The 29th Lunds & Byerlys store recently opened in the Minneapolis suburb of Apple Valley.
Perhaps it’s fitting the latest Lunds & Byerlys store has been built on the site of a sprawling gravel mine that is being developed into parcels of businesses and homes. After all, discovery is at the core of the shopping experience here, as consumers mine the sleek aisles, shelves and cases for products that meet their taste and needs.
The approximately 45,000-square-foot store at 15550 English Avenue in the town of Apple Valley southeast of Minneapolis opened on Sept. 14 and has drawn shoppers from throughout the area who are happy to have a Lunds & Byerlys closer to their home or workplace or whose interest has been piqued by the regional retailer.
It’s been a homecoming of sorts for General Manager Brian Miller, who graduated from the local high school and has lived in surrounding communities for many years. “I raised my hand right away,” he said of the time he learned that the grocer was building a store in that part of the Twin Cities. His high school basketball coach, former teacher and family friends and neighbors were among the many customers who walked in the door during the first week of operation.
The feedback since the grand opening has been strong, according to Miller. Indeed, during a store tour with Progressive Grocer (see photo gallery below), a customer approached Miller to enthusiastically commend the grocer on the location.
Because this was a ground-up project, the store includes new features and amenities. The grocer’s emphasis on sustainability, for example, is evident throughout the store, from the eco-friendly packaging at the hot bar to strategically positioned recycling stations to efficient CO2 refrigeration systems and LED lighting.
Sustainability was likewise a catalyst for a new feature in the produce section. Dry misting technology keeps produce fresh through tiny drops of water that create a thin layer of fog. “This is the first store we have this in, and I’m not aware of any other stores in the metro area that have that. I was told that it uses 90% less water than traditional misting systems and it creates a very moist environment for our fresh greens and some of our other produce,” Miller said.
Dry misting technology keeps produce fresh through tiny drops of water that create a thin layer of fog.
Given the fact that Lunds & Byerlys has built a reputation over the years for an elevated shopping experience, this store has noteworthy attractions. One of the most buzzed-about parts of the latest Apple Valley store is an indoor mushroom habitat. The eye-catching case was created with partner supplier R&R Cultivation and features several mushroom plants that grow rather rapidly, including shiitake, oyster and black pearl varieties, and a white pearl version grown exclusively for Lunds & Byerlys.
Because shopper discoveries span different categories and purchase drivers, another early go-to spot in the store is the bakery case, where brightly-colored square doughnuts command attention. Lunds and Byerlys recently introduced this line of Decked Out Donuts, which include flavors like Lemon Meringue, Blueberry and Fruity Cereal.
Meanwhile, as shoppers seek convenient yet premium meal solutions, the grocer has created a destination section with a slew of offerings. The L&B Kitchen is a hallmark of the Apple Valley store, with prepared foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner dayparts that include a build-your-own taco bar, build-your-own wok bar, fresh sushi station, salad bar and hot food bar. The foods can be taken home or enjoyed in an adjacent two-level seating area dubbed “The Mezz.”
Near the prepared foods section, a long case under the name “Easy Eats” is filled with grab-and-go offerings for different occasions, palates and price points. “It was a way to really break down, ‘How do we put everything in a convenient place for our customers?’ They are looking for something based on their need state, whether they want heat- and-go or grab-and-eat,” explained Aaron Sorenson, senior communications manager for Lunds & Byerlys, who pointed to the plethora of packaged meals and sides. “Some of these items are meat and seafood products, some are produce products and some are deli products, but it's all here.”
Customers can pick up beverages during their shopping jaunt, too. An in-store Caribou Coffee has a full coffee menu. The Mezz area also has a row of eight self-service taps, where customers with a purchased wristband can fill up glasses with locally-brewed beers.
In addition to a wide-ranging assortment across the fresh perimeter and center store, Lunds & Byerlys provides other assistance for its shoppers. The company recently hired a “FoodE” expert who can answer food-related questions, create menu ideas and provide tips and recipes. “That’s another thing that’s quite unique to us in this market. We have one person here dedicated to just culinary, showcasing products and just being that resource for customers,” Sorenson said.
Lunds & Byerlys in Apple Valley is open Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Family-owned Lunds & Byerlys operates 28 other locations throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding region.
Lunds & Byerlys, Apple Valley, Minn., Photo Gallery
A build-your-own taco bar is part of the L&B Kitchen prepared food area at the Apple Valley Lunds & Byerlys.
Lunds & Byerlys takes pride in its cheese section, with products curated by the grocer's cheese expert.
Storytelling is a part of the merchandising at the Apple Valley store, with details about suppliers featured in signage.
The Mezz is a two-tiered seating area inside the new Lunds & Byerlys, which also includes an outdoor patio for the warmer months.
Shoppers can buy wristbands and pour ounces of locally-brewed beer from tappers in the seating area.
Lunds & Byerlys teamed up with R&R Cultivation to create a mushroom habitat, growing varieties for the produce section.