Heard on the Street: Kroger dips into the Ukrop’s cookie jar

 

Ukrop’s famous rolls, chicken salad, and macaroni and cheese may soon be available at a lot more locations.

Kroger stores in Richmond will likely begin selling Ukrop’s prepared items this year, said Kevin Cassidy, store manager of the Kroger at 901 N. Lombardy St., near Virginia Commonwealth University.

The timing isn’t clear, Cassidy said, but at least 22 products sold under the Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods brand will be available at his store by fall.

Until now, the products have been sold almost exclusively at Martin’s stores in the Richmond area. 

Several calls placed to Ukrop’s were not returned by press time.

When the Richmond-based Ukrop’s chain sold its 25 Richmond locations in late 2009 to Royal Ahold subsidiary Giant-Carlisle for $140 million, it retained its prepared food business, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods. At the time of that deal, it was announced that Martin’s would be the primary customer for Ukrop’s products.

Ukrop’s already sells its products at non-Martin stores outside the Richmond market. Its bakery goods are sold at Kroger in Roanoke, for example, and also at Libbie Market on Libbie Avenue.

“It’s very exciting,” Cassidy said.

Kroger has been chasing Ukrop’s customers for years. In 2009, it bought special beefier shopping carts its bag boys could use to ferry groceries to customers cars — ala Ukrop’s . And after Martin’s announced the deal to buy the Ukrop’s locations was signed, Kroger spent about $81 million to expand its presence in the marketplace, which included renovating stores in Carytown and at Willow Lawn and building its biggest local store at Short Pump.

“The entire management team here in Richmond took the opportunity very seriously when Ukrop’s was sold,” Cassidy said. “They’ve done a great job.”

 

Ukrop’s famous rolls, chicken salad, and macaroni and cheese may soon be available at a lot more locations.

Kroger stores in Richmond will likely begin selling Ukrop’s prepared items this year, said Kevin Cassidy, store manager of the Kroger at 901 N. Lombardy St., near Virginia Commonwealth University.

The timing isn’t clear, Cassidy said, but at least 22 products sold under the Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods brand will be available at his store by fall.

Until now, the products have been sold almost exclusively at Martin’s stores in the Richmond area. 

Several calls placed to Ukrop’s were not returned by press time.

When the Richmond-based Ukrop’s chain sold its 25 Richmond locations in late 2009 to Royal Ahold subsidiary Giant-Carlisle for $140 million, it retained its prepared food business, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods. At the time of that deal, it was announced that Martin’s would be the primary customer for Ukrop’s products.

Ukrop’s already sells its products at non-Martin stores outside the Richmond market. Its bakery goods are sold at Kroger in Roanoke, for example, and also at Libbie Market on Libbie Avenue.

“It’s very exciting,” Cassidy said.

Kroger has been chasing Ukrop’s customers for years. In 2009, it bought special beefier shopping carts its bag boys could use to ferry groceries to customers cars — ala Ukrop’s . And after Martin’s announced the deal to buy the Ukrop’s locations was signed, Kroger spent about $81 million to expand its presence in the marketplace, which included renovating stores in Carytown and at Willow Lawn and building its biggest local store at Short Pump.

“The entire management team here in Richmond took the opportunity very seriously when Ukrop’s was sold,” Cassidy said. “They’ve done a great job.”

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kathy
kathy
10 years ago

Please get the rolls and chicken salad in Fredericksburg!!

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

Krogers is stepping up the service: I recieved a phone call telling me about the Excedrine recall and giving me a refund at the store! I’d switched my perscriptions to Krogers because Walgreens refused to work with Express Scripts/Blue Cross any more and am so glad I did!–I sure didn’t get any info on the recall from Walgreens. It’s all about service, after a point. And now I can get my Ukrops cookies too!~~

Denise Golinowski
Denise Golinowski
10 years ago

I admit that I have been increasingly disappointed in Martin’s as a store. Nearly continual inventory shortages in products I buy regularly and a general sense of malaise among the staff. Part of it is the shift from Ukrops mgmt, but part is just the usual shift to chain-store mentality. I’m still a Martin’s patron but I will be delighted to see Ukrop’s products available at other stores so that I can vary my shopping and still get those Ukrop’s goodies I’ve always enjoyed.

