Help us grade Martin’s

How is Martin’s doing so far?

We’d like to hear from BizSense Nation on how you think Martin’s is faring.

It seems to us that Martin’s is never quite as crowded as Ukrop’s was and that the employees don’t seem as, well, Ukropian, although they still bring your groceries out.

Share your insights in the comments section below.

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Bob Jenkins
Bob Jenkins
11 years ago

I think they are doing well. I like them being open on Sundays. I can’t STAND there new self-checkout machines! Those things are horrible! Every little tiny error must be approved by an employee. There are many times I’ve had to wait a few minutes before an employee allowed me to conintue. Those things are suppose to be quick, not slow.

kamen
kamen
11 years ago

Martin’s feels like Ukrop’s (Hot foods and bakery) and Food Lion (Every item has a “special” tag) smashed together. I remember them mentioning that they will have more produce selection.. which they don’t. I think it’s actually worse. I am going to go with “lackluster”.

Truth be told, since I live close enough to the new Kroger in Short Pump, that’s the new grocery destination. They have a really good produce section, respectable health food section, and competitive prices on everything else.

Keith West
Keith West
11 years ago

Having explored a couple of Martin’s, it’s my unscientic opinion that they’re not doing well. On a recent Sat on Cary St there was literally no one at the checkout while the Kroger across the street was busy.

I think the purchase was bungled. The Ukrops should have been kept on longer along with the name. Loyalty was a big part of what the stores were about and all of that was wasted. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the family buy the stores back in a couple of years at a steep discount.

Michael
Michael
11 years ago

I abandoned Ukrop’s several years ago as their level of service declined, they introduced inferior store brands and prices continued to be out of line with other readily accessible competitors. It was apparent Ukrop’s had lost it when the cashier and bagger chatted about their weekend plans while not even making eye contact and bagging the groceries incorrectly (you don’t put bread in with frozen foods). I’ve made several visits to different Martin’s locations and have always left without purchasing anything. The feel of the stores is sort of lifeless. I never got used to the Ukrop’s employees slowly becoming… Read more »

Kroger Better
Kroger Better
11 years ago

I think they are just blah. Why go there and pay more when it is just a Food Lion that takes you grocerys to your car?
That place is also in bad need of a good graphic artist. Have you seen their customer card?
Not to mention those awful shirts and “low price” tags. Yuck!!!!
Store band items suck…..
Kroger (some of them) are much better all the way around.

Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson
11 years ago

I don’t understand what is going on with the Martin’s in Richmond. When I lived in Harrisonburg we had one there that was fantastic, and much better than UKrop’s in every way. When I heard Martin’s was buying all of the UKrop’s I was actually happy about it based on my experiences in Harrisonburg. The Richmond stores are completely different. The product selection at the Carytown location is awful and the Brook Road store has terrible produce. If the company doesn’t do something soon, Kroger and Food Lion are going to run them out of this town.

Lara
Lara
11 years ago

I never shopped at Ukrops for their baked goods or prepared foods so the fact that Martin’s kept those items has no appeal for me. I find the store a step below the newly re-furbished Food Lion stores in the area. They aren’t even trying to compete for the Ukrops buyer. I have switched exclusively to Elwood Thompson and Kroger. Between them, I find everything that I need and want without having to put up with lime green shirts and zillions of “special” flags. Very tacky.

Terrible Survey
Terrible Survey
11 years ago

This has to be one of the worst ways to start a survey I have ever seen. It seems obvious you were trying to determine the response with the way you asked the question, in essence saying, “Tell us what you think about Martin’s, we think they’re not as good as Ukrop’s.” If this was a trial you would be busted for leading the witness. The good news is, this is just a simple survey, the results of which will actually have no meaning what-so-ever.

peerue
peerue
11 years ago

I like that Martins is open on Sundays, however, they have a VERY SMALL selection of products, very little variety, can never get hard-to-find items like you can at Kroger, Walmart, and Ukrops.

Elaine Odell
Elaine Odell
11 years ago

At Martins in Carytown, we are missing a lot of items we used to get at Ukrops….forcing us to shop around at Kroger/Ellwood Thompsons to fill our basket.

Ilyse Johnson
Ilyse Johnson
11 years ago

I’m not happy with Martins. I feel sorry for the employees too – they seemed happier working for Ukrop’s. Plus, every the Fuel Perks program isn’t as good.

