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P&C Continues Fresh Market Makeover

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Penn Traffic here has been giving its P&C Foods stores a fresher look with a remodeling plan focused on expanding the perimeter departments. The remodeled stores undergoing the Fresh Market makeover will have 180 varieties of produce, a downsized floral department, and a restocked and expanded deli section, larger cheese and olive bar islands, and an expanded selection of grab-and-go

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Penn Traffic here has been giving its P&C Foods stores a fresher look with a remodeling plan focused on expanding the perimeter departments.

The remodeled stores undergoing the Fresh Market makeover will have 180 varieties of produce, a downsized floral department, and a restocked and expanded deli section, larger cheese and olive bar islands, and an expanded selection of grab-and-go dinner items and rotisserie products.

The company recently finished two remodels, and several more are currently underway. The chain's Cazenovia, N.Y., store was completed in March 2008; the Westvale, N.Y., store upgrade was just completed in February 2009; the Skaneateles, N.Y., location has scheduled the grand opening of its remodeled store for June 19; the Nottingham, N.Y., store is still to be determined; and the Manilus, N.Y., store is slated for completion late this fall.

Terry Kushner, vice president of sales and marketing, said the upgrades are an ongoing process.

“A variety of factors influence our store redevelopment strategy,” Kushner told SN. “These can include the age and location of a store, current store sales activity and growth potential, the special needs of a given market, the product and service preferences of our customers and working conditions for our employees.”

For example, Kushner said that the Westvale location downsized its floral department as a result of evaluating customer needs.

“Every store is different, as they each serve different customers,” Kushner said. “The changes in the floor position, presentation and product selection in the Westvale floral department remodel were a direct result of our research of our customers' needs in that store. While the footprint is smaller, it is serving customers better, as volumes are up and we are receiving many positive comments from customers.”

The remodel of the 50,195-square-foot store took approximately six weeks to complete, from mid-January to Feb. 21, 2009.

The result was a store with a greater selection of upscale fresh artisan breads, pastries, and fresh and frozen cakes in the bakery. The deli department now has a wider variety of hot foods, a bigger selection of store-made grab-and-go salads and meals, a gourmet olive bar and an expanded variety of cheeses. The meat and seafood departments provide a greater array of fresh and frozen meats, including a “cut-to-order” service, and the expanded variety of fresh packaged seafood includes fish steaks, fillets and shell fish.

And the produce department offers a more diverse selection of items and greater emphasis on local, natural and organic fruits and vegetables, including 40 varieties of organic produce, 33 varieties of fresh salads, 12 varieties of tomatoes, 15 fresh herbs, 16 peppers and 16 mushrooms. There is also a new Wall of Values, which offers feature-priced, high-velocity staples.

While the cost of the Westvale P&C remodel was approximately $100,000, Penn Traffic is spending $2 million on its Manilus P&C location.

“Each store in our portfolio has different needs based on the age and condition of the facility and the customers it serves,” Kushner said. “The store sales area footprint [at the Manilus location] will expand nearly 10% — from 26,478 to 28,978 square feet. Much of the existing store footprint will also be redesigned to better maximize space utilization and provide customers with an easier and more enjoyable shopping experience.

“The Manilus store is a larger investment because it requires investments in structural modifications and fixtures and equipment — these are larger capital expenses that were not needed in Westvale.”

The company's fact sheet for the Manilus store states that it will be transformed into P&C's flagship Fresh store concept, and that when completed this fall, it will provide a dramatically expanded selection of fresh and frozen meats and seafood, bakery items, produce and grab-and-go foods, as well as chef-prepared entrees and sides made onsite in the store's new Chef's Kitchen. It will also have a new brick oven for pizza.

The store's physical appearance will be transformed, as well. The new “fresh” decor will incorporate earth-tone colors, photo murals of fresh food and wood-grain flooring to create a welcoming, natural and appetizing shopping environment throughout the store.

The Manilus store will remain open for normal hours of operation during construction, the company said, adding that it has a plan in place that provides a safe and efficient shopping experience for customers during the work, and that construction timelines and activities will be structured to provide minimal disruption to customers.

Other Syracuse-area P&C Fresh Market stores are located in Fayetteville, Camillus and Cazenovia.

Kushner said that in every case, year-to-year sales results have improved in remodeled stores.

He said he hopes the store remodels will enhance the company's “ability to deliver on our go-to-market strategy by better utilizing the store to deliver greater value, better service and more sales.”

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