Price Chopper CEO: Albany stores set for updates

Price Chopper Delaware Ave Albany exterior

The much discussed Delaware Ave store in Albany.

I'm the CEO of a supermarket chain that just announced it's changing its name -- ask me anything.

OK, that's not exactly how Golub Corp CEO Jerry Golub introduced himself on Facebook Friday afternoon. But the huge FB thread -- more than 500 comments -- took on an AMA-style feel with Golub fielding questions and comments about Price Chopper's impending name change and modernization campaign.

This response from Golub, to a question about the company upgrading its stores in urban areas, caught our eye and we thought it'd be interesting bit to people around the city of Albany (emphasis added):

Jerry Golub: We will also be updating our smaller and urban stores. The first will be our Delaware and Madison Avenue stores beginning early next year although they won't be getting the complete Market 32 identity right away. We want to introduce the complete Market 32 concept in the larger stores and then apply it to the smaller stores.

Update: We checked with a Price Chopper rep about the updates planned, and specific details aren't ready to be released yet. But the planned updates were described as part of the chain's overall modernization effort.

A few other exchanges that caught our eye...

Why spend $300 million on rebranding?

Jerry Golub to Lisa Jones: This is actually a big misconception that needs to be cleared up. We're investing $300MM in an extensive plan to modernize our stores that will entirely change their look and feel, while offering an enhanced selection of products, a focus on health and wellness, and other elements that will enhance the shopping experience. The portion of the total investment that pertains to the name change is actually very small. Updating our stores is something that is necessary if we want to continue to be relevant and meet our customers changing needs. We would be spending close to that amount to update and modernize our stores, even without a rebranding effort. The good news is that this money will not only be used to update the look and feel of our stores, but will be used to add important elements and offers to improve the shopping experience.

Why change the name?

Jerry Golub to