Cindy Wright
Cindy Wright
11 years ago

What a disaster. First of all, they have loyal Ukrops shoppers comparing them to Ukrops. The first PR don’t was committed when they asked the Girl Scouts not to sell cookies in front of the stores, a Ukrop tradition that was near and dear to everyone who has kids, like kids, Girl Scouts, etc. Then they put the beer and wine upfront and opened on Sunday. Another bad move if you wanted to retain the “loyal” Ukrops shoppers. The non loyals left Ukrops when the recession hit and smart Kroger was there with competitive prices and an increasingly impressive customer… Read more »

Ann Lisa Braun
Ann Lisa Braun
11 years ago

Thumbs way down. And the result of my own unscientific poll is the same. The selection of healthy choices is way down, and the generic choice is now unappealing to say the least.

Freddie Edwards
Freddie Edwards
11 years ago

I was always willing to pay a little more to support a hometown company. Ukrops did a lot for our community. I liked the people over the other big chains. They seemed to have pride in what they were a part of. Now it’s just not the same. The employees seem the same as all the others. (they have definitely lowered their standards) I have all three of the big stores near me and it’s a matter of what I need and who happens to be the closest. Good luck to Martin’s, but I don’t favor them over anybody else.

Jeff Sadler
Jeff Sadler
11 years ago

Interestingly, I used to go to the newer, larger Ukrop’s on Forest Hill even though it was further than the one at Stony Point, because it had a great selection of items, a bulk section, health food section and higher quality deli items. Once it became Martins the customer service became atrocious and they basically dropped every one of the specialty items I knew I could get there. However, I continue began going back to the small store at Stony Point. I find the prices are better than it was as Ukrop’s, the staff is the exact same people and… Read more »

Jason
Jason
11 years ago

Not impressed. We went to Ukrops because we had a pleasant experience 98% of the time and it was worth paying a little more than Kroger. Since becoming Martin’s, that is no longer the case. We tried Martin’s for a couple months. One Saturday morning we went when chicken breasts were on sale; couldn’t find so we asked and they said they must be out. Another time we went to buy tuna which was on sale. They had tuna but it was not marked at the sale price. We had to find a flyer and show the clerk that it… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
11 years ago

Not as crowded – positive
Open Sunday – positive
Lower Prices – positive
Sell Beer and Wine – positive
Not Ukropian – positive

Whats not to like?

Margaret
Margaret
11 years ago

I agree with what most have said. I would add that I absolutely abhor their signature green color. It literally makes me nauseous and, as weird as it sounds, keeps me out of the store.

Deborah Usry
Deborah Usry
11 years ago

While there were things about Ukrop’s that I didn’t appreciate, right now, I feel like a woman without a grocery store. Martin’s isn’t doing well. What happened to the old employees? What’s all this non-grocery “stuff” clogging up the aisles? The fish is better than Ukrop’s and the meat selection (at least at my store) is better, but I don’t believe they will make it. It may take a few years, but there isn’t much to really love.

Charles Batchelor
Charles Batchelor
11 years ago

It’s too early to make a final call. Martins continues to adjust and refine, but I think the comments made here are valid. Prices are, it needs to be noted, lower now. That is a good thing for many Richmond households. (I expect most posters here will be, like me, concerned about quality and service.) Martins seems aware of there are issues and making changes, some quietly. They’ve change their policy regarding IDs on checks and they don’t put the bright orange security stickers on unbagged items that say, “The customer did not steal this one.” Both good moves. I… Read more »

Food Lion Less Expensive
Food Lion Less Expensive
11 years ago

While it was still Ukrops, my wife and I did some experimenting in pricing between Ukrops and Food Lion. We ended up finding that Food Lion was significantly less expensive per trip to the supermarket.

When the switch to Martin’s happened, we again did the experiment and Food Lion turned out to be significantly less expensive per trip.

With the difference in price and what we are able to save per month (for a family of 4) by shopping at Food Lion, it just doesn’t make economic sense to shop at Martin’s when you’re on a budget.

