Ukrop’s buyer keeps coffee roaster counting beans

The sale of Ukrop’s has brought a lot of changes to Richmond area businesses.

Girl Scout cookies won’t be for sale outside the store, and Supervalu recently announced it was cutting 80 jobs because the new owner is using different suppliers.

But for at least one local business, it’s pretty much business as usual when it comes to its relationship with the grocery chain.

Blanchard’s Coffee, located on Forest Hill Avenue near Westover Hills Boulevard, has been roasting and packaging coffee and selling it at Ukrop’s under the Joe’s Market label for the past few years. When Giant-Carlisle bought Ukrop’s, the local coffee roaster worried they would soon lose their biggest customer. The company had been supplying about 1,300 pounds of coffee a month to 18 stores, including the Joe’s Market on Libbie Avenue.

“We didn’t really know what was going to happen with the Martin’s transition,” said Joe O’Halloran, who is partners with David Blanchard, the founder of the company.

“All agreements were up in the air.”

Once the sale happened and it was clear Joe’s Market was not part of the sale, he said, they changed the labels over to represent their own brand. While waiting in the dark, O’Halloran said they had conversation with local purchasing agents. Then they got a call from Martin’s headquarters in Pennsylvania requesting a meeting.

About two weeks ago they drove to Carlisle, Pa., to meet with the purchasing agents in charge of the coffee for the Martin brand of grocery stores.

“They had heard of us and knew we had a good history and so they decided they are going to keep us on board,” O’Halloran said.

Martin’s will be ordering a little less; Blanchard’s coffee will take up six slots of shelf space, down from 10. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“The prices will be a little lower, and we think sales will actually increase even though we have a little bit less space,” O’Halloran said.

The coffee sells for $7.99 for a 12 ounce bag. It can also be bought at Ellwood Thompson’s and the new Libbie Market (what used to be called Joe’s Market).

O’Halloran said that if all goes well the Blanchard’s brand might expand beyond the former Ukrop’s stores to other Martin’s locations in the region.

Al Harris covers retail for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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jdTedMartha BairdLocal firms hired to help Ukrop’s morph into Martin’s : Richmond BizSenseBeth Smith Recent comment authors
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Cathy Englishman
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Cathy Englishman

Blanchard’s is great coffee. And – have you been to their coffee shop over on Forest Hill in the old Kelly’s Dept store building across from Westover Hills elementary? It’s not like any other coffee shop you’ve been to. And – they roast the coffee right there!
Good going Dave and Kelly!

Andrew Moore
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Andrew Moore

Congratulations! I had been wondering about the fate of Blanchard’s. It’s great to see a solid connection to a local brand maintained in the Martinization of Ukrops. Well done, David & Kelly.

Ren Schmidt
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Ren Schmidt

Glad to hear it, their coffee is delicious, especially the Tanzanian Peaberry.

AGelem
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AGelem

Good Coffee from good people.

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[…] new just some more press from the blog Richmond BizSense.com on the fact that Blanchard’s will be in Martin’s after the Ukropocalypse. But for at […]

Craig Dodson
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Blanchard’s supplies coffee for our non-profit organization, Richmond Pro Cycling. Hands down, it’s the best coffee in Richmond, and from t-h-e nicest folks. I’m really happy to hear that they’re staying on the shelves post-buy out. A great shot of news for my Monday…..congrats!

JPG
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JPG

Great news

Beth Smith
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Beth Smith

Blanchard’s Coffee is wonderful. I discovered it at the St. Stephen’s Farmers Market last spring. I’m so glad to hear Martin’s will carry it.

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[…] Ukrop’s buyer keeps coffee roaster counting beans […]

Martha Baird
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Martha Baird

I need the Ukrops Macademia Nut Coffee that no one seems to know who Ukrops got this from.

We drank this flavored coffee for 15 years. No other Macademia Nut coffee takes as well.

Please help.

Ted
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Martha,

You can find ir here: http://www.rogersfamilyco.com

jd
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jd

Blanchard’s coffee is the best in Richmond! And they are great neighbors in Westover Hills; I just wish they had a better storefront and lounge. There’s plenty of space on Forest Hill, that would be a great place for a coffee shop (Hint Hint!)