BOLIVAR, Mo. — Woods Supermarkets here is the midst of a six-week grand-opening celebration at its largest store — a 53,540-square-foot unit in Sunrise Beach, Mo., just a mile or so from the Lake of the Ozarks, that opened late last month.
The extended grand opening — which runs from Memorial Day through July 4 — is seeking to capitalize on summer recreation in the area, Craig Easter, chief executive officer of the nine-store family-owned business, told SN.
The Sunrise Beach store replaces a 23,000-square-foot store in Greenview, Mo., four miles south, which was the company’s smallest unit.
Most Woods’ stores run between 30,000 square feet and 40,000 square feet, and Easter said the company would like to open more stores the size of Sunrise Beach, depending on the market.
The Sunrise Beach store has several unique features, Easter noted, including an in-store smoke house for ready-to-eat barbecue items and an in-season dining patio; a full-service deli featuring Chinese and Italian items, oven-baked pizza and sushi — none of which are available at other locations — along with salad, soup, fruit and hot food bars; a wine cellar and humidor; a produce department with 400 items — about 25% more variety than other Woods stores carry; 130 frozen-food doors, compared with 100 elsewhere; and a large selection or organic and natural foods.
As with other Woods stores, the new store also offers a full bakery with a steam oven; full-service meat and seafood; a pharmacy with a drive-through window; a full-service floral and gift shop; and a Woods Gas Express with 10 pumps outside.
The wall above the produce section also features a mural of the company’s original store — based on a 1947 family photograph of the company’s first store in Long Lane, Mo., surrounded by trees and fields and fresh fruit stands out front.
Woods — whose competition comes primarily from Walmart Supercenters and several independent retailers — operates with a conventional high-low pricing program featuring quality perishables and a very aggressive pricing program. Easter declined to pinpoint the company’s sales.
As part of the extended grand opening celebration, the store is holding weekly drawings for various prizes, with a grand-prize of a pontoon fishing boat scheduled to be awarded on June 29.
Easter said Woods is definitely interested in expanding, though it has no future locations in its sights. According to Easter, the company would be willing to look at acquisitions as well as ground-up sites.
Of its nine stores, five were acquired and four were built new. Eight of the stores are in central and southwest Missouri and one is in southeast Kansas — all within 120 miles north and south of its main office in Bolivar, Easter said.
“But we want to grow, and we’re not confining ourselves to our existing area,” he added.
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