Review: King Soopers

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SamSpade
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Review: King Soopers

Post by SamSpade »

Well, I went into the KS near Union Station. I think I'd seen photos online from when it opened, which certainly makes sense for all the tall apartment and condominium buildings nearby. It's about 3 blocks from a Whole Foods that has the same hours, except KS closing one hour later at 10.

Overall, it was essentially like any other mainstream Kroger I've been in. The concrete flooring was clean and in excellent condition, the aisle markers were helpful, somehow there were less of those irritating aisle breaking cardboard displays than I've run into, and it was fine.

Frozen foods in this store is a bit strange, carved into a little alcove adjacent to the registers and exit lane. Full service meat and seafood counter.

The doughnuts are different, but this seems to be a store by store thing? Some of the Fred Meyer locations now carry Top Pot Doughnuts instead of the Kroger offering. No service bakery counter or cakes that I saw.

Deli had the mentioned Chester's Chicken program (great pricing), and Boar's Head meats. I suppose that means the Safeways here are stuck with Kretschmar or Dietz&Watson.

The soda aisle was interesting; they have SO MANY varieties of Big K sodas in both 2-litre and 12-packs here. I am very jealous (I forgot to look for the Kroger sparkling water flavor 12 packs).

Access to the store was kind of a pain in the neck as they have apparently decided shrink is bad enough that the streetside door by Starbucks and another by the produce department cannot be used. So you have to fight through the parking structure to enter the store then walk through one of those metal bar gates.

Another note about Soopers, unless Kroger has recently changed ads (they may have), unlike in the Smiths and Fred Meyer markets they are not that heavy on the TV here that I've seen and the only ad they are running is to push the pharmacy for vaccinations. I did see one Kroger Delivery (Powered by King Soopers) truck around.
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Re: Review: King Soopers

Post by marketreportblog »

I was actually at that store (visiting family in Colorado) back in January. I thought it was quite nice, and the Whole Foods a block away is really nice too. And agreed, it's very much like the other mainstream Kroger stores I've been to -- even not that different from the single Mariano's location I was at. Some similarities even to Harris Teeter, although of course those are a little bit different.

They must've changed the entrance/exit setup since I was there. When I was there, you could enter from Chestnut Place directly into the deli/prepared foods area near produce. It felt normal enough.

I will say... I don't fully understand why people hate Safeway in Colorado so much. I've now been to six of them (three in the city of Denver) and they all seem thoroughly adequate, if not amazing. One was definitely not wonderful on my first visit -- E 20th Ave in Five Points, Denver -- but I was there late at night when all the shelves were empty and went back several times after that and it was just fine. Of course, I've never done major shopping at King Soopers/City Market and Safeway in CO, but they seem comparable to me. Did you go to any Safeways? What's your opinion?
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Re: Review: King Soopers

Post by Brian Lutz »

I know Top Pot made an attempt to expand their donut shops out of the Seattle area back in the mid 2010s, but I don't think they made it past Portland when they did so. They've been selling their donuts in QFC stores for quite a while now, and according to their Wikipedia article they are also selling Top Pot branded Donuts in other west coast stores, but doesn't provide much detail beyond that. I wasn't aware of their donuts being sold in Fred Meyer stores, but I suppose it makes sense for them to move over there if they expect QFC stores to be divested.

The Wikipedia article also says that Top Pot recipes are used for donuts in Starbucks stores throughout the US and Canada, although those obviously wouldn't be branded.
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Re: Review: King Soopers

Post by SamSpade »

marketreportblog wrote: April 17th, 2024, 6:17 pm They must've changed the entrance/exit setup since I was there. When I was there, you could enter from Chestnut Place directly into the deli/prepared foods area near produce. It felt normal enough.

Did you go to any Safeways? What's your opinion?
I didn't have a car so no Safeway for me. It's kind of a bummer as I was curious why feedback here is always so negative about this area's store fleet. The company must have felt that 'Safeway' was better than 'Albertsons' though since they rebranded all stores under the one brand.