Sara Stern
Sara Stern
10 years ago

Wish Martin’s would bring UKROP’s products to Winchester, VA; however, they have a corner on the market there, so probably don’t feel the need. Interestingly, the Martins stores in Winchester are nicer than in Richmond, and you don’t have as much of that nauseating green color around.

Jerry
Jerry
10 years ago

After my experience last night with a very rude employee at Martins, this is great news. To be able to get the Ukrops prepared food at Kroger would give me no reason to ever step foot in Martins again.

Sheila Berry
Sheila Berry
10 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

I’ve had repeated rude treatment by Kroger employees, and have switched entirely to Martins. Maybe it’s the luck of the draw, but after three really bad incidents and a complete lack of concern on the part of Kroger management, I no longer shop there for anything.

Jerry
Jerry
10 years ago
Reply to  Sheila Berry

Maybe some basic training in being courteous to customers and handling customer questions effectively is needed at both. Is upper management listening? The ground troops, the face of your business could use some finishing schooling.

David
David
10 years ago

I’m near all 3 major players in groceries in the metro.I want to like Martin’s maybe because of Ukrop’s leftover warmth but increasingly I just can’t.Kroger has them beat on price,and has upped service and quality to meet or exceed Martin’s.I don’t really get why Martin’s doesn’t leverage it’s Giant ties to improve it but they apparently don’t think they need to (they do).As for Food Lion,don’t get me started.It’s the 7-11 of groceries.Higher prices though they play the game of trying to convince you they are lower.Using convienience as a strategy to get you to pay more.Produce quality well… Read more »

SF Sowers
SF Sowers
10 years ago

Martin’s has never gotten it right…half the employees could care less and many are somewhere else besides work. The salad stuff is left out twice as long and they run out of the good stuff (Ukrops made items) by 1:30….this will complete Kroger…

John Bowen
John Bowen
10 years ago

Martin’s clearly doesn’t understand the Richmond grocery market. Ukrop’s spoiled us with service and we know have a level of expectation that Martin’s is failing miserably. Kroger has seriously stepped up there game knowing that Richmonders basically demand a high level of customer service during the grocery shopping. I’m so glad I no longer have to go Martin’s for the prepared Ukrop’s foods. Martin’s has been, for me, a huge disappointment. The managers look totatlly uninterested and the Brook Run location looks more run down each time I go. Thank you Kroger for filling the void!

Linda Terry
Linda Terry
10 years ago

Agree with the comments, and can’t wait for Kroger to have Ukrops food. I voted for Harris Teeter to be the Ukrops buyer but Kroger has defnitely stepped up their game to win me over.

charles
charles
10 years ago

I’m not an old school Ukrops loyalist, but I don’t shop at Martins because, simply, the selection is lousy. No one else seems to either… I seriously wonder how long Martins will be around at this rate. I’d love to see it go and be replaced by Whole Foods in Carytown… But on the lousy store front, anyone else see the irony they interviewed the manager of the Lombardy Kroger, undoubtedly the worst Kroger I’ve ever seen? Seriously, if you are at Lowes across the street, and decide you need milk, you are still better off driving to Carytown to… Read more »

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

Wow, this is a definite dagger to the heart of Martin’s. I think most people were only going there because of this. I know I was. I do like that the Martin’s stores are smaller. The Kroger stores are just too big. I’m moving to Fresh Market as soon as they open in Carytown. Oh how I yearn for a Trader Joes in the city, preferably downtown or shockoe.

Jay
Jay
10 years ago

Great news!

Though I have nothing against Martin’s (except those green shirts!) I prefer Kroger because it’s a lot closer. This makes shopping at Kroger even better!

Kathleen
Kathleen
10 years ago

Hate, hate, hate Martin’s. No customer service (even with the left over Ukrop’s employees), took away so many of the foods that could only be gotten at Ukrop’s, Managers uninterested…..I could go on and on. If I never go into a Martin’s again it will be too soon.