Bill
Bill
11 years ago

I like that Martin’s kept the Ukrops prepared food department but that is the only thing I will go there for which is the same as when Ukrops owned them. While Maritns has better grocery prices than Ukrops, I still shop Kroger for my groceries and have not seen enough of a change at Martins for them to get my business. Hate the green shirts and the employees do seem to be somewhat disinterested but the Kroger employees are the same way. Kroger still has better prices and as someone else noted, Kroger and Food Lion will put them out… Read more »

Peter
Peter
11 years ago

NOT impressed. They’ve lost their ‘hometown’ feel. Convenient for beer & wine, but a shame they’re open on Sundays. They’ve done away with many products we like and used to buy. The selection and quality of meats is WAY down – the butcher said it’s the same, but I’ve shopped at the same store for 10 years and it’s not. Produce is not much better, but at least they do still carry local produce in season. Have requested some diff products with no luck (unlike Ukrops, where the mgr would call you to let you know they’d gotten it or… Read more »

Bo
Bo
11 years ago

Martin’s is clearly not as busy as Ukrop’s was and with the fact that prices are generally lower, I can’t see how they meeting are meeting financial expectations. It will be interesting to see what happens – will they be sold again (Harris Teeter)? As far as the stores themselves, with Ukrop’s you knew (in most cases) that the stores would be fresher, cleaner, friendlier and generally more pleasant and the store made food items of a higher quality than Kroger and Food Lion. For that, you knew you would pay a little higher price. Now? None of the above… Read more »

What's Martin's
What's Martin's
11 years ago

The place is plain terrible and we all seem to agree on a few key items:
1) Produce just isn’t good
2) Overall product selection/variety is weak
3) Those green tags are horribly annoying (can every item in the store actually be on sale at the same time?)

We’ve been to 3 Martin’s location multiple times each trying to give them a chance, but to no avail. Change was for the worst in this case. Now we have an extra eight Foood Lion locations around Richmond.

Kroger here we come…

Janet
Janet
11 years ago

Having been a loyal Ukrop shopper, I have tried to go to Martin’s but won’t be going out of my way to anymore. I always respected Ukrops for standing up again the tide and not being open on Sunday or selling beer and wine. I find it funny that alot of the things I feel are the same as others commented on like the ugly green shirts, tacky sales signage on everything, limited selection and the loss of customer service values. I do have to add that moving the carts outside to get wet and fly covered isn’t a great… Read more »

gray rawlings
gray rawlings
11 years ago

Martin’s would benefit from being the best version of themselves that they could rather than trying to imitate Ukrops. They certainly aren’t Ukrops; however, retaining some of the retail items under the Ukrops name, such as the bakery and prepared foods was a good move. So with that said, I expected they would come in with a tremendous selection of fresh produce and great prices on staples to enhance what they retained from Ukrops. I don’t think they have done that and I am not sure they really know who they are in Richmond yet. The stores are inconsistent from… Read more »

Wes Atiyeh
Wes Atiyeh
11 years ago

I am not sure if you want feedback on Martin’s or Giant? Most of the items in the store are Giant brands and lack of quality all around. Produce is not as fresh, selections are slim reserved to Giant brands mainly and the atmosphere in the store is bla. I live near the Village and the management staff there when it was Ukrop’s was one of the best around. Most of them knew your name or recognized you when you came in the store. Now, it is all about getting in and getting out. And that is easier since not… Read more »

Claire Forbes
Claire Forbes
11 years ago

Martin is not much better than Food Lion. Kroger now has a better selection, especially in the wine, produce, local and organic foods dept than they do. ( They might have sensed the shift ! ) I agree with Kevin it will be a tough road ahead for them. Ukrop’s filled the gap between the very upscale Whole Food store and the middle of the road Kroger. the Ukrop’s staff was a dedicated team. Martin overall is average, and if they discontinue the Ukrop’s kitchen, it will be full speed down hill.

Peter
Peter
11 years ago

Thanks Cindy – I’d forgotten that Martin’s won’t let the Girl Scouts sell cookies on site- a TERRIBLE decision – I don’t think they let any groups solicit – not what I’d call community-oriented. Was very disappointed in that decsion!

Mike in the West End
Mike in the West End
11 years ago

We shop at the Markrops at the Village. It used to be very crowded and the staff was very helpful. When Martins took over it seemed that the staff lost their commitment and interest. I also think that while it was shut down for renovations a lot of loyal customers started shopping elsewhere and, as a result, realized that there were some good alternatives. Many grocery store chains have really picked up their game in the last few years, redecorating, offering better selections and better quality prepared foods and better prices. Ukrops fell way behind and the cost to catch… Read more »

Ethan
Ethan
11 years ago

My eyes almost exploded when I saw the thousands of bright green “HOT BUY” tags. I’ve been in the Carytown Martin’s twice (pretty close to when they opened) and was turned off by the wasteful and annoying graphics everywhere and the paltry produce section.

