It had been more than a decade since Hannaford Supermarkets introduced a new prototype concept when officials gathered in 2014 to begin plotting the retailer’s next generation of stores. Although the Scarborough, Maine- based regional retailer had estab- lished leadership in fresh food quality and everyday low pricing well ahead
of industry trends, internal research revealed
consumer shopping and eating habits had
also changed. Organic and natural products
had gone mainstream; shoppers increasingly valued local food; and an overarching
demand for convenience was prompting people to look for unique and ready-to-eat foods,
and shop from their homes more often. An
explosion in social media in the meantime
imparted a new dynamic onto gathering
places such as retail stores, requiring them
to be welcoming, fun and aware.
Hannaford’s plan to address these trends—
an initiative known internally as Project
2020—came to a moment of fruition in June
2016, when Hannaford debuted a new concept store in Bedford, N.H. Elements and
decor from the Bedford store have since
informed the look and feel of additional new
Hannaford stores while providing a blueprint
for renovations to the retailer’s existing fleet.
Though elements of the 2020 prototype
were tested in various Hannaford locations,
the company selected Bedford to bring them
together, in part because the building’s
68,000-square-foot space and high ceilings
provided an ideal blank canvas, according
to Tom Hencken, VP and director of design
for api(+), the Tampa, Fla.-based multidisciplinary design firm that prevailed in a competition to lead the new store’s design.
Hannaford typically doesn’t build stores
this big; the Bedford unit was acquired from
then-rival Stop & Shop, which had exited
the Bedford market amid intense competition. Ironically, Hannaford and Stop & Shop
would become sister chains only a month
after Hannaford opened in Bedford when
their respective parent companies, Delhaize
and Ahold, merged.
Central to the store’s presentation is a
massive bank of prepared-food stations
providing shoppers access to made-to-order
foods such as burritos, stir-fry, pizza, gourmet grilled cheese, custom salads and sandwiches, and other offerings that shoppers
can take out or enjoy in an adjoining Cafe.
Organized by custom overhead graphics and
big menu boards, and introducing a range
of new items previously unavailable at Hannaford, shoppers can’t miss the Hannaford
“You’re introduced to it as you walk in the
main entry,” Hencken says. “Then you see it
again as you’re shopping. Then, as you finish
your shopping, you have to kind of walk by it.
So it’s got great exposure within the store.”
While previous Hannaford prototypes
used live trees in the produce section to pro-
vide ambiance and an emphasis on fresh-
ness, the new unit replaced them with over-
hanging umbrellas featuring a whimsical
design intended to recall the chain’s heritage
as a produce stand and also improve flow,
company officials said. A peninsula provid-
ing a stage for in-store produce preparation
by “prodistas” was another new addition.
“Typically, the produce prep area is
tucked away behind a wall someplace. We
HANNAFORD SUPERMARKET & PHARMAC Y
7 Kilton Road, Bedford, NH 03110
GRAND OPENING June 18, 2016
SIZE 68,000 square feet EMPLOYEES 175
such as cheese
provide a whimsical,
“vibrant but relaxed”
vibe, designers say.
The new design uproots the live trees
that previously provided the produce
department with ambience but interfered
with flow; instead, shoppers see a colorful
overhead umbrella harkening back to
Hannaford’s roots as a produce stand.