MARSH DEBUTS ARTHUR'S MARKET

SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Marsh Supermarkets was scheduled to debut a new format here last week called Arthur's Fresh Market that emphasizes fresh foods and prepared meals.Marsh, based in Indianapolis, has a second Arthur's planned for New Palestine, Ind., although the company declined to comment on when that store might open."Our new Arthur's provides a unique neighborhood feel and store layout while providing

SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Marsh Supermarkets was scheduled to debut a new format here last week called Arthur's Fresh Market that emphasizes fresh foods and prepared meals.

Marsh, based in Indianapolis, has a second Arthur's planned for New Palestine, Ind., although the company declined to comment on when that store might open.

"Our new Arthur's provides a unique neighborhood feel and store layout while providing the freshest product along with superior customer service," said Don E. Marsh, chairman and chief executive officer, Marsh Supermarkets, in a prepared statement.

At 21,000 square feet, the Arthur's store is about a third the size of the company's new "lifestyle" prototypes that it opened this past winter in Noblesville and Fort Wayne, Ind.

"This store incorporates an innovative design that draws from our new concept lifestyle format," Jodi Marsh, a spokeswoman for the company, told SN last week.

She said the fixtures at Arthur's were designed specifically for the smaller space.

Included in the store are a full-service deli with a Boar's Head sandwich shop; a fresh sushi bar; a bakery; a home-meal replacement section with rotisserie chicken, fresh fried fish and chicken, and other hot entrees and side dishes; an in-store cafe with a hot beverage station; and a salad bar. In addition, the store will carry traditional offerings of dry, frozen and perishable goods.

One of the distinguishing features of the lifestyle prototype, its racetrack design with boutique-style departments around the perimeter, will not be duplicated in Arthur's, another Marsh spokeswoman told SN.

According to reports, however, Arthur's utilizes a somewhat similar design scheme in that perishables are located in the center with the various other departments located around the periphery of the store.

A statement on Arthur's Web site, www.arthursmarket.com, said the store was designed to be a "fun" place to shop: "Arthur's Fresh Market was designed to infuse fun into the former ho-hum grocery shopping experience. Immediately upon entering the store, bountiful color, crisp, clean music, a vivid garden of fruits and veggies, along with definite hunger-inducing 'kitchen' aromas fill your senses."

The Web site goes on to say that the store's design facilitates the shopping experience: "This innovative store layout makes perfect sense to even the most novice shopper."

Arthur's becomes the fourth banner in Marsh's supermarket portfolio. The company unveiled its format targeting Hispanics, Savin$ Mercados, in a neighborhood with a large Hispanic population in late 2002, followed by a second store late last year. Its LoBill Foods format, which offers a limited assortment with less service, is being used in inner-city and small-town markets. Marsh acquired O'Malia's Food Markets in 2001 and plans to expand that format, which features extensive service departments and a more gourmet selection, in higher-income neighborhoods.

The company said it plans to expand the new lifestyle prototype, which operates under the Marsh banner, to the Chicago market, although it has not yet revealed a specific location. Last week, sources told SN that the company was scouting for sites in Naperville, Ill., an upscale suburb of Chicago.