California Centers

MAY 2017

California Centers Magazine serves retailers, developers, shopping center owners, investment sales brokers and tenant representation firms throughout the state of California.

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14 California Centers Magazine | May 2017 C C T here was a day not too long ago when grocery stores were for, well, groceries. While that still constitutes their main purpose, the supermarket's identity is undergoing a rebranding of sorts. This is partic- ularly true in California where shop- pers have come to expect their retail- ers to be an extension of their own beliefs — health-driven, convenient, social, and innovative with a touch of luxury. "This might make sense for a cutting-edge retailer like Apple," you may think, "but supermarkets? Peo- ple just want to finish their shopping lists and get out of there." Think again. With restaurant delivery programs like UberEATS, grocery delivery pro- grams like AmazonFresh and meal prep delivery programs like Blue Apron, it's becoming harder and harder for supermarkets to get cus- tomers out of their homes to begin with. GETTING THEM INTO THE STORES Rather than fight technology, many grocers are adopting a strategy that has seemingly proven to work well for other retail categories: they've simply created an experience. Though the "experience" varies by supermarket brand, local demographics and a va- riety of other factors, one of the wide- ly used strategies is to incorporate or expand the freshly prepared food op- tions. This includes everything from self-serve pizza stands to celebrity chef outposts, build-your-own bowl concepts, and beer and wine bars with vast selections. Of course, no dining area would be complete with- out ample space to wine, dine and socialize. Creating a social space was at the core of Portland, Oregon-based New Seasons Market's design plans when company CEO Wendy Collie decided to build its second California outpost in San Francisco after opening its first in San Jose in March 2015. "Our stores are about community and bringing people together around delicious food, shared meals, and a place where you can see your neigh- bors and connect with each other," she says of the new store. "We're looking forward to providing a warm, invit- ing gathering place where everyone feels welcome." Though originally known for its fresh, local and organic selection, San Francisco's new gathering place will soon feature indoor and outdoor seating and an abundance of natural light for any customers who want to partake in the chef-prepared meals, sandwiches, fresh-brewed coffee and baked goods. The store will also fea- ture certified organic and Non-GMO breads, foods for special diets, a well- ness and bodycare department, home goods from local artisans, a full-ser- vice floral department, and a large se- lection of beer and wine from the Bay Area and around the world. If the emphasis on healthy, environ- mentally conscious fare consumed in an indoor seating area bathed in sunlight seems like overkill for a 29,000-square-foot supermarket, the locals beg to differ. "Our vision of adding a grocery store was always to serve as a gate- way for our many different neigh- The 2nd bar and restaurant is part of Whole Foods Market's remodeled store in El Segundo. GROCERS TURN FROM GOODS TO BETTER SERVICES Today's customers expect more, even at the supermarket, which is why so many of California's top grocers are evolving into destinations of their own, leaving many to wonder just how these traditional anchors fit into this unconventional time. By Nellie Day

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