The Houston Chronicle reports on a new food store in Houston that it describes as "a first-of-its-kind Kroger, one that specifically caters to its neighbors in the community.
"From the outside, the Kroger off South Sam Houston Parkway looks like all the others. But inside, the Ohio-based retail company has made significant changes to pioneer the chain's first-ever multicultural redesign.
"The Southbelt/Ellington store serves a population made up of over 50 percent Hispanic-Latino customers, Kroger reps said. Their new neighborhood concept has many of the features its traditional siblings boast, like a Starbucks and a pharmacy. What's exclusive to this location: Spanish-English signs, more Hispanic products, pre-marinated meats, ceviche, a juice bar and other new amenities."
According to the story, the store features "over 900 new products, including expanded selections of chicharrónes, helados, and candies. Boasting 17 varieties of fresh-cut queso, Kroger's expanded cheese selection is sure to please Houstonians who are well acquainted with Mexican cheeses like cojita seco and queso Oaxaca. Just steps from the queso counter is a selection of Kroger's in-house made tortillas, which can now be purchased from the warmer … The most eye catching section at the new location is the bar de jugos, which serves up bottles of fresh squeezed juices ranging from green smoothies to spicy mango. The juice bar, which is the only one in the nation, also features an expanded selection of cut fruits, which can come plain or marinated in tangy, mouthwatering chamoy and tajin seasoning. Opposite from the juice bar is the expanded produce section, which features something rarely seen in an American grocery store: guava and nopales … Pioneered by Kroger's first Latina division president, Laura Urquiza Gump, the redesign is part of an initiative that seeks to provide customers with what they need."
- KC's View:
This isn't a new idea - Northgate Markets in Southern California, for example, has been doing this effectively for years. And nobody does it better.
But if, as we know, the US is growing into a more diverse place in which minorities taken as a whole become the majority of the population, it is going to be critically important for companies big and small to figure out effective ways to serve these communities.
It will be good for business and good for these communities. And, quite frankly, the continued diversification of the American palate will be, I expect, a wondrous and appetizing evolution.