The Shelby Report’s Bob Reeves, VP-West, attended the Aug. 21 grand reopening of the Vons store at 369 Magnolia Avenue in Corona, California, following an extensive remodel.
Every department in the store, which first opened about 20 years ago, was included in the refresh, according to Store Manager Robert Pfeffer, who spoke with Reeves on reopening day for store #2596.
“Every department in the store got touched, something different got added to it,” he said.
Noting this was the second remodel in the store’s history, Pfeffer added, “It was time to update it with what the customers want and need.”
The store has new, more luminous LED lighting as well as many updated cases. The checkstands were refurbished to complement the POS systems that already were fairly new, he said.
Close attention also was paid to the store’s “shoppability” as company executives were planning the refresh.
One result is the new butcher block offering fresh-cut meat. The meat is “presented so the customer can see what they’re getting, and the meat department staff can package up whichever piece you pick out,” said Pfeffer, a 33-year Vons veteran who has been at the Magnolia Avenue store for nine months. “We also have a gorgeous brand new seafood department. Before, it was kind of self-serve. Now we have somebody behind there, and you can say, ‘I want this lobster, this shrimp,’ and they’ll get it for you.”
The store now carries shellfish, poke and shrimp skewers. “A lot more variety for the customer,” Pfeffer said.
In the service deli, “we added an extra hot food section,” Pfeffer said. “Vons is really known for its chicken and fried chicken. We added an extra case so we can do hot wings and chicken tenders and hot chicken tenders and habanero wings, which is a pork chop on a stick. It’s delicious. And we’ve been able to expand our variety of hot foods for the customer. The mom or family can get their hot meal already made here. Pick it up, it’s hot and they can go home and eat.”
The bakery was moved up toward the front of the store so that it now can be seen from the front doors. The bakery products previously were split into separate areas; now they’re “all to one side of the aisle, so it looks like it got a lot bigger” although the actual square footage is about the same. New cases were part of the bakery makeover.
The store also has two “power alleys” that feature “hot items that are on sale for the week, which makes it easy for the customer to find them.” The alleys also are ideal for themed displays for summer, the holidays, etc.
Pfeffer said thought also was given to merchandising related items together to save shoppers having to “go from aisle one to aisle seven” to get their picnic plates and paper towels, for instance. “Now everything is closer together so it’s easier for them to shop and get what they need.”
In the liquor department, the store was able to increase its variety in about the same footprint as before by offering a selection of smaller bottles.
Pfeffer said, “It’s been a great hit with the customers because some of the older clientele and people who are going to a party or something, they don’t want a big bottle because they’re going to waste half of it.”