Shoppers at the Fresh Grocer last week were disappointed to see near empty shelves in most aisles and closed self-checkout machines.
The grocery store — which is located at 40th and Walnut streets — is currently converting to a new supplier, the Wakefern Co-op, which is a retailer-owned cooperative group of 350 supermarkets that the Fresh Grocer joined in late July.
As part of the conversion, the supermarket is focusing on “removing old inventory, and bringing in new enhanced product offerings,” Fresh Grocer Marketing Director Carly Spross said in an email. The shelves were more bare as a result of this.
According to Spross, after the conversion, which will be fully completed by this coming Friday, the Fresh Grocer customers can expect to see “new items throughout,” including more gluten free frozen items, Halal meats, an additional self-checkout lane and lower pricing.
The Fresh Grocer will also begin carrying ShopRite generic brand items rather than the generic brands previously carried by the store.
Some students have already noticed the change in brands. Engineering Sophomore Siddisee Hirpa went to the Fresh Grocer looking for olive oil and noticed “everything switched to Shoprite brand.”
In addition to the changes in the food items they stock, the store will be reorganizing its layout. “The grocery aisles are being reset and new aisle directories will be printed to help customers navigate through the aisles,“ Spross said.
The store is also replacing its “front ends systems,” which includes all registers, scanners, price optimization units, printers and computers.
During the conversion, the Fresh Grocer will continue to be open 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
It is unclear how switching to Wakefern — which supplies and provides other services to its member supermarkets including ShopRite, New York City supermarkets Gristedies and Morton Williams — will affect the quality of this Fresh Grocer location.
Second year medical student Sourav Bose thinks that the store will improve. “I like Wakefern food corporation[‘s stores] better than FroGro,” he said. “It has a better array of products. The prices are better.”
Wakefern Co-op member supermarket vary in popularity according to Yelp — an online review system of restaurants and businesses. Yelp users rate Shoprite stores in Philadelphia slightly higher than Fresh Grocer stores. Shoprite stores in Philadelphia get an average score of 3.72, while Fresh Grocer stores receive an average score of 3.25 out of five points.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.