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Cosmopolitan Marketplace officially opened its doors on July 10 after three years of planning in Aurora, Ill., a far west suburb of Chicago. The store’s décor sets it apart and is unlike any other supermarket this Progressive Grocer Independent editor has ever seen. The store is billed as “Like Nothing You’ve Ever Experienced,” and it delivers. When asked about customer response to the store, Grocery Store Director Matthew Bank said it has been “shock and awe. Exactly what we wanted.”
The black interior is lit with neon stripes on the walls and glittering crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The 64,000-square-foot selling area features quartz and chrome center store shelves that were cut and assembled on premise with almost all merchandise at eye-level.
For the store’s soft opening earlier this spring, the store, which is owned by Merletto Inc., brought in 40 percent of the merchandise and relied on customer feedback to stock the remaining 60 percent of products. More organic and gluten-free items were sourced than originally planned due to the feedback, according to Bank.
Cosmopolitan Marketplace also features a 60,000-square-foot USDA-approved meat processing facility, so all meat is prepared on premise with the store processing its own beef bacon, hot dogs and other specialties. The 30,000-square-foot bakery makes all products from scratch and offers a full line of products from cakes to breads. The store also features a Churassco (Brazilian) Grill and Restaurant with a full bar and leather banquette seating.
Private label, Dell'Arte Features Prominently
The store’s merchandise extends beyond grocery into housewares, with Cosmopolitan’s private label, Dell’Arte, featured prominently. The product mix runs more along the lines of a club store but does not require membership. To celebrate the store’s opening, sales tax on all purchases were waived, with the store picking up the tab.
Cosmopolitan Marketplace also is the debut of the ECRS Raptor checkout system. The lanes must still be staffed, but customers load their groceries onto a conveyor belt and a 360-degree scanner to capture the barcode.
The store in Aurora is just the first of many. The company plans six to eight stores stretching eastward into Chicago.