Kroger buys Harris Teeter grocery chain for $2.4B – USA Today
North Carolina-based Harris Teeter has been a welcome entry in the D.C. area supermarket scene over the last decade. I like Teeter because they get me through the lines much quicker than Giant and Safeway — a critical factor when shopping with a child. The sales are as good as the other stores, but everyday prices are higher. The sandwiches are also pretty good and there is one walking distance (a bit of a long walk) from my office.
After the deal closes, Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of Kroger, which will then have 9% market share nationwide.
The northeast seems to be one of the few parts of the country that doesn’t have Kroger. I’m really skeptical this will be a good thing for BeltwayLand consumers, though I suppose prices may go down a bit due to economies of scale. As one person put it “is Kroger as yuppie as Harris Teeter?” I doubt it, but we’re probably insulated in the D.C. area since we’re so upmarket (or something).
I wonder how long the Harris Teeter brand survives…
Magruder’s to sell its remaining stores in Washington region – The Post
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The other night I was in Magruder’s in Alexandria when I noted that that the shelves were pretty empty. I asked a cashier if they were closing and she said they were just clearing out the shelves a bit. I was a bit skeptical, so today’s news is no surprise. Apparently, others began noticing last week that the store was a little light.
Magruder’s hopes to sell stores in Alexandria, Vienna, Gaithersburg and Rockville. The liquor store on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase has been sold and will retain the name.
Since I moved to Alexandria, the Magruder’s near Seminary Road has been a regular stop for minor quick trips to the store. I’ve even walked or bicycled to it and enjoyed the convenience. When my then-girlfriend, now wife lived in Alexandria, that location was a Safeway. I joked it was “so old that it wasn’t even good enough to be a Safeway” when I saw that Magruder’s had taken it over. I also joked that it was a timewarp, because the appearance of the place and the music they played had not been updated since the 1960s.
When I was a kid, I remember dreading a trip to the Vienna location. The aisles were narrow, the lines were long and I can vividly remember old women throwing produce on the floor regularly when it wasn’t presumably any good any more. After a fire around 1986, it got renovated and wasn’t as bad, but it still was a place to avoid.
I am very curious to see what will replace the Alexandria location. It isn’t a large store, so I can’t imagine a major supermarket wanting to take over that space. I could see more of a specialty store coming in, but the location isn’t real exciting. If they hadn’t ditched the “shopping cart full of bowling balls” logo, I’d want ShopRight to show up.
MORE ABOUT MAGRUDER’S
Press release announcing the sale – PDF via The Post
Company history – magruders.com
Magruder’s began in 1875. The Vienna store opened in 1970, the Alexandria one sometime between 2003 and 2007.
Magruder’s Closing with Half Off Sale – Vienna Patch
Local Magruder’s stores will be sold – Gazette.Net (Maryland)
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Over the years, I have wondered out loud why the Washington Nationals marketing has been so bad. They have done a poor job putting their brand out there, I’m not saying the Nats need have co-branded sponsorships for EVERYTHING or that they need “The Toyota Scoreboard brought to you by Honda” like the Washington Redskins do, but you get the idea.
One of my specific observations was that every time I went to Harris Teeter, I was greeted by a sign that said it was the official grocery store of the Washington Redskins. I knew, mostly from going to the games, that Harris Teeter was the official grocery store of the Nats too and wondered why their wasn’t a sign out front like the Redskins one. This week, for the first time, I started seeing the familiar curly W whenever I have entered a Harris Teeter (Tysons Corner, Ballston, Alexandria). I don’t know why it wasn’t there before, whether it was Harris Teeter or the Nats that kept it from happening. Regardless of why, it apparently isn’t a reason any more. Progress!
PREVIOUSLY A minor marketing success: Nats pocket schedules at Harris Teeter – April 12, 2011
IN ROSTER NEWS
P Gio Gonzalez had his press conference yesterday and came off well, despite taking Matt Chico’s number #47.
Nationals introduce Gio Gonzalez to Washington – The Post
Gio Gonzalez makes himself at home with D.C. blitz – The Wash. Times
Gonzalez understands his role in Nationals’ rotation – The Wash. Examiner
Brad Lidge is now a Nats setup man (Nationals Journal, The Post). Seems like a great low-risk/high reward signing. There is this:
“Brad is one of the more interesting teammates I’ve had,” said Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who played with Lidge in Philadelphia. “Not your average athlete. Very intelligent on and off the field. He will bring culture to our clubhouse, along with his nasty slider. Good guy, glad we got him. He will be a perfect fit for our young talented bullpen.”
