ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Micro-grocery stores are on the rise in urban neighborhoods, reports Grocery Dive. The smaller store-format can serve a variety of needs and build community engagement in spots where real estate for standard stores is difficult.
Take The Market in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It will open at the end of the month and, in just 4,000 square feet, will offer fresh and dry goods, a deli, beer and wine, pantry essentials and locally sourced produce and meats. Its location on East Michigan Avenue is considered a food desert, where residents are limited to fast food or convenience stores.
The concept has proven a success, so larger grocers are looking into the idea as well. In northern Kentucky, Kroger recently opened a Kroger Express inside a Walgreens, while Whole Foods is opening a Whole Foods Market Daily Shop in New York City, focusing on grab-and-go options.
It’s an enticing idea, since real estate is hard to come by—or often pricey—as developers seek mixed-use developments. With a micro-grocery store to anchor the space, additional spaces can be used to include health-care providers, boutiques and more. Furthermore, with micro-grocers instilling brand loyalty, consumers may follow the brands back to the traditional supermarkets.
As Grocery Dive says, “offering a limited range of products has a quaint appeal, but operating costs in dense areas can be high and consumers looking for a full shop may still opt for a traditional supermarket.” And when consumers look, they’ll be inclined to go to what they know—the brand that helped build their community.