One of Auburn’s frequently shopped grocery stores is getting a facelift—a $1.2 million facelift. Many departments throughout the store are receiving upgrades, having been over a decade since its last redesign.
Kroger on Dean Road has an average of 24,000 to 27,000 customers a week, according to store manager John Moore.
“A lot of that varies because of football traffic or a special event going on in town,” said Moore.
Despite the indoor construction, Kroger still has the swarms of people coming in each day. He said that Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are the busiest days. That number is not tapering off, which means increased demands in product selection. Most of the demand is in the nutrition, or organic, department.
Moore said the demand exists because of the university.
“A lot of the college-aged kids are very interested in the health bars and sports drinks,” he said.
The department’s expansion will include more freezers, more shelving space and more products.
“We had to pretty much rearrange the whole store wall to wall,” said Moore.
The meat department will be increasing their selection, and produce will have new coolers installed. New shelving is also being placed in other departments throughout the store. This has caused many products to be relocated.
Moore said that customers that are having trouble finding an item should ask for help.
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“I’ve actually scheduled some extra help in here handing out store directories, assisting people in finding products that have been relocated to different aisles,” he said.
A few complaints have been received about items being moved, but most comments are positive. Moore said the biggest issue has been items being relocated or unavailable to customers.
“We actually eliminated about 1,100 items,” said Moore. “Probably 95 percent of those were very slow movers.”
Though, a few of the discontinued items have been requested. Moore said that he would try restocking those.
Associates have reassured customers who have been voicing their complaints. Shoppers are told that the remodel will create a better shopping experience for them once it is completed around Thanksgiving.
Not all of the customer service takes place in the store. Kroger is involved in several activities in the community. They participate in activities with the university, are the main sponsor of Camp War Eagle and contribute to the East Alabama Food Bank.
One activity with the university is the health fair that takes place in the Haley Center. Moore said that they hand out free nutritional items from the store. Having to use 10 tables to set up, the store uses a Miller Lite truck to transfer the goods to the Haley Center.
“You wouldn’t believe how excited students get when they see a Miller Lite truck backing up to the Haley Center,” said Moore.
Obviously, it’s not a beer delivery. It’s the vendor willing to help, Moore said.