Ukrop's: What to expect in coming months

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Officials from both Ukrops and Giant-Carlise aid that the corporate transition will not be immediate, but make no mistake the traditional Ukrop's shopping experience will soon be a thing of the past in central Virginia.

For shoppers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and northern Virginia, the name Giant is something grocery shoppers have relied on for decades.

"There are some things that they do in other locations like in northern Virginia that are really kind of interesting," said Dr. David Urban with Virginia Commonwealth University Business School.

But Giant started as homegrown food chain has long been owned by Royal Ahold, a large global company that experts say no matter what will make the shopping experience a different one.

What we'll have is "instead of a company based in Richmond, is probably one of the largest companies in the world owning the stores here in the city," said Mike O'Connor, president of the Petroleum Convenience and Grocery Association.

But while local customers won't enjoy the close personal relationship that the Ukrop family had with Richmond, Dr. Urban believes that as big corporations go, Royal Ahold makes customer service a priority.

"They do a lot of consumer research to try to find the right price points and right consumer services," he said.

Even though Giant-Carlise said they won't force wholesale changes. Experts say not to be surprised if Giant or Martins unveils new services that have worked in other markets, including offering gas at the stores.

"I think one of the first things you are going to see is that they have gas at most of those stations. You'll probably see that as soon as they get approval, you'll see gas in the parking lots as soon as possible," O'Connor said.

And soon this new chain of supermarkets with a different approach will be a regular part of the grocery landscape in Richmond. And according to a letter to their customers on their web site, Ukrop's said that you begin expecting these changes as soon as February.

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