What is happening at Marianos?

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storewanderer
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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by storewanderer » January 6th, 2020, 10:07 pm

This article seems to paint a more positive picture:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business ... story.html

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by SamSpade » January 7th, 2020, 9:26 am

This suggested link from that article definitely warms my heart.
We only have one store juicing oranges (to my knowledge), Market of Choice. And it costs a LOT more than $3.99/jug.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html

Speaking of the quality thing though, they have not sold juice when the "oranges weren't quite right" before. :)

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by drpep » January 8th, 2020, 5:40 pm

One of my highlights of my 2015 trip to Milwaukee was stopping at a Marianos, I believe near Gurnee, and finding the fresh squeezed OJ. It was Heaven. At the time i didn't know there was a following I just happened to walk by an employee handing out samples. I bought three pint bottles, one didn't survive the summer heat. My mouth is watering...

The last time I found OJ that was apparently squeezed in store was at a Heinens last year in Mentor, OH. Wegmans has what looks like fresh squeezed but I've seen employees remove it from a sealed carton. Price was rather high for a pint. At one time Wegmans did squeeze OJ in store.

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by marshd1000 » January 8th, 2020, 8:24 pm

storewanderer wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 10:07 pm
This article seems to paint a more positive picture:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business ... story.html
The link you provided co es up with an error message! 😢

rwsandiego
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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by rwsandiego » January 8th, 2020, 9:21 pm

marshd1000 wrote:
January 8th, 2020, 8:24 pm
storewanderer wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 10:07 pm
This article seems to paint a more positive picture:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business ... story.html
The link you provided co es up with an error message! 😢
Try this link:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business ... story.html

This Reddit thread paints a less rosy picture of Mariano's:

https://www.reddit.com/r/chicago/commen ... re_of_the/

To me, this is a combo of a shiny new object being less shiny than it was thought to be, age, worn-off novelty, and changes made as a result of a new corporate parent. IMO, they chose wisely when selecting the gelato and pizza vendors. Elmwood Park is a traditionally Italian suburb and any gelato company that can survive there has to be doing something right. Anything less than above-average would disappoint the locals and go out of business. Likewise, Connie's Pizza is a longtime well-known and much-loved local pizza. They only have two locations, but their delivery trucks will sell you pizza by the slice.

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by storewanderer » January 9th, 2020, 10:56 pm

At least they picked two good outside vendors to replace the pizza and gelato. I was going to be critical of those moves, but if they can actually get a good product into the stores then maybe this is a good move for the consistency reasons noted by the Kroger people from (I wonder what region they are from) running Mariano's.

I really think a Chicago grocery should be run by Chicago people. Seems like a waste to run it any other way given the diversity and numerous great foods that the various ethic groups bring demand for in that market.

I guess outsiders could come in and get with the program pretty fast of all the good food in Chicago and how to cater to the customers if they are engaged well enough.

They didn't really have much Roundys brand product in these stores in the past but sold brand name products at low prices in center store. It sounds like Kroger has pushed in a lot more private label. Kroger has a great private label program but if customers feel it is being pushed upon them, they will not receive it too well and it could flop. I guess it would be too much trouble to do a curated creative looking private label like Trader Joes, only with the Marianos name on it, and just settle for fewer private label SKUs in these stores... Throwing pallets of house brand items out on the floor and convincing customers to try them at very low prices as has been done elsewhere is not the way to convert shoppers of Marianos to Kroger brand. They need a different strategy there.

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by pseudo3d » January 14th, 2020, 7:58 pm

I think that Kroger still doesn't see Mariano's as a separate "upscale" operation, to them (and Reddit supports this), it's moving toward the standard Kroger model for Chicago. This isn't to say that all stores will be this way, but from what I can tell, there's a growing divide between various Mariano's stores in Chicago. And while the market share may be holding, if Reddit is anywhere close to correct, Mariano's is bleeding customers to Tony's and Jewel, and that soon may be reflected in actual numbers, with consequences to the stores.

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by storewanderer » January 14th, 2020, 11:54 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
January 14th, 2020, 7:58 pm
I think that Kroger still doesn't see Mariano's as a separate "upscale" operation, to them (and Reddit supports this), it's moving toward the standard Kroger model for Chicago. This isn't to say that all stores will be this way, but from what I can tell, there's a growing divide between various Mariano's stores in Chicago. And while the market share may be holding, if Reddit is anywhere close to correct, Mariano's is bleeding customers to Tony's and Jewel, and that soon may be reflected in actual numbers, with consequences to the stores.
The old Mariano's under Roundys was very effective at moving fresh products and with its fresh departments. Its center stores were poorly merchandised with a spotty mix and just did not seem very well put together. Pricing in center store was excellent on branded grocery items though.

It is possible what is happening here is Mariano's is losing customers on fresh items (given Kroger's lousy fresh items, I would not be surprised) but picking up other customers on center store as they remerchandise center store and that is enabling them to have a share gain. Whether or not this strategy pans out remains to be seen. Mariano's locations were expertly selected by Mariano to be high volume fresh stores.

Also note Kroger is doing other things like adding in self checkout and adding fuel stations where were not previously offered by Mariano's. These again add something to the shopping experience for some customers (but not the ones who were going to the store for unique fresh products).

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by Bagels » January 15th, 2020, 4:08 am

Mariano's probably wasn't making money. A big clue is that the chain quickly expanded to over 40 locations, but has remained stagnant since Kroger acquired it. It's hard to make money from a "gourmet" grocery store. I helped with the books on one relatively small chain (likely foreign to most participants here), and none of the stores turned a profit. The owners were okay with that, since they typically owned the real estate - a gourmet grocery store attracts high-end shops & restaurants, which pay premium lease rates & help the real estate appreciate faster. (The owners also leveraged the stores for other profitable business ventures, but that's not relevant here.)

Here's an example, referencing the comments posted earlier about Mariano's previous high-end bakery: these high-end bakeries are typically labor-intensive, the products have short shelve lives, and much of it gets tossed. Often, they don't make money but instead serve as loss-leaders to entice people into the store - many people won't touch high-calorie sweet goods, but they like to gawk at them, so it's basically food porn to get them to buy strawberries. I briefly worked in an independent gourmet grocery store in high school that was bought out by a larger company, and the first thing they did was replace all the gourmet baked goods with the typical Topco crap that was sold up the street at Meijer for less. I use to hear 'oh, I stopped shopping there once they got rid of that really nice bakery... I mean, we never purchased anything there but we would've' all the time.

Despite the "Kroger is ruining Mariano's' narrative within the Chicagoland media, I suspect the chain was a big money loser for them (I recall reading recently that an exec or ex-exec claimed the Roundy's purchase hadn't worked out as they thought it would) , so to stop the bleeding they're doing what they do best - turning it into Kroger.

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Re: What is happening at Marianos?

Post by Bagels » March 3rd, 2020, 1:24 am

Interesting read on status quo, from the Chicago Tribune.

Spoiler: Kroger insists the changes at Mariano's are a result of evolution.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business ... story.html

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