Local Assortments, Decentralized Sourcing Mark New Food Emporium Format

NEW YORK - A&P's The Food Emporium next week November 17 will unveil the latest iteration of its Fine Foods Concept format, at the new landmark BridgeMarket store under the 59th Street bridge on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

"It's an upscale urban brand," said Hans Heer, s.v.p. of A&P and g.m. of The Food Emporium, and the architect of the new concept during a press briefing yesterday. "We don't want to copy Dean & DeLuca, we don't want to copy Whole Foods Market. It's something special, something unique."
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Heer is well suited to the project. His experience includes a management stint at Harrod's in London, where he was in charge of Food Halls Knightsbridge and responsible for sourcing unique premium food products from export markets throughout Asia and Europe.

Central to the new Food Emporium concept is the effort to tailor each store's assortment to the local market, while still offering the basic necessities for shoppers' everyday needs.

"That's where we differ from specialty food stores," said Heer. "Consumers visit specialty stores for specific items, and only visit them once a week. They shop us much more frequently, so we need to provide them with the products they need on a daily basis, such as deodorant, bandages, and such. The focus is on food, but with enough essentials to still be a neighborhood market."

Heer said buyers for such a retail concept should be in the trenches, seeing on a daily basis the markets they serve. Because of this, Food Emporium next month will move its offices to 39th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, from A&P's headquarters in Montvale, N.J.

"We'll be operating a little independently from A&P corporate," he said. "This will give us the ability to source those items we need for each specific market."

Signature offerings planned for the BridgeMarket store include:

Charcuterie showcasing specialty meat items that are selected, flavored, and cured by traditional processes, and include items such as Vermont hams and bacons, Northern Italian sausages, and salami from San Francisco.

Prime fresh meats such as U.S. Prime beef and premium gold Angus natural beef, vegetable-fed American Wagyu Beef, dry-aged Wagyu, and 100 percent purebred Berkshire pork with no hormones or other additives.

Fresh seafood including Kona Kampachi yellowfin tuna, Alaskan Chinook salmon, and Black Pearl organic salmon.

Smoked fish, pate, and foie gras available by the slice or the pound.

A cheese shop with hand-crafted, artisan, farmstead, local, raw milk, high altitude and organic varieties from U.S. and European producers.

Fresh pasta offerings that include signature ravioli with special fillings developed by a local pasta maker that supplies many three- and four-star restaurants.

Desserts that include baked specialties and imported chocolates.

The BridgeMarket store will also feature merchandising displays and fixtures from Europe, tables for cross-merchandising complementary products, and an international section in the center of the store with food from around the world, which will host regular sampling events.

Food Emporium will roll out the new concept out to all 18 of its stores in New York over the next three years. For 2007, the chain plans about six redesigns.

A&P operates 405 stores in nine states and the District of Columbia, under the banners of A&P, Waldbaum's, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, Farmer Jack, Sav-A-Center, and Food Basics.
-- Joseph Tarnowski
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