The long-awaited new Gig Harbor Fred Meyer will make its debut in late May, a Kroger spokesman said Thursday.
The store is moving from its location at Olympic Village across state Route 16 to a roughly 64,000-square-foot space at Olympic Towne Center at 5500 Point Fosdick Drive NW. The upgraded store offers many amenities not at the current Fred Meyer.
You will be able to sample some of the 175 cheeses from the Murray’s Cheese counter, an outpost of a New York-based cheese shop. Offerings will include olives, salami and other cured meats. Workers at the cheese counter will be trained by Murray’s Cheese, said Fred Meyer spokesman Zach Stratton.
“There will definitely be plenty of sampling and opportunities to taste the different cheeses,” Stratton said.
Other upgrades will include a growler filling station with local and national beers rotating through the store’s taps, a Starbucks coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating, a wood-fired pizza oven, an upgraded and expanded bakery and deli, and a nutrition center and natural foods area.
The in-store pharmacy will be a Kroger first for Gig Harbor, Stratton said.
Main & Vine, one year later
A year after the opening of Kroger’s experimental store focused on fresh organic food, Gig Harbor’s Main & Vine is profitable.
Though store operations manager John Leathers couldn’t elaborate, he said he is pleased so far with customers’ response to the open-concept store with produce as the centerpiece.
“I would say the biggest surprise is seeing new customers, new faces and seeing people coming from different counties,” he said. “With our setup and atmosphere, it’s very open and relaxed. You’re not being rushed.”
For Tacoma-area customers, the store credits $5 to offset the toll for those who live on the other side of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Customers only need to show an ID and spend $50 at the store on groceries, but not on alcohol or gift cards, to qualify for the credit.
The store allows six local artisans — think soaps, jams, barbecue sauce and pickles — to sell their wares on the store floor every Tuesday. Some products are later brought onto the Main & Vine shelves, said Leathers.
“It’s us supporting the local community,” Leathers said. “… It’s stuff they are producing at their house or a small little kitchen and bringing it in and they are trying to get their product out there.”
Before this job, Leathers worked at one of Kroger’s QFC stores. A typical grocery store, he said, would sell twice as many traditional grocery offerings than organic or natural products.
Main & Vine has flipped that script, he said, with its customers preferring natural to traditional products 2-to-1.
As for plans in the next year, Leathers said he’ll leave it up to Kroger for any announcements.
“We are setting the standard for future Main & Vines,” he said. “We want to make sure this concept is going to work across the nation.”
The store is at 5010 Point Fosdick Drive NW.