- Big Y announced earlier this month that it plans to debut a new small-format grocery store brand in Springfield, Massachusetts.
- Big Y Express Fresh Market will be 10,000 square feet and carry a full assortment of items, including prepared foods, specialty products and everyday necessities. The company said it is working with its contractors to establish an opening date.
- Springfield-based Big Y joins the likes of Schnuck Markets, Meijer and Fareway in building smaller stores that unlock new market opportunities.
Big Y has positioned the Express Fresh Market, which is part of the Tower Square development at 1500 Main St. in Springfield, as a way to meet pent-up demand in a diverse urban neighborhood.
“Between the UMass classrooms, YMCA daycare, area office workers and downtown residents, many are looking for an option to meet their food needs,” the company said in a news release.
Although it will be a fraction of the size of a traditional Big Y grocery store, the new Express Fresh Market will include many of the same departments found in those locations. This includes grab-and-go meals, like sushi selections made daily by an in-house sushi chef.
This is not the first time Big Y has operated a smaller-size grocery store. For 35 years, the company ran a 16,000-square-foot store in Adams, Massachusetts. That location, which was located in a more rural area than the new Springfield store, closed down in 2019.
With many prime supermarket locations claimed across the country, retailers are starting to experiment with scaled-down stores that allow them to access new markets — from population-dense urban and suburban neighborhoods to rural towns. Meijer has now built four grocery stores that are a fraction of the size of its supercenters, while Fareway last year opened an 8,000-square-foot store in Colfax, Iowa.
Schnucks opened its first Schnucks Fresh store last year in Jasper, Indiana. The location is roughly 30% the size of a typical Schnucks store and could become a blueprint for the grocer to expand into small towns.
Big Y has 85 locations across Massachusetts and Connecticut, including 71 supermarkets, more than a dozen convenience stores and a Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors outlet. The company staffs nearly 12,000 employees.