Hey, why not?
ARLINGTON, Va. — I have been critical of the marketing of the Washington Nationals in the past, so I thought I would share a positive sign. For years, I’ve wondered why I can’t find a Nats pocket schedule anywhere but the ticket windows at Nationals Park. I am pleased that this season, Harris Teeter, the team’s official grocery store (like this one in Ballston) is making pocket schedules available. I am not pleased that the font office learning curve is a sphere though — this should not have taken six years.
I don’t know if marketing analytics support widespread pocket schedule distribution in 2011, but my instinct says that putting them at the check-outs in area grocery stores is worthwhile for brand awareness. Someone who doesn’t regularly go to Nats games might suddenly be inclined to pick one up and check out that “new stadium.”
Now, the next thing the Nats ought to do is get some sign in the front of every Harris Teeter store like the Redskins have:
FRANCONIA, Va. — Every time I go to Safeway, I’m asked if I want to make a donation to breast cancer. What are they doing donating to breast cancer? It sucks and doesn’t need any help!
Oh, this is supposed to be an anti-breast cancer donation — why didn’t you say so?!
Safeway, breast cancer
TYSON’S CORNER, Va. — The Harris Teeter in my work neighborhood doesn’t quite know where they are located. I suppose this is just another argument for creating the Tysons, Va. mailing address.
HarrisTeeter, Tysons, Tysons Corner, Mclean, VA, Virginia
TYSON’S CORNER, Va. — When I was a kid there was a Giant Food in Tyson’s Corner Center mall, but it closed over 20 years ago. Now, for the first time since they, the Tysons area has a grocery store. A new Harris Teeter opened on Park Run Drive near Westpark Drive. Tysons residents and workers no long have to drive to Vienna or McLean for groceries, a wonderful development.
HarrisTeeter, Tysons, Tysons Corner, Mclean, VA, Virginia
I don’t think I will have time for a large essay on what ails the Nationals franchise and how to fix it which is probably just as well since Jim Bowden is apparently not getting fired. My first post on the topic (I don’t know how many there will be yet) will focus on marketing the team.
Quick — name the official supermarket, fast food restaurant and car of the Washington Nationals?
I am pretty sure Harris Teeter is the official supermarket, but I have never seen anything supporting that fact in my local Harris Teeter. Is there an official fast food restaurant? I don’t get out to them too much so maybe that is why I don’t know. What about official car? I’m not suggesting that they go the route of the Redskins and break it down to official fried chicken/official meat-flavored sandwich/non-dairy creamer of the Nationals, but they ought to do something.
How about getting some players in TV spots? Can you name a single ad with a Nationals player other than the Brad Wilkerson bank ad (tragically, not on youtube) in 2005? If Lastings Milledge is not in an Eastern Motors ad next spring, something is wrong. Get Manny Acta in one of the Mercedes ads that Eddie Jordan and Bruce Boudreau have done too.
The one marketing/public relations area that the Nationals did well in last season was convincing people that there is no parking, thereby scaring off people with no interest in using public transportation. In reality, there was adequate (if expensive) parking available. Not only that, but parking could be bought online a convenience that is appealing, if unneeded given all the empty spaces. This needs to be addressed with a media campaign prior to single-game tickets going on sale.
Another thing, why can’t I get a pocket schedule at any location other than the Nationals Park box office? I should be see these things around all over town, particularly at the “official supermarket/fast food/etc.” Not everyone thinks to go to the Web site when they are interested in going to a game. Seeing a pocket schedule at the 7-Eleven counter might make someone interested too. Stan Kasten has talked about marketing to more than just hardcore baseball fans, yet I have not seen this happen.
Washington Nationals, Nats
On the left is the long-time logo of the New Jersey supermarket chain ShopRite. I’ve always liked it, even if it does look like the shopping cart is full of bowling balls. It is versatile too, fitting on a vegetable can, grocery bag or the side of a store equally well. It even looked good on those blue services signs you see on highways.
Around 2000, ShopRite rebranded itself with the logo to the right.
I’m sure a PR flak would explain that this is a vibrant update of the old logo and shows that ShopRite is an exciting, modern supermarket experience and not the same old grocery store. ShopRite is bursting with savings on fresh items all over the store. Not only that, they sell more than bowling balls — now you can buy polygons there too!
This strikes me of an example of rebranding for the sake of rebranding. The next time ShopRite needs to rebrand itself, they need to go retro and bring back the original logo. In fact, planning for that should begin now.
Images taken from Wikipedia’s ShopRite entry. The official history is here. I never knew the ShopRite story was so interesting.
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