Grocerants and Small Stores Go Well Together

“Look for more small neighborhood grocers to spring up….These stores are more relaxed, attentive and curated, with a heavy emphasis on products that Millennials yearn for and buy. Think about how Lunds & Byerlys Kitchen [Wayzata, MN] with 17,000-square-feet includes a 4,000-square-foot sit-down restaurant and scores of local beers on tap. The grocerant trend will continue, as more supermarkets look to share of stomach vs. market share against their traditional competitors.”

--a 2016 trend from Phil Lempert, SupermarketGuru

Lunds & Byerlys Kitchen isn’t alone as a bustling grocerant inside a small-format food store. A grocerant malt shop concept helps anchor the 9,000-square-foot Brothers Marketplace in Medfield, MA, owned and run by Roche Bros. (See profile with chef Brian Dunn in this issue for more detail.) Sheetz has inside seating for 50 to eat in a 15,000-square-foot store serving University of West Virginia students in Morgantown, WV; its smaller stores seat up to 30 inside and more on patios. (See profile with Ryan Sheetz in the January issue for more detail.) And 5,600-square-foot Green Zebra Grocery in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, OR is spawning two more locations in 2016 with its signature custom sandwiches and specialty paninis made in an open kitchen, rotating beer and kombucha taps, four hot soups every day, a salad bar, and outdoor picnic benches.

For smaller formats to be effective, says SupermarketGuru, they need three elements that spell grocerant: innovative, quality prepared foods; unique beverages; and indoor or outdoor seating. 

Smaller stores will proliferate in denser urban populations and beyond to reduce labor costs, especially with minimum wages rising. People like the convenience better, and curated assortments give enough choice without idling inventory dollars. “These factors make it easy, fun and efficient for retailers as well as shoppers,” notes Lempert. “Millennials are retail banner-agnostic. If a store does one thing well, they’ll go to that store for that and nothing else.”

The grocerant can be that destination.