Kroger Merges with Murray’s Cheese
Partners on store-within-a-store concepts since 2008, The Kroger Co. has merged with specialty retailer Murray's Cheese and has acquired its New York flagship store.
While Kroger did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, New York real estate website TheRealDeal.com reported that the Cincinnati-based grocer bought three Greenwich Village retail condominium units that house the Murray’s home base for $20.6 million. The five-story, 22,000-square-foot building is home to Murray’s Cheese as well as bakery Amy’s Bread.
“For cheese lovers and connoisseurs, it doesn’t get more authentic than Murray’s,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Our customers are excited to buy the unique offerings of Murray’s Cheese right in our stores, and we’re excited to ensure this iconic cheese shop will remain a part of the Kroger family for many years to come.”
While Kroger has no stores in New York among the 2,700-plus locations it operates under several regional banners across the U.S, the nation’s largest traditional grocer has partnered with Murray’s since 2008 to put branded cheese counters in its supermarkets, opening its 350th location late last year.
“When the Kroger and Murray’s relationship started in 2008, we wanted to figure out how to bring the finest cheese and charcuterie to more people,” said Daniel Hammer, Kroger’s VP of culinary development and deli/bakery merchandising. “Today, we have more than 350 Murray’s Cheese shops in Kroger locations from coast to coast – and that is thanks to the incredible passion and commitment of the team at Murray’s to empower associates to share their love of cheese with customers. We look forward to learning from the very talented team at Murray’s and working together to grow the business and build the iconic Murray’s brand.”
Murray’s former owner and president, Rob Kaufelt, will remain affiliated with the business as a strategic adviser. Nick Tranchina will continue to lead the Murray’s Cheese team in New York and will report to Daniel Hammer at Kroger.
“Rob’s dedication to his craft has placed Murray’s on the map among the culinary elite while also making specialty cheese more accessible to mainstream consumers,” McMullen said. “We look forward to Rob’s continued influence on the business, helping to tell the Murray’s Cheese story and building its brand.”
Opened in 1940, Murray’s has been delivering cheeses, charcuterie and specialty food items to New Yorkers, chefs and cheese lovers nationwide through a robust online business. Since the two companies partnered almost a decade ago, Murray’s has offered the same fine foods and cheese expertise to the Kroger family of stores.
“It has been my honor and privilege to work with so many tremendous, talented people over the course of my 45-year career in food retail, especially the last 25 years at Murray’s here in New York City,” Kaufelt said. “When I set out on this journey, my goal was simply to run the best cheese shop in Greenwich Village. I’m proud that we’ve been able to maintain the spirit and service of a mom-and-pop neighborhood shop amidst our growth into the national market. I am pleased to pass the torch to our able staff, who will carry Murray’s into the future.”
Murray’s moved its flagship store to its current location in 2004 from a smaller location across the street, with the bakery leasing space there that same year, TheRealDeal.com reported. Murray's completed a major renovation of the store in 2014.