It took almost a month to load in all of the merchandise at the new super-sized Kroger, which opened this week at Staples Mill and Hungary Spring roads. About 425 people got full- or part-time jobs there, and some local foods vendors got a big new client.
A nod to the eat- and shop-local movements includes such products as Blanchard's Coffee, Carytown Teas, Sun Seasoned raw foods kale chips, Naokeidoe Creations essential oil soaps, Dickie's Seafood and plants from Virginia Beach's White's Nursery. More space for natural and organic foods and bulk grains and nuts shows the mainstream acceptance of what once was the province of health-food stores.
Of note is the store's affiliation with Murray's Cheese, a New York City-based business with 175 varieties on sale here, topping out at $30 a pound for the Pleasant Ridge reserve, an artisanal Wisconsin cow's cheese. Customers can expect frequent product demos and tastings, including wines from the expansive section overseen by wine consultant Rob Czyzewski, who promises a local wine-store experience with advice, a designated shelf for customer favorites, and a range of prices for imports and domestics.
There's a Starbucks kiosk, a separate Fred Meyer Jewelers with a full array of diamonds, a drive-through pharmacy, a nonemergency clinic staffed by a nurse, 18 fuel pumps, premium sushi in party-tray sizes, sandwiches made to order, brand-name clothing and housewares such as dishes and furniture.