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Outlook Bright For Delaware, But State Still Faces Budget Challenges

Delaware 2013

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 12:00 pm

by Kristen Cloud/staff writer

The economic recovery in Delaware will move from ­lagging the national economy to leading it over the course of this upcoming year. That’s according to a first quarter 2013 Delaware Market Outlook from The PNC Financial Services Group.

“In the near term, the state’s exposure to Europe and the lack of auto manufacturing industry will prevent a stronger ­rebound,” the report says. “However, as the national ­recovery continues, Delaware’s strengths in finance and ­professional/business services payrolls will lead to stronger job growth in 2013.”

The First State’s unemployment rate already is nearly a full percentage below the national rate, 6.9 percent vs. 7.8 percent.

Delaware, because of its close proximity to major cities in the Northeast, will experience a boost to its local economy in 2013 due to “spillover from Philadelphia and Baltimore,” the PNC report says.

“Delaware’s strategic location along the I-95 corridor…low cost of doing business for the Northeast and a favorable business environment will help the state recover. An improving housing market, including strong construction, and a pickup in population growth, will also support recovery in Delaware in 2013.”

Delaware’s population, based on the latest census data, is approximately 917,000.

Overall growth for the state in the long term will be slightly above the national average as demographic trends in Delaware strengthen.

“Although population growth and in-migration will not return to that experienced during the boom years, they will pick up thanks to the area’s low taxes, affordable housing and advantageous location,” the report says. “Over the long run, Delaware’s skilled workforce, pro-business environment and concentration in well-paying finance will lead to employment growth above the national average, and well above average for the Northeast.”

The news isn’t all good for Delaware, however.

Julie Miro Wenger, executive director of the Delaware Food Industry Council (DFIC), tells The Shelby Report that the state faces a budget shortfall of nearly $56 million. Gov. Jack Markell, during a budget address in late January, announced that tax increases that went into effect in 2009 and expected to sunset in 2013 would need to become permanent in order to help fill the budget gap.

“Our legislative session just began on Jan. 8 and runs until June 30,” Wenger says. “We have already seen a minimum wage bill filed in the Senate that would increase the minimum wage by $1. We expect to see legislation for paid sick leave. We just had our (workers compensation) rates increased by 14 percent, so there will be much time spent this session ­reworking our existing workman’s comp to try and mitigate large policy increases going forward.

“In addition, we expect to see either a plastic bag ban or tax,” she says. “Commercial recycling will go into effect in 2015, so this year will focus on regulations and the implementation process for commercial recycling.”

The DFIC is the only statewide trade association for the food industry and represents nearly 80 percent of the supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores in Delaware.

“This year was the inaugural year for our Delaware Association of Chain Drug Store Council,” Wenger adds, “and we represent 137 of the 160 pharmacies in the state of Delaware.”

Acme remodels Hockessin store

Acme celebrated the grand reopening of its newly remodeled store at 128 Lantana Dr. in Hockessin on Jan. 25 with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Acme is committed to providing a shopping experience that delivers the products and service that are important to our local community,” says Acme President and CEO Keith Wyche, who was appointed leader of the chain last year. “When we decided to remodel this location, we kept one thing in mind—the customer experience. We wanted to ­ensure we added touches that enhance that experience and make shopping fun and enjoyable to our Hockessin neighbors, while providing greater selection and variety. A lot of planning and hard work went into making this store a great neighborhood destination and we are excited to be cele­brating the reopening.”

Features of the remodeled store include:

  • Expanded produce, floral, meat, seafood, deli and ­bakery departments;
  • More natural, organic and gluten-free products within the meat, deli and bakery departments—including Acme’s fifth dedicated Dietz & Watson gluten-free deli;
  • Larger selection of home meal solutions including sushi, hot chicken, a pizza station and a full-service Tony Luke’s sandwich shop; and
  • A new Wi-Fi seating area and a Bucks County Coffee area.

Former Hockessin Store Director John Donahue also was recognized during the January ceremony. Known as “Acme John” to many in the community, Donahue recently retired after more than 45 years with the company, including the last 15 at the Hockessin location.

Also during the event, Acme VP of Operations Dan Croce was joined by Hockessin Store Director Kim Trincia as well as other Acme executives and local officials as the company made $1,500 in donations to the Hockessin Fire Department, the Police Athletic League of Delaware and the Friends of Hockessin Library. In addition, the company is donating a park bench made entirely of 3,900 recycled plastic bags to the Cokesbury Village.

Acme Markets is headquartered in Malvern, Pa., and is a banner of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu. Acme operates 113 stores in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

Acme among banners that Supervalu will sell

Acme is among the handful of banners that Supervalu plans to sell to AB Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of a Cerberus Capital Management-led investor consortium. That announcement was

made Jan. 10. Supervalu will continue to own and operate its hard discount banner Save-A-Lot, which has stores in Delaware.

Published reports indicate that Acme has lost its No. 1 ­market share position in the Delaware Valley due largely to Keasbey, N.J.-based ShopRite, which currently has five stores in Delaware—three in Wilmington, one in Bear and one in Newark, according to the company’s website.

“We expect to see a new ShopRite open this year,” says Wenger, who did not provide a location or planned opening date.

Other grocery retailers providing plenty of competition in the Delaware Valley include, according to phillyburbs.com: Bottom Dollar (Delhaize), Pathmark (A&P), Walmart, Target, Wegmans and Kroger as well as drugstore chains such as Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid and convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Wawa.

Redner’s to open second Dover store this summer

Redner’s Markets Inc. plans to open its second Dover Warehouse Market in mid-summer. It will be the Reading, Pa.-based grocer’s fourth location in Delaware, according to the company. The store will be located at 25 Greentree Dr. in the Greentree Village Center in Kent County. Redner’s began its expansion into Delaware in 2008 with its first Dover store at 88 Salt Creek Dr. A Milford store opened last year, and the company’s third Delaware store, in Camden, was slated to open in 2012 as well.

The new Dover store will open in an existing building formerly occupied by a Superfresh grocery store, a banner of A&P. Renovation and expansion includes adding approximately 10,000 s.f. The new store will be about 48,500 s.f. upon completion, according to Redner’s President and CEO Richard Redner.

The new Dover Warehouse Market will feature an in-store bakery, full-service deli and full-service seafood, produce and meat departments, along with frozen, dairy, health and beauty aids/non-foods and grocery departments. The store also will feature UScan checkout terminals, Redbox video rental services and Western Union money services. Customers will be able to take advantage of Redner’s Pump Perks fuel discount program, too. The store expects to hire ­approximately 120 full- and part-time employees.

Redner’s Markets Inc., an employee-owned company, ­currently operates 41 Warehouse Markets and 13 Quick Shoppes throughout eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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