In the age of content marketing and ultra-personalized customer service, one local retailer is looking to capitalize on this trend and make it unique to them. Albertsons Companies, a Boise born-and-bred grocery chain now spread across 35 states, is opening boutique locations in the Treasure Valley this year. The new locations promise in-house culinary experts, partnerships with local vendors, interactive customer experiences, elevated catering, and restaurant-style dining.
Albertsons’ effort is keeping with national trends. Forbes magazine predicted that radical changes in the retail landscape would be integral to the survival of longtime businesses. “In 2018, retailers will realign their businesses with the needs and desires of customers, who are driven today not by a passion to acquire more things, but by a deep desire for more experiences,” wrote Forbes reporter Pamela Danziger in a December 2017 article. She wrote that customers now define the shopping experience, not retailers, and that stores must “flip the incentives to entice shoppers” into stores, when they can simply purchase goods online. In Albertsons’ case, the company is looking to diversify what is typically offered by a grocery store, to draw in new customers.
“From hard to find unique ingredients, to prized local favorites, to cooking classes and live events, Market Street Idaho raises the bar for what customers can expect from a fantastic grocery store,” said Kathy Holland, Albertsons Communications and Community Relations Manager.
The first location replaces a West Boise Albertsons on Broadway Avenue with an opening planned for late June. The second, in Meridian, will open under the moniker Market Street Idaho in the former Shopko location on Eagle and Fairview in October, following an extensive renovation.
As the Treasure Valley grows, the local food scene must adapt with it, said Albertsons Intermountain Division President John Colgrove, calling the model a “destination food getaway” experience. “In our store, our dedicated chocolatier might partner with one of our scratch bakers to create an art deco cake for an exclusive event, or our Head of Catering might work with our sommelier and masters in our fresh team to craft an exclusive wine pairing experience with fresh fruits and cheeses,” he said. “We’re elevating the idea of what a grocery store can be here.”
Colgrove said customers will find all products to be reasonably and competitively priced by market standards.
The model is loosely based on the success of a similar endeavor by Albertsons affiliate United Supermarkets in Texas, but different in that “we’re leveraging the brand into something that is uniquely Idaho,” Colgrove said.
He built upon the NOSH/NOSHE grocery buzzword in his descriptions, saying “NOSHL” to describe their model, an acronym for natural, organic, specialty, healthy and local. Albertsons is scouring the Boise Farmers Market for local vendors they might bring on for the Market Street Idaho store and plans to offer nutrition classes.
Holland said the concept will have intergenerational appeal. “Those looking for local and fresh ingredients, or a wide variety of sustainably produced, natural and organic skin, hair and body products, or international items for ethnic cuisine. Those who want to learn more about food and nutrition, and those needing help in planning the perfect event. Even for those who are looking to spend time with family and friends in a unique and trendy environment. Ultimately, we will have something for everyone.”