Richmond is stuffed with grocery stores — and more are on the way. Two German chains, Lidl and Aldi, will soon have a total of 18 locations in the metro area. Wegmans Food Markets Inc., the high-end grocer with a fanatical following, enters the market this month with the scheduled May 22 opening of its Chesterfield County store. Its second location, in the West Broad Marketplace just west of Short Pump, is set to open in August.
Meanwhile, the big fish try to eat the little fish. Apollo Global Management, part-owners of Hostess snack foods, bought Fresh Market in March. And stockholders have approved the merger of the parent companies of Food Lion and Martin’s Food Market. It's still too early to speculate on what steps federal regulators might require, a company spokesman says, but a merger could mean the sell-off of Martin’s stores in Richmond to another grocer. Finally, Publix Super Markets, Inc., a Florida franchise, is arriving in Glen Allen in 2018.
The head spins.
George Hoffer, a University of Richmond economics instructor who long has studied the city’s grocery scene, says we’re witnessing a shift from traditional markets to multiple store models occupying particular consumer niches. It’s about food — and aesthetics, he explains.
“There is no brand loyalty,” Hoffer says. “Only the kooky stores, like Whole Foods, can inspire zealous customers.”
Richmond’s North Side, East End, and parts of the South Side continue their grocery-store drought. But, last month, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority hinted of a possible grocery store as part of a future East End development.
Below is a look at a shifting grocery-store landscape.
Only includes traditional grocery store chains includes traditional grocery store chains. (Infographic by Sarah Lockwood)
Aldi and Fresh Market declined to provide data on inventory or employees. (Infographic by Sarah Lockwood)
(Infographic by Sarah Lockwood)