New Kroger Opens in Weinland Park
The long awaited grand opening of the new Short North Kroger located at 1350 North High Street takes place today at 9am. The new store, located in the Weinland Park neighborhood, features a wide variety of new modern grocery amenities. We spoke yesterday with Beth Wilkin, Advertising Manager at Kroger to find out more.
Q: The new Kroger has been a topic discussed on Columbus Underground for around four years since it was first announced. What was the timeline of the project over those four years, and why did it seem to take so long?
A: This new Short North Kroger location has been in the planning stages for quite a while, mainly because we wanted to make sure we had the store area residents were looking for. We met with area residents to ask them what they wanted in a grocery shopping experience, and took the time necessary to incorporate their suggestions into this location. We also worked extensively with the city and the University Area Review Board to create the plan and design for this location, our first Central Ohio area Kroger store with the streetscape concept.
Q: The new store is being viewed by many as a large development anchor both for the Weinland Park neighborhood as well as being a large step in “closing the gap” between the University District and The Short North. What is Kroger doing specifically to assist in those neighborhood revitalization efforts?
A: Kroger is committed to being a good community partner of the Short North, University District, Weinland Park and surrounding areas. There are two events planned for the weekends immediately after our opening on July 26th.
We will host a Locally Grown Event on Saturday, July 30, featuring high quality fruits, vegetables and other products grown by local farmers. The event, which will include free sampling, will begin at noon and continue through 2 p.m., with the first 50 shoppers attending presented a free reusable bag filled with locally grown produce.
Keeping with the new store’s commitment to be as family friendly as possible, the store will hold a Kids Fair on Saturday, August 6, from 9 a.m. until noon. Kids will color reusable bags, play games, have their faces painted and enjoy free refreshments. In addition 10% of the stores sales this day will be donated to Weinland Park Elementary School.
In addition, a back to college event is being planned for mid-September when OSU students return for fall classes.
Q: Who is the target market for this new store when looking at the mix of neighborhoods, students and residents in the area?
A: The 59,302-square-foot Kroger store was designed and constructed to meet the specific needs of residents within the Short North, Weinland Park and South Campus communities, with customers from these areas providing input during focus groups. Throughout the sessions, customers named convenience as a top priority, followed by fresh produce and floral, an environmentally friendly store and organics.
Q: What type of in-store amenities will be available that didn’t exist before?
A: Customers will find many new amenities, including service meat, seafood and lobster, a service deli and bakery, sushi, salad bar, self-service hot bar, sandwich station, bulk natural foods and service floral shop. A bistro located in the deli is open for sandwiches, salads and snacks. This store will also accept BuckID as a convenience for Ohio State students and will offer free Wi-Fi.
Q: The new liquor store in the building has been open for a few weeks already. Can you tell us why it was decided to be accessible from the outside of the store, facing High Street instead of internal?
A: The adjacent liquor store is accessible from North High Street only and hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday and carries a wide selection of beer, wine, spirits and mixers for every occasion. The liquor license became available to Kroger very late in the planning process, after the site plans had been completed and approved, therefore the High Street entrance is the only access to the liquor store.
Q: Will this new Kroger store have any emphasis on local Ohio foods?
A: Locally grown produce will be featured in the produce department at opening and through the balance of the summer as supply lasts. Ohio produced foods are located throughout the store in many areas. We’re partnering with locally companies like Bob Evans, Park Farms Chicken and Velvet Ice Cream for our Locally Grown Event on August 6th.
Q: Are the longer-term plans for development at the northwest corner of the lot for additional retail development still moving forward, and if so, what is the timeline for that phase?
A: The additional retail area is still planned for the northwest corner of the lot and development is ongoing. At this time we do not have a completion date or timeline available.
Q: Tell us a bit about the opening day celebrations for the new store.
A: The new Short North Kroger store will open its doors to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Tuesday, July 26. Local dignitaries will officially launch the new facility at 9 a.m., with the customer open house kicking off at 4 p.m. and continuing through 6 p.m. Open house festivities will offer fun for the entire family, including face painting and balloon sculpting to entertain the children. Many store departments will feature free food sampling. The celebration will continue the following day, July 27th, with the first 300 customers presented a free reusable bag and coupon book for free groceries, valued at approximately $40.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: The new Short North Kroger is located at 1350 North High Street, with store hours 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. We want to invite everyone in to check out the new store and meet the new store team at their all new Short North Kroger. We promise them a unique shopping experience that they will not find anywhere else.
Additional photos from the new store can be found below: