- Meijer is opening a new small format store called Woodward Corner Market in January in Detroit’s Royal Oak neighborhood, according to a press release.
- The 41,000-square-foot store will feature 25-foot ceilings to give an open-air feel. It will have fresh and prepared foods departments including bakery, fresh meat and deli, and will offer 2,000 local or artisanal items from purveyors like Daily Dozen Doughnuts, New York Bagel and Bath Savvy Soaps.
- Woodward Corner Market will also include a Great Lakes coffee shop with nitro brew, beer, wine and liquor as well as an expansive international food aisle spanning Hispanic, European, Asian, kosher, Middle Eastern foods and more.
Woodward Corner Market is the second small format store for Meijer following the opening of Bridge Street Market store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2018. The smaller format stores are a major deviation from Meijer’s average store footprint, which usually covers about 200,000 square feet. The retailer is reportedly planning to open a total of six small format stores in urban locations by 2021.
Opting for a slightly different concept instead of parroting the Bridge Street Market format could help Meijer make a unique connection with consumers in the Detroit metro area, though both Woodward and Bridge Street are focused on fresh food and convenience.
Retailers are turning to small format stores to appease consumer demand for new experiences and convenience. A smaller format allows a grocer to be nimble and open stores in different regions without having to incur the cost of a full-scale location. With small formats, grocers can also respond faster to shifts in product demand and food trends.
Hy-Vee is experimenting with three different concepts including its small format Fast & Fresh banner, which is a play on a conventional convenience store. It’s second small format offering, HealthMarket, features health-focused items like kombucha, probiotics and fresh produce. Publix is targeting health and convenience with its small format Greenwise banner, while Giant's new Giant Heirloom banner offers a unique, neighborhood-driven shopping experience.
Small formats haven’t been a complete success for grocery retailers. Walmart has faced some challenges with its small-scale Neighborhood Market grocery concept. It closed eight locations earlier this year as well as three other locations in 2018 and 23 in 2016. There’s also Tesco’s Fresh & Easy format, which scaled rapidly only to find that it didn't resonate with U.S. consumers.