stores do
it in the back. In this store, we brought in a
little theater and do it on the floor, along with
our juicing station and our infused waters.”
In addition to opening its flagship store,
Weis officials have been busy making the
company more sustainable. The Sunbury,
Pa.-based retailer’s Fogelsville, Pa., store
design now serves as the gold standard for
all future store remodels after receiving
the LEED Silver Certification from the U.S.
Green Building Council.
Weis was recently recognized by the Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill
program, which encourages reduced refrig-
erant usage. The company’s other awards
include the 2016 Superior Goal Achievement,
the 2016 Exceptional Goal Achievement, and
2013-2017 Store Re-Certification Excellence.
Weis also committed to reducing food waste
in its operations by 50% by 2030 as one of
five grocers in the inaugural class of the U.S.
Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.
A showcase of some of the most impressive departments
found in concept stores around the country.
Equipment & Design
The Grand Hall
highlights produce at
Weis Markets’ flagship
store in Enola, Pa.