Retail tour explores Chicago formats

08/26/2013 09:41:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

petePamela RiemenschneiderLeslie Simmons, right, of Dave's Specialty Imports, talks with Kenny Moore, produce buyer for Pete's Fresh Market during the Midwest Produce Expo retail tour Aug. 21.CHICAGO — Midwest Produce Expo retail tour participants saw a slice of what Chicago consumers have when it comes to their weekly — or daily — grocery shopping.

The two urban stores on the tour, a Target general merchandise store which included the company’s “PFresh” assortment of perishable foods, and a Walgreens Flagship location, showed what is available in the downtown hustle and bustle for city shoppers.

The third stop, at the newest Pete’s Fresh Market in Oakbrook Terrace, gave participants a view into high-volume, high-service and expanded selection.

Walgreens’ Flagship concept offers an Uptown Market section with prepared foods, including fresh-cut produce, salads, sandwiches, fresh-squeezed juice, in-house prepared sushi and a limited selection of whole fresh produce under Walgreens’ Nice! and Delish labels, said store manager Maddy Rodriguez.

The concept is popular with city consumers looking for a quick bite to eat, Rodriguez said.

“Just the Uptown Market section, in one week, has higher sales than the average Walgreens store,” she said.

The Uptown Market concept also includes gourmet cheeses, higher-end foods and an expanded wine selection.

The Pete’s Fresh Market on the tour is the company’s latest offering for Chicago shoppers, and the company’s first suburban store. The store, the Chicago-based retailer’s ninth, opened in April 2012, said Vanessa Dremonas, vice president of operations.

The store includes a wide selection of fresh produce, in-house fresh squeezed juice, prepared foods, expanded selections of organic and natural foods and focuses on the company’s core values, including a strong emphasis on large produce displays.

“What you see here is what Pete’s is like every day,” Dremonas said.

The company’s expansion allowed for more prepared items and an expanded selection, Dremonas said, “but our heart and soul is still produce.”



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