stores carry logistical issues. “You have to have the right size trailers and
the loading areas can be rather interesting,” he says. “They are not in your
traditional open shopping center, so there are challenges, but at the same
time, the challenges come with rewards. You have a lot of people in the city.
They now don’t have to go outside the city to grocery shop.”
Urban locations come with unique challenges not typically found in the
suburbs, says Richard J. DeMarco, principal at New York-based Montory
Andersen DeMarco Group, an architecture and interior design firm. “In
Manhattan, south of 96th Street, there is no required parking, so that is not
a consequence, but you still need to provide for other aspects of transporta-
tion,” he says. “In the building, there have to be parking spaces for bicycles.
A large store might need to have a 300 square-foot bike room. For an oper-
ator like Whole Foods, they might like to tout that aspect of sustainable
transportation because it fits their customer base.”
As supermarkets seek to locate in former factories and warehouses other
logistical problems arise.
“Some of these industrial buildings have very thick concrete floors,
which can pose a problem for installing the piping and water lines needed
for refrigeration and freezer cases,” DeMarco says. “An alternative to drilling and trenching these concrete slabs is to build a whole new floor on top
of it by throwing down six or eight inches of rigid insulation, and not putting it down where you need to lay your piping.”
MOVING INTO RED BANK
Retailers often get courted by developers to move into a project, and that
is what happened to Bob Sickles, the owner of Sickles Market, a one-unit
“lifestyle retailer” combination specialty grocery, bakery, butcher, produce
market, greenhouse and garden center operating in tony Little Silver, N.J.
In his case, it was by a principal with Metrovation to open an outpost in
the old Anderson Brothers Moving & Storage building alongside the train
tracks in nearby Red Bank, a town that has seen a resurgence in recent years
with exclusive shops and restaurants locating downtown that rival those on
“The developer who owns the building is a customer of ours and he
approached me personally,” Sickles says. “The property is extremely well
located and that whole area has been regentrifying. The train station is
right there, so I see tremendous potential and think in five years this is
going to be an amazing thriving area.”
Only a couple of miles as the crow flies from his current store, Sickles
sees his new store, dubbed Sickles Market Provisions and scheduled to
open in September 2018, as attracting a different customer. “We’ll be closer
to sharing market share with Whole Foods and all the other big grocery
stores,” including a Wegmans slated for neighboring Middletown, he says.
“I appeal to a lot of people and I do think I can do very well there,” Sickles
says. “We’ll be on the perimeter of downtown and attract all of those people
on the west side of Red Bank.”
Although smaller in square footage than the Little Silver unit at about
9,000 square feet, the new store will offer more parking and longer hours,
along with other amenities including beer and wine, fresh seafood and
an outpost of Booskerdoo Coffee Co., an Asbury Park-based local coffee
“Over there we can plan exactly what we want to have,” Sickles says.
“We’ll have a really nice cheese and charcuterie presence, a smaller gourmet grocery presence, a slightly smaller produce presence, but a nice assortment of meats and fish.”
In addition to downtowns, old factories and warehouses, supermarkets are
still looking to the suburbs, and the smart ones are putting their money in
With Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Sears as
tenants, Natick Mall is one of the leading shopping centers in suburban
Boston. It will further cement its cache next year with the opening of its
sixth anchor—Wegmans. The Rochester, N.Y.-based chain is opening a
125,000 square-foot store covering the first and half of the second floor of
what had been a three-story JCPenney, originally Jordan Marsh. According
to news reports, Wegmans will lease the remainder of the 194,000 square-foot building to tenants that complement its business.
“The fact that this will be our first multi-level store within a major mall
only adds to our enthusiasm for this project,” Ralph Uttaro, Wegmans’
senior vice president of real estate, said in a statement.
Wegmans is not the first retailer to have a store in an enclosed mall.
Many early shopping malls listed supermarkets as key tenants. In the 1970s,
Pathmark, for example, operated a store in the Menlo Park Mall in Edison,
N.J., where it was a co-anchor with Bamberger’s, Alexander’s, JCPenney
Sears Holdings, the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based operator of Sears and
Kmart stores has been maximizing its real estate by downsizing its stores
and subletting the space to other retailers, including supermarkets.
“It provides synergistic traffic,” says Alan Shaw, vice president of real
estate leasing and development at Sears Holdings. “We sell very different
things, so we don’t compete. And yet the demographics of our customers
are very similar. Additionally, Sears has some of the best real estate in the
country— often the center of the community or the very front of the mall.
Grocers look for those types of locations, so it is natural for us to want to
work together in locations where we are looking to reduce our footprint.”
Shaw says Sears has worked with numerous grocers across the country,
including Whole Foods, which moved into a Sears store in Clearwater, Fla.,
and Northgate Market, an Hispanic-oriented chain that leased space in a
San Diego Kmart. “They were seeking a great location and we continue to
see a halo effect from the great customers that shop there every day,” Shaw
says, adding that in Clearwater more than 2,000 customers waited in line
the day Whole Foods opened.
Sickles Market will open Sickles Market Provisions in a former moving
company warehouse in Red Bank, N. J. in September 2018.