RE: Entrance - there was a sign in the vestibule saying it was open 8 am to 8 pm, but for whatever reason on the day I was there, it was fully secured.
Off Topic
Brian Lutz wrote: April 18th, 2024, 6:50 am . . .They've been selling their donuts in QFC stores for quite a while now, and according to their Wikipedia article they are also selling Top Pot branded Donuts in other west coast stores, but doesn't provide much detail beyond that. I wasn't aware of their donuts being sold in Fred Meyer stores, but I suppose it makes sense for them to move over there if they expect QFC stores to be divested.
Yes, I mostly see them in Portland area QFC, so far only a few Fred Meyer stores (ie. "Stadium"), not widespread to all locations.
Post-2020, it seems like all grocers up here have lousy doughnuts and I guess the positive of that is that I no longer buy them?
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Re: Review: King Soopers

Post by storewanderer »

That store had the weird entry thing going on a number of years ago when I was there. It was odd, I was on foot, and getting into the store was confusing for me as a first time customer. As I recall the only way in/out was right by self checkout which I think was by deli.

I liked the Whole Foods a lot better and it seemed like a healthier store. The area around the King Soopers was kind of quiet. Maybe there is more development there now. I wasn't impressed with this King Soopers, and it didn't seem to be doing much business, which was reflected in the fresh department mix and quality. It didn't seem tailored for the area at all and in general was below average compared to the usual (larger) King Soopers since it was smaller.

King Soopers Donuts should be coming from the King Soopers bakery plant (along with bread aisle bread and various other bakery items) each day unless something changed on that, in the Denver area stores. They have a wider donut variety than typical Kroger and seem to especially like cake donuts.
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Re: Review: King Soopers

Post by storewanderer »

marketreportblog wrote: April 17th, 2024, 6:17 pm I was actually at that store (visiting family in Colorado) back in January. I thought it was quite nice, and the Whole Foods a block away is really nice too. And agreed, it's very much like the other mainstream Kroger stores I've been to -- even not that different from the single Mariano's location I was at. Some similarities even to Harris Teeter, although of course those are a little bit different.

They must've changed the entrance/exit setup since I was there. When I was there, you could enter from Chestnut Place directly into the deli/prepared foods area near produce. It felt normal enough.

I will say... I don't fully understand why people hate Safeway in Colorado so much. I've now been to six of them (three in the city of Denver) and they all seem thoroughly adequate, if not amazing. One was definitely not wonderful on my first visit -- E 20th Ave in Five Points, Denver -- but I was there late at night when all the shelves were empty and went back several times after that and it was just fine. Of course, I've never done major shopping at King Soopers/City Market and Safeway in CO, but they seem comparable to me. Did you go to any Safeways? What's your opinion?
The problem with Safeway around Denver is the stores are lifeless, do little business, and have poor operations. They do not maintain fresh departments well, employee attitude is poor, in high theft stores the complete and total indifference toward theft is downright perplexing, and I think Denver is the worst run division in their entire company and has been for many years now. When Albertsons was rebannered to Safeway it felt like they were putting some effort into improving their situation but that didn't last long.

They sat on too many poorly performing stores for far too long around Denver. Many of those have closed but it significantly hurt the image of the chain.

There are some rural/no competition Safeways in Colorado that seem comparable to a typical Safeway in say NorCal or OR/WA, though.

I actually think Safeway's pricing in Denver is just as good if not better than King Soopers... and has been for some time... Safeway runs WAY better promotions (if you can get the items in stock or in the case of dairy/produce not rotten/expired which is another major problem that division has) but it doesn't matter. It may matter for C&S though as I don't think they can support that pricing there.
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Re: Review: King Soopers

Post by jamcool »

Safeway makes its money in Colorado in smaller towns, like in a number of other markets. Towns too small for Walmart to want to enter.
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