My wife does most of the grocery shopping, and she switched from 100% Ukrop’s to 60% Kroger and 40% Ellwood Thomson.

So I can’t say how well they’re doing other than they lost us as customers.

KDH
KDH
11 years ago

Just about every time I go to Martin’s it is not a pleasant experience. Most times items I am looking for are not in stock. Also, have problems with items either ringing up at the correct price or coupons not applied properly. The staff is not as professional as it should be. At least the Ukrops food is still available. I rarely shop Martin’s (except for a particular teaser sale item) and I sort of jokingly say “I hate that store” when the Martin’s name is brought up. I go to Kroger’s almost exclusively now.

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

I am really unhappy with the level of customer service at every Martin’s I have visited. The employees seem not to care, rarely make eye contact, or smile. I make it my business to smile and greet them and ask how they are. I do not often get back a smile or positive response. On more than one occasion, when waiting to be served at the deli counter, it has seemed that the clerks have done everything they could to act as if I were invisible so that they could carry on or continue what seems to be a personal… Read more »

Whitney
Whitney
11 years ago

Ukrops was a community, a family. The employees knew my family by name and when shopping with my kids, they would offer cheese and cookies as a distraction so I could check everything off my shopping list. It was also a place where you could run in for a quick item or stay for 1hr chatting friends who your ran into that day. While some of the employees are still there and provide a smiling face, it is definitely not the same. Aside from the quality of food, I miss the feeling of Ukrops.

Aaron Kremer, Editor
Aaron Kremer, Editor
11 years ago

I’ve really enjoyed the conversation here. So thanks to all of you for your thoughtful and insightful comments. If I may play moderator: It seems most people miss Ukrop’s and feel that Martin’s is not satisfying their shopping experience. Do you think that’s an emotional response to the disappearance of a hometown favorite? Or is Martin’s objectively not providing the products and or shopping experience those customers were looking forward to?

Is Martin’s doing anything well?

Sara from Winchester
Sara from Winchester
11 years ago

I moved from Richmond to Winchester, VA, ten yrs. ago. I missed Ukrops and would drive back to Richmond every 3 wks. to see family, run errands and go to Ukrops! During the past 10 yrs., Martins has improved in the Winchester area, so I was disappointed about the Ukrops “sell-out”, but hoped it would inspire Martins to adopt some of the Ukrops practices with the idea of improving their offerings, shopping experience and prepared foods section in all their stores. Quite the opposite has happened. The Martins in Richmond are not as nice as the current Martins stores in… Read more »

Jim
Jim
11 years ago

When I walked into the new Short Pump Kroger, I concluded that Martin’s is toast. Kroger has obviously leaned a lot from what works and what doesn’t and they are applying it in all of their new and renovated locations. I believe that Kroger will take over the Ukrop’s customers hearts and checkbooks over the next year.

Phil Hess
Phil Hess
11 years ago

Change is uncomfortable, but inevitable. I, for one, welcome Martin’s to Richmond. I was never crazy about Ukrop’s telling me to “visit my house of worship”. It’s good advice, but I don’t want that kind of advice from a grocery store chain. I’ll figure that out on my own. The decision not to sell beer or wine or be open on Sundays while rooted in personal beliefs is one that I respected but did not enjoy. I still shopped Ukrops 100% of the time since I moved here 25 years ago. I just bought beer and wine elsewhere. No big… Read more »

Kim Rudisill
Kim Rudisill
11 years ago

Martin’s is no Ukrop’s. How do I know that? Every time I said something to an employee about how Ukrop’s used to do things, I was told, “Well, we’re not Ukrop’s”. I suggest that Martins might want to one, change that response to something a bit more customer sensitive oriented and two, try to be a bit more like Ukrop’s. * They don’t take your carts to the car anymore unless you ask them and then you may have to wait until they find someone to help. * There is no place in the parking lot to place empty carts… Read more »

Janet
Janet
11 years ago

The comment above about the Martin’s stores being “lifeless” made sense to me. I don’t expect my grocery store to be a “warm and fuzzy” all the time, but Kroger is now the store that has more customer service, friendly employees and an overall sense of wanting my business. When I’ve asked a question of a Martin’s employee, more often than not I get a shrug and minimal answer. The employees at checkout don’t smile. Martin’s selection is not as extensive as Ukrop’s was, especially in their produce. Ukrops may have had higher prices sometimes, but it was local, and… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
11 years ago

