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    Kroger Poised to Launch Culinary-focused Concept Store

    Seattle-area Main & Vine to stress fresh produce, high-end prepared foods

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    “Where fresh food comes first and flavor brings people together” – that’s how The Kroger Co. is billing its latest concept store, Main & Vine, slated to open early next year in the Seattle area.

    In a remodeled former Quality Food Center store in Gig Harbor, Wash., Main & Vine will focus on fresh produce, food preparation advice and high-end fresh prepared foods. A Facebook page for the new banner, online since Dec. 15, invites shoppers to “discover local artisans, fresh food and delectable culinary experiences with us.”

    Healthy, affordable and fun

    While Kroger officials are saying little about the coming launch, Main & Vine’s website – dominated by brightly colored beauty shots of fresh food – promises a market “where eating is healthy, affordable and fun.”

    Among the offerings on tap, according to the Main & Vine website: fresh, affordable local produce and meat; a wide selection of local beer and wine; and “unique culinary experiences and taste adventures, with tasty meals made fresh in our kitchen.”

    Cincinnati-based Kroger (its headquarters is on Vine Street there) already operates supermarkets in the Seattle area under the Quality Food Center (QFC) and Fred Meyer banners.

    The Main & Vine concept looks like it could share best practices with the Chicago-area Mariano’s Fresh Market chain, which Kroger now owns as part of its recent merger with Milwaukee-based Roundy’s. The popular and profitable Mariano’s has gained a devoted following since its launch five years ago, with its vast offerings of fresh produce, gourmet-quality prepared foods and culinary-centric presentation.

     

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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