Employees and customers of a southwest Forsyth grocery store are getting used to a new layout and look.
The Kroger on Grasslands Parkway in the Midway community recently completed a major overhaul.
Tony Faria, store manager, said the revamped facility has been a hit since its recent grand reopening, although the 10-month renovation process was somewhat challenging.
“We stayed open through the whole thing, which was rough for our customers, but they hung in there with us and pulled through, and now we have a beautiful store,” Faria said.
While the process made shopping a little difficult, the results were definitely worth it to customer Steven Gebhardt.
“The first days, I got lost. Every time I came in here, I needed someone to take me around,” he said. “But this is gorgeous … my wife, we can’t even keep her out of here.
“It’s much easier to shop. The aisles are much cleaner and nicer and better organized. It’s just 100 percent better.”
That was the goal, said Faria, noting upgrades were made throughout the store. Some of the improvements include expanded deli, produce, meat and floral departments.
“Every department has moved,” Faria said. “The wine department moved from the back of the store up to the front. Frozen foods used to be in the middle and now we have soda and snacks there. And frozen foods has moved to the other end, so that you buy your frozen food last before you check out, which makes sense.”
In addition, all of the aisles were reconfigured so they run vertically as opposed to horizontally in relation to the store’s entry way, which Faria said makes for better shopper flow.
There are also cosmetic changes, with small signs hanging at each end of the aisles, and bolder signs marking each department.
Flooring through the facility was also upgraded.
“We changed the floors completely,” Faria said. “We used to have the old tile and now we have the modern stained concrete.”
Sherrie Kyle-Burgess, front end manager, said it was definitely time for a facelift of the store, which has been open for 16 years.
“This is the first major renovation to this store. It had a minor facelift about 10 years ago … so it needed it pretty bad,” she said. “Things do get dated over time.”
Not only are the changes good for aesthetics, they’ve also helped with sales.
Deli manager Tonya Ward said she’s seen a “tremendous increase” in traffic since the renovation.
“Before we were doing like half of what we’re doing now,” she said. “The fresh salad bar and the soup bar, customers have been asking for that for a long time, so they’re really happy to have that so they can come in to have lunch now. They really like the new seating area with the TV too.”
Meat market manager Terry Elkins said he’s seen similar results in his area.
“We’re up about 30 percent just in meat and seafood,” he said. “It’s really taken off.
“Customers love it because it’s a bigger department, it’s more open and the presentation’s real nice because we’ve got a slanted shelf look with new lights and when you walk up, it just pops.”
Tracey Walling, who comes into the Kroger about twice a week, agreed the new design is good for business.
“I like it because things seem to be laid out a lot better than they were before,” she said. “Everything is just right there and really open. It encourages you to buy because of the way it’s all laid out.”
Faria’s just grateful for the regulars who stuck it out through the remodeling process.
“We have a lot of good customers who stayed around when we had walls from floor to ceiling and plastic draped over everything and you couldn’t see the store,” he said. “The parking lot of was a mess for a while.”