Fry's evolving with the changing landscape of the grocery store industry

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jun 28, 2016

Sally Angulo isn't able to rest much these days, and probably won't for the next couple of months.  

Angulo, the manager of the new Fry's Marketplace near 13th Street and Bell Road, is prepping for the upcoming grand opening celebration on July 15. She expects a large crowd for the pep rally and giveaways that come along with the pomp and circumstance of a grand opening. Angulo said there's something inherently special about a neighborhood grocery store: It's the familiar faces.

"You come to the grocery store, you might've had a bad day, you see that associate and say 'Hello'. It makes (your) day," she said. 

Angulo's staff is in the last stages of training. The inside is bustling with dozens of workers installing cash registers, hanging lighting and stocking shelves. But there's more to opening a new supermarket than there was 20 years ago. The landscape of the grocery store industry as a whole has changed.

From adding cheese and wine bars with experts to drop-in health clinics, grocers are forced to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Fry's added all of those amenities and also plans to serve local craft beer along with the endless selection of wines.

"If a husband and a wife come shopping and the husband doesn't want to finish walking around the store, (he can) sit and have a glass of wine while he's waiting or they can both have a glass of wine," Angulo said.

Many shoppers are also big on technology, but short on time. According to research by Nielsen, a quarter of those surveyed recently said they grocery shop online and more than half are willing to give it a shot.  

Fry's is on board. It implemented call-ahead curbside pick-up at some of its stores.

"They come and deliver it to you right to the car," Angulo said. "You don't even have to get out."  

According to food retail trade association FMI, supermarket sales in the U.S. totaled almost 650 billion in 2015.