A newly remodeled Cub store in Stillwater, Minn., has introduced a raft of new innovations seeking to enhance the customer experience and provide a range of meal solutions.
“The intent is to provide the experience and the product and the services to make customers’ hectic lives easier, and to provide the solutions that they are asking us for,” said Anne Dament, senior VP of retail, merchandising, marketing and private brands at Supervalu, Cub’s Minneapolis-based parent company. “They also want a more enjoyable shopping experience. They want a little bit of fun in the experience.”
A key component of the offerings is the company’s Quick & Easy meal solutions brand, which is prominently offered throughout the perishables area of the 88,500-square-foot store. The brand, which has now been rolled out to all of Supervalu’s retail divisions, includes a range of heat-and-eat items, from sides to entrees to full meals, that offer customers flexibility in assembling dinner for a family.
It includes items ranging from precut vegetables ready to be be steamed to microwavable salmon or chicken, preseasoned to make prep easy for culinary novices.
“It’s like bringing a restaurant right to their house, and we can deliver it too,” said Chad Ferguson, president of Cub operations.
The store also features a strong in-store foodservice component, which includes a new soup and salad bar, sushi, hot Asian bowls, and what Ferguson described as “Minnesota comfort foods,” such as fried chicken, grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese. The store also has a full custom burrito bar, offering made-to-order burritos, burrito bowls and salads, along with store-made tortilla chips.
“No matter what the meal occasion, or any need throughout the day, we are really trying to solve that need for the customer,” said Ferguson.
The produce area features barn-wood finishes and orchard crates and a strong focus on organic product and signs highlighting local suppliers. It is also home to Cub’s first Juicery, which offers traditional fresh-squeezed orange, tangerine and grapefruit juices, along with cold-pressed juices that Ferguson said may be the first offering of its kind in a supermarket in the state. The Juicery also offers a variety of infused waters and custom-made smoothies.
Among the elements designed to add “fun” to the in-store experience is a standalone popcorn area — dubbed Popcorn! — that greets customers as they enter the store. It offers six varieties that customers can nosh on as they shop.
“The first thing that hits you is the smell of popcorn and sight of popcorn, which is fun,” said Dament.
Ferguson said the popcorn shop “has been an immediate success” and in fact is one of the new elements included in another remodeled store opening this week.
Another key element of the Stillwater store will be a “coffee and creamery” area that will feature ice cream sandwiches made with hot, freshly baked cookies. That area, called “Refresh,” is still under construction and will open in the coming weeks. In addition to cookies and ice cream, it will offer shakes, sundaes, espresso drinks and coffee brewed by local café chain Caribou Coffee.
The store also features a boutique-style “candy shoppe” that will offer nostalgic candies and will allow customers to mix-and-match bulk candy purchases.
“It’s really fun, and the customers are excited about it.,” said Ferguson.
Other elements of the revamped store include:
• New décor, display cases, lighting and updated signage throughout the interior of the store, including barn wood accents, large photography and LED monitors with video;
• New signage and updated facades to the exterior of the stores, including the use of the new name “Cub” instead of “Cub Foods;” and
• Additional self-serve checkout lanes, along with an area near checkout with grab-and go foods.
“It’s convenience-store convenience, but inside a big box,” said Ferguson of the grab-and-go area.
Dament said elements of the new flagship would be introduced to other stores on a case-by case basis as the company considers the needs of each community where it operates.
“It’s not necessarily going to be a cookie-cuter approach,” she said. “Our customers will lead us through this journey of innovation and change, and as we learn and read and react we will continue to follow our customers and keep up with our customers based on their needs.”