Not impressed with Martins. Nice that they are open on Sunday’s but the employees seem like zombies. Although there are many of them they just dont seem to care about a shoppers experience. The service is notably different than before. Want them to do well but until they are able to pull it together to make it a worthwhile upgrade- I’ll be taking my grocery dollars to Kroger- large selection-decent prices and quick checkouts. I wish Whole Foods was in Carytown and Ellwood would move somewhere away from the city. They have gotten way too big for their britches and… Read more »

Dave
Dave
11 years ago

I was a Kroger customer before Ukrop’s was sold, and I still am one now. Ukrop’s never had good meat, and I found the cult-like robotic friendliness disconcerting. Now, there isn’t even common courtesy. Cashiers are frequently chatting with the legion of idle clerks who hang out at the front of the store. The stores look messy, and the brands look cheap. I was amazed to visit my first Martin’s a month after they took over, and it had fallen so far. To go from the top of the grocery pile to behind Food Lion in 30 days must take… Read more »

Anne
Anne
11 years ago

I understand the business decision Ukrop’s made, so I am basing my comments on Matin’s on its own merit. I find the bonus tags to be a visual assault, and they actually make it difficult to scan the aisle for what you want. The sales are misleading. If a product is regularly $.45 and on sale 3/ $1.00, all other grocers sell one for $.33. NOT Martin’s – one unit is still $.45. I don’t feel like they are on the customer’s side. Now I shop there primarily for the (Ukrop) prepared foods. Other than that, I treat Martin’s as… Read more »

Lori Bush
Lori Bush
11 years ago

I worked for Ukrop’s in 2000-2002 & I loved everything about the company. To me Martin’s is just an overpriced grocery store. I can’t ever seem to figure out what the real cost of the items are & truthfuly I get frustrated & irritated everytime I go back. The price tags are very confusing with too many numbers on them (compare, buy so many & get it for this price, on sale, actual) when I go to shop I use a calculator & cupons, I wan’t to easily see my price & not have to take alot of time reading… Read more »

The Jury's Out
The Jury's Out
11 years ago

Pros: – Open on Sundays. This is a HUGE pro for Martin’s. Ukrops was really un-customer friendly on this point. – Selling wine and beer. Another huge thumbs up for selling alcohol in Martin’s stores. Ukrops was a real dinosaur on this issue. – Prices are lower on many products. – Some new product selections. – The stores are clean and modern (of course, Ukrops was, as well). Cons: – The employees don’t seem as friendly, happy, or helpful. Even though many of the Martins employees are former Ukrops employees, they just don’t seem to enjoy their jobs they way… Read more »

Joe Pemberton
Joe Pemberton
11 years ago

This past week I went to a Martins on Staples Mill Rd and thought I insulted Zombie green person just by walking in. ( Walked in at 10:30, store closes at 11) I did see some specials I liked and after approx. 15 minutes attempted to check out. I went to the one manned check-out that was open and was it fully taken up by one very large person with a large amount of stuff. (Zombie green people all around) I then went to self check out area and it was taped off! Back to the one open counter. (A… Read more »

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

There seems to be quite a bit of Martin’s-bashing in the comments. I think most of the negative comments are justified; I am not a fan of the new Martin’s stores. I miss the friendly, customer-service oriented Ukrops employees. And I miss Ukrops’ commitment to community. That said, while there are a lot of things I don’t like about Martin’s, there are a couple of things that I really *don’t* miss about Ukrops. First, I don’t miss driving out to buy groceries on the weekend, and suddenly realizing that it was Sunday, so my local Ukrops would be closed. The… Read more »

Aaron Kremer, Editor
Aaron Kremer, Editor
11 years ago

Are most commenters in agreement that Martin’s doesn’t have the same traffic as Ukrop’s? And if that’s true, then what might they do to get more customers?

Tom K
Tom K
11 years ago

I thinks Martins is doing great! They have done a terrific job of incorporating the Ukrop’s brand as much as possible into the line up of the store offerings. they have hired MORE staff from expanded hours and offerings. lowered prices and upgraded stores. They have made a significant financial and corporate commitment to Richmond; which will enhance the overall competitiveness of the goods we buy. so stop whining and be appreciative of the fact that one of the worlds biggest and most sucessful food service conglomerates wants to invest , hire and grow in Richmond. Also, I think its… Read more »