The Fresh Grocer of
Brown’s Super Stores, a Westville, N.J.-based operator of 11 ShopRite
supermarkets in greater Philadelphia, recently debuted its second
store under the Fresh Grocer banner on Monument Road in the City of
Housed in a former Pathmark, the 55,000 square-foot space was
extensively renovated into an emporium showcasing the latest concepts
in layout, design, equipment, fixtures – and prepared foods.
A highlight of the Monument Road Fresh Grocer is Brown’s Chef’s
Market, which offers a wide variety of signature specialties, including:
fire-grilled chicken; sticky ribs; Southern fried chicken and fish; Chinese
dishes including sushi; and an extensive, well-stocked soup and salad bar.
While many get their foods to go, others sit down and enjoy them in
front of the store’s fireplace, and take in the architecture’s natural wood
and brick elements that convey a pleasant, upbeat vibe.
In addition to restaurant-quality entrees at affordable prices, many of
the most popular items sold in Brown’s ShopRite stores can also be found
at the Monument Road Fresh Grocer, including the famed, made-from-scratch sweet potato pie.
Another highlight is a beer garden with extensive craft beer options
and various wine selections that are available for consumption in either
the store’s indoor and outdoor cafes, or at home.
Trial and error has factored heavily into Brown’s Super Stores’ evolving
retail foodservice strategy, which he emphasizes, cannot be approached
with a “one-size-fits-all” mentality.
“Our stores are in diverse areas – some are in urban locations and
others are in the suburbs – and homeruns in one store does not make
for a homerun in another,” explains Jeff Brown, president/CEO of
Brown’s Super Stores, which consists of 11 Philadelphia-area ShopRite
supermarkets and two Fresh Grocers.
Aside from rotisserie chicken – which is universally popular in all of
Brown’s stores – menu options must be fine-tuned to the tastes and
preferences of consumers on a location-by-location basis. For example,
Brown cites a wildly popular fire-grilled chicken – which is bathed in a
special marinade for 24-hours and cooked directly on the sales floor –
that’s become the top signature item in the Monument Road store.
“It’s a fantastic product, and our urban customers love it. But our
suburban customers have no interest.” Be it the $1 higher price tag or
a general indifference to try something new is beside the point, notes
Brown, who says what’s most important is to select signature items
specifically for the local audience.
Another key to Brown’s Super Stores’ success with retail foodservice
is giving it a unique brand that is different from the overall store.
“The branding of your foodservice offerings needs to be somewhat
differentiated than your overall store,” in order to help give it its own
personality that reflects its offerings. “Our stores’ overall brand generally
equates with price and variety and value, which are not necessarily the
— Meg Major