Stop & Shop is rolling out a new look for its brand, starting with 21 stores in the Hartford, Connecticut, area. The new look comes with a $70 million capital investment to improve the in-store experience with a focus on delivering more fresh, fast, local and healthy options for customers.
Hartford will serve as a test market for the brand to pilot features like an in-store smoker, poke bowl and taqueria stations and frictionless checkout, which will be used to inform updates across the brand’s 400-plus stores over the next several years. Stop & Shop also is investing heavily to lower prices on thousands of items that customers purchase most, while also offering a larger assortment of affordable items from store brands.
“We recognize that our customer is changing, and we’re evolving our entire shopping experience to better serve them. They’re focused on getting back to their lives, juggling many responsibilities, and we want to make grocery shopping even easier and faster for them,” said Stop & Shop President Mark McGowan. “Hartford is the first step in our journey towards repositioning our brand for future success and in helping our communities enjoy better food and better lives.”
The store’s new look includes a modernized store format and a new logo, which is a nod to the brand’s past and its legacy of breaking new ground in convenience, the company says. The brand’s updated format reflects a customer-centric approach and a commitment to reshape its shopping experience around the customer and their evolving needs.
Stop & Shop opened its first store in the Greater Hartford area in 1940. The brand now employs more than 3,000 people in the region, and the remodeled stores are expected to increase headcount by 7 percent. While updates will vary by store location, highlights of the refreshed stores include the following:
- Smoker: Customers can choose from meats like brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs slow cooked up to 14 hours over solid hickory wood. Stores will feature more space dedicated to fresh produce and more locally grown and produced items like apples from Rogers Orchards in Southington, beer from Connecticut favorite Two Roads, plus coffee beans roasted in Hartford.
- New in-store experiences: Customers can create their own olive oil and vinegar blends, like fig-infused balsamic, at do-it-yourself machines. They also can fill up growlers at a kombucha fountain or find out what food pairs best with an IPA at an informational craft beer kiosk.
- Community tables: In-store cafes will feature “community tables” made from reclaimed wood so neighbors can gather together with family-style seating. Digital community boards will share local fundraisers and other events around town.
- Poke bowl and taqueria stations: New stations will make it easier for shoppers to grab fresh, healthy meals with global flavors to go.
- Curbside pickup: Customers can pull up beneath solar-powered canopies to pick up their online Peapod orders, which soon will be assembled by a miniature robotic warehouse thanks to a new partnership with Takeoff Technologies.
- Frictionless checkout: Customers can save time when shopping in-store by using the Scan It! mobile app—no waiting in line required.
Ribbon-cutting events took place at all 21 Hartford stores on Oct. 5, kicking off the grand re-opening festivities that will take place throughout the month, such as pumpkin painting, carnival games and special appearances by alumni players of The New England Patriots.
To commemorate the occasion, Stop & Shop will be donating $25,000 to its longtime partner Foodshare, the largest anti-hunger organization in the Greater Hartford area.