Bruce Hobart
Bruce Hobart
10 years ago

This is great news! Kroger isn’t as close to us as Martin’s but the selection is better and each time I shop there I feel like I’m actually leaving with extra change in my pocket. Recent upgrades to Kroger are nice, the “monster” store on Lauderdale is an adventure. What more could a customer ask for??…..Ukrop’s donut holes and whoopie pies…coming soon to a Kroger near YOU!

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

Everyone keeps saying it’s all nothing compared to Wegmans! I want a Wegmans!

Judy Kinney
Judy Kinney
10 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I agree, Beth. Wegman’s puts our beloved Ukrops to shame. I have stopped several times at the one near Potomac Mills and been awed at the selection of take home foods and meals. Everything else about that store is great, too.

Kati
Kati
10 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Wegman’s would blow everyone else away. I keep lobbying for it. Maybe the available space at Twin Hickory will lure them. I would be their most loyal customer.

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

I”m guessing the sales are starting at the Lombardy store because there is no Martins nearby to compete for Ukrops sales. There could be some noncompete clause that keeps the Ukrops food out of the Carytown Krogers because there is a Martin’s nearby. Just speculation on my part.

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

I would be willing to be that the Lombardy store is the top grossing store in the entire chain. It is the only grocery store I have ever been in that has every register open with ten people in every line every day of the week. It’s unbelievable. Any grocer (HELLO TRADER JOES!) that thinks the city is not a good market, just spend an evening here.

wegmans fan
wegmans fan
10 years ago

Wegmans DOMINATES

Michael Jones
Michael Jones
10 years ago

The Lombardy store may be busy, but so is the Carytown one. The average item purchase price and total sale $$ per customer at Lombardy is a fraction of the Carytown Store. The “new” Carytown store stepped it up big time. I feel like I’m in a prison when I’m in the Lombardy store. No high-end items and very limited prepared items (which are high end by definitaion since you’re in a grocery store but paying extra for cooks to prepare your food – and Im not talking about) and Im not talking about rotessrie (sp?) chicken here. Its geared… Read more »

Pamela Truesdale
Pamela Truesdale
10 years ago

Shoot, it was discussed years ago at a store of Ukrops no longer there between me and the baker in the pastry department that they were discussing selling their products to otner places eventually. So is this a shocker to me? No. Was surprised they did just Martin’s for the length they did. I mean to make money so to pay the employees they got and more is so obvious.

Another Wegmans fan originally from Rochester, N.Y.
Another Wegmans fan originally from Rochester, N.Y.
10 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. They’ll be here before you know it! Watch out Martin’s, Food Lion & Kroger.

Chris b
Chris b
10 years ago

I was a manager at Ukrops. I quit Martins because of the poor treatment toward us. They literally told us to use as little labor as possible, but continue to give Ukrops style service. It Was joke. Soon, there will be no baggers to carry out your groceries either. It is a low rent northern style store and they just don’t get it….. Ukrops should make a comeback, just limit its stores to a handfuls like whole foods does.

Jenny
Jenny
10 years ago

Everyone seems to forget that Ukrops sold the stores for a reason – it was a failing company that was going out of business. The only thing that kept these stores open was Ahold purchasing them. I agree that Martin’s stores are nothing like the way the Ukrops stores were at the end of their Richmond reign. The Martin’s stores are much cleaner and the prices are much lower. Look around at who is serving you in the Martin’s stores….they are all former Ukrops employees. Thank God Martin’s came to town and saved thousands of jobs.

Grocery buyer
Grocery buyer
10 years ago

Kroger DEFINES service and quality in the Richmond market now. The addition of Ukrop’s prepared foods at Kroger will truly eliminate Martin’s reason to exist.

Roxanne
Roxanne
10 years ago

I agree…Kroger saw an opportunity to take Ukrop’s former customers and has done an excellent job doing just that. To be honest, I didn’t understand Richmond’s love affair with Ukrops towards the end…felt their edge was gone and they were becoming just another grocery store. Just sayin’…

Roxanne
Roxanne
10 years ago
Reply to  Roxanne

P.S. I just got back from a visit to Kroger…their revamped deli and bakery look delectable…not to mention the fuel savings.