The trends in supermarkets seems to be going toward smaller stores. According to Supermarket News, Neil Stern at McMillan Doolittle in Chicago believe 2014 will continue to see significant growth in the small format stores, similar to that of Sprouts. Sprouts is a farmer’s market style store headquartered in Arizona with stores in 9 states, primarily in the west and south west.
Other companies experiencing growth of the small fresh formats are Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Fresh Thyme. Walmart has introduced new smaller stores like WalMart Express and WalMart to Go. The growth in these types of stores comes from changing trends in the way consumers shop. According to Laurie Demeritt , CEO of The Hartman Group, The next generation of shoppers, the Millennials, are shopping outside their primary stores for specialty items like cheeses, meats and produce. Generation Y is also shopping at specialty stores much more frequently than their Boomer counterparts. Both generations shop on average at 9 different stores compared to 6 stores by the older generations.
In our own Michiana market we have seen the entry of Whole Foods, which from a casual observer appears to be doing very well after its first year. We have also seen small start-ups like the Purple Porch in South Bend, Farmers Market in Granger and organic food stores in Mishawaka and Granger. The Martin’s Supermarkets have updated many of their stores with the Side Door Deli as well as assortment of organic and international food choices. Is the time right for Trader Joes or another fresh small format grocer to enter our market? Or should a local grocer like Martin’s introduce a fresh concept store at the newly designed intersection of Eddy St and SR 23 south of Eddy St Commons?