Kroger Poised to Launch Culinary-focused Concept Store

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Kroger Poised to Launch Culinary-focused Concept Store

By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ - 12/22/2015

“Where fresh food comes first and flavor brings people together” – that’s how The Kroger Co. is billing its latest concept store, Main & Vine, slated to open early next year in the Seattle area.

In a remodeled former Quality Food Center store in Gig Harbor, Wash., Main & Vine will focus on fresh produce, food preparation advice and high-end fresh prepared foods. A Facebook page for the new banner, online since Dec. 15, invites shoppers to “discover local artisans, fresh food and delectable culinary experiences with us.”

Healthy, affordable and fun

While Kroger officials are saying little about the coming launch, Main & Vine’s website – dominated by brightly colored beauty shots of fresh food – promises a market “where eating is healthy, affordable and fun.”

Among the offerings on tap, according to the Main & Vine website: fresh, affordable local produce and meat; a wide selection of local beer and wine; and “unique culinary experiences and taste adventures, with tasty meals made fresh in our kitchen.”

Cincinnati-based Kroger (its headquarters is on Vine Street there) already operates supermarkets in the Seattle area under the Quality Food Center (QFC) and Fred Meyer banners.

The Main & Vine concept looks like it could share best practices with the Chicago-area Mariano’s Fresh Market chain, which Kroger now owns as part of its recent merger with Milwaukee-based Roundy’s. The popular and profitable Mariano’s has gained a devoted following since its launch five years ago, with its vast offerings of fresh produce, gourmet-quality prepared foods and culinary-centric presentation.