By Amy Bartner / Indianapolis Star
Downtown Kroger opened Thursday morning, filling the vacant spot left after Marsh filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.
The grocery store at 227 W. Michigan St. is the first of seven Marsh stores the Kroger Co. bought to reopen with new branding.
Marsh had been open for about three years when it closed, and because of its selection of organic foods and somewhat steep prices, it was often referred to as “The Fancy Marsh.” Still, Kroger put about $2 million into the store: $1 million in technology, efficient lighting, computing systems and data security, and another $1 million in physical upgrades.
But: “When you walk in the building, it looks the same,” Manager Larry Schultz said. “It (Marsh) had a couple of flat tires and now it’s up and running smoothly.”
Schultz, along with 32 other employees from the former Marsh, now works at Kroger. He said the new company is a change “for the better.”
Here are seven differences customers will notice:
1. Those prices.
“Oh my God, they’ve gone so far down it’s crazy,” he said. “This will become a Kroger real quick.”
In the short time the store’s been open, he’s heard feedback from customers who were grateful for the price of produce and common groceries — especially milk. They didn’t track prices from Marsh,Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson said, but some examples of Kroger’s prices include: A gallon of milk currently is $1.89, green peppers are 69 cents each, bananas are 55 cents a pound and fresh tuna filets are $5.99.
2. Kroger has ready-to-make fresh meals.
Kroger is capitalizing on home-delivery cooking kits like Blue Apron and HelloFresh with its own, lower-commitment version call ed Prep+Pared. The kits are available near the entrance for quick access and range in price from $14 to $20 for two servings.
3. More (fresh) fish.
Kroger has double the refrigeration display space for fresh fish that Marsh had, Schultz said, which means more variety for the customer.
4. A bigger selection of non-grocery items.
The general merchandise aisles are bigger and packed with more toothpaste, cleaning supplies, deodorant and other things you don’t eat.
5. These sprinkles.
This display of sprinkles in the bakery section of the store would make Rainbow Brite cry with joy.
6. The Kroger Bistro.
Restaurants inside grocery stores are called “groceraunts,” Halvorson said. The Bistro, although similar to Marsh’s dining area, will feel familiar to Kroger customers who shop in larger stores.
7. Less bulk.
The bulk section once located next to the liquor, wine and beer section is gone, and a smaller display of nuts, grains, oats and rice is located near the dairy section.