- Rouses Markets recently opened a college-themed grocery store in partnership with Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, according to a press release emailed to Grocery Dive.
- Located across the street from Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and just down the road from the school, the store will focus on products geared towards college students and healthcare professionals. This includes a hot-food line, poke bowl station, Mongolian grill, full-service butcher shop, floral department, seasonal and local produce and seafood market.
- The interior of the store is painted with the school’s red and gray colors and the café features a Colonels' basketball scoreboard. A craft lager brewed by Bayou Teche Brewing for the school is on draft for $1.
Selling school-themed merchandise and gameday provisions is a common tactic for grocery stores located near college campuses. But Rouses is kicking the intensity up a notch, and the result could be increased loyalty from students and the local community.
Rouses isn't the only retailer targeting college campuses. Target recently unveiled three small-format stores near colleges with locally relevant products, grab-and-go foods and household essentials. Last year, the University of South Florida leased land to Publix so the grocer could open a 28,000-square-foot store. Publix agreed to host job fairs twice a year for the university while over one-third of its employees are enrolled students. Amazon is also opening a number of pickup points on college campuses across the U.S.
So what's fueling the campus boom? Research shows young consumers are eating out more than older generations and value convenience as well as a top-notch experience. These shoppers are spending less money at grocery stores, but retailers like Rouses and Publix are intent on winning them over with prepared foods and in-store dining.
Other grocers have partnered with athletic programs to draw in shoppers and differentiate their offerings. A recent partnership between Albertsons and the Seattle Seahawks generated incremental store traffic and sales. The Oklahoma City Thunder, meantime, has partnered with Homeland Stores since 2008 to provide shopping sprees where the team provides a family in Oklahoma with groceries. The team also has an annual turkey giveaway through the store and Thunder Fit Clinics to promote health and wellness for kids.