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ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets Inc. here plans to open a 20,000-square-foot concept grocery store on the ground floor of the Ninth Street garage at 9th and Olive early next year. The family-held chain has hired a professional design firm to develop the urban concept store, which is reported to cost in excess of $6 million.
A Schnucks spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the plan for the new store, which has been the subject of considerable speculation in the local market. However, local observers said the new urban Schnucks is expected be more than three times larger than the existing City Grocers, a 6,500-square-foot market located across the street at 10th and Olive Streets.
Developer Craig Heller announced plans in 2006 to more the double the size of his City Grocers store and move the expanded store across the street to the ground floor of the Syndicate building at 915 Olive St., which his company, LoftWorks, and Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates are redeveloping into 102 condos and 70 apartments. City Grocers opened in 2004 and is currently the only grocery store in downtown St. Louis.
Another new competitor is also slated to open in downtown St. Louis next year when developer Gilded Age opens a 35,000-square-foot grocery store on property across the street from its Georgian condominium project that is located on the western edge of the Lafayette Square neighborhood, just south of downtown.
In other news, Schnucks is also expanding its Schnucks Express fuel center lineup by acquiring two existing Mid-South convenience stores formerly operated as Fill `n Stations.
Schnucks Mid-South division manager John O'Donnell said the move represents a strategic expansion for the company. "The Schnucks Express fuel centers will enable us to enhance our convenience offerings and provide additional value to our customers on both the fuel and grocery sides," said O'Donnell. "These stations will help to round out our overall one-stop shopping experience for customers."
The deal was finalized last week, with the c-stores converted and fully equipped to accept Schnucks coupons and special offers.
When Schnucks entered the Mid-South market in 2002, the company acquired 12 Seessel's stores and five convenience and fuels centers from Albertsons. In 2004, Schnucks built two new stores (Collierville and Stonebridge) and a replacement store (Germantown).
Schnuck Markets, Inc. operates 101 stores (including five Logli stores) and 98 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee and Mississippi.