Kroger to Shut Main & Vine

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Kroger to Shut Main & Vine

By Jim Dudlicek - 12/04/2017

Main & Vine, Kroger’s experimental fresh-centric grocery banner designed to be a testbed for new retailing ideas and originally thought by some observers to be the first of a new national chain, apparently has served its purpose.

Cincinnati-based Kroger announced late last week that the store in Gig Harbor, Wash., near Seattle, will close in early January.

No reason was given for the closure, but its proximity to a new store opening soon under Kroger’s Fred Meyer banner may be one indication.

“Main & Vine was a unique venture for Kroger from the onset when it opened in February 2016,” Kristal Howard, Kroger’s head of corporate communications and media relations, told PG. “From the Main & Vine experience, we have learned many things about some of the best ways to provide quality, fresh and new foods to our customers. Our family of companies has already started to incorporate some of these features and unique offerings in other stores across the country, including the new Fred Meyer store opening next month in Gig Harbor.”

Kroger is working with Main & Vine’s 80 associates to help place them in positions at area Fred Meyer and QFC stores. Main & Vine is expected to remain open for customers until its closing on or about Jan. 9.

The location had formerly been a QFC store, many of whose employees stayed on to work at Main & Vine.

“Where fresh food comes first and flavor brings people together” is how Kroger described Main & Vine on its Facebook page launched in December 2015. The store focused on fresh produce, food preparation advice, high-end fresh prepared foods and “fresh, affordable local” products.

Appearing to share some best practices with the Chicago-area Mariano’s Fresh Market chain, which Kroger acquired through its merger with Milwaukee-based Roundy’s, Main & Vine was thought by some analysts to be the first store in what could have grown into a new nationwide chain of grocery stores.

Since launching Main & Vine, Kroger entered into a strategic partnership with Boulder, Colo.-based specialty grocery chain Lucky’s Markets and has invested in growing that brand.

Not long after news of the store’s closure spread, an online petition was created to save Main & Vine, according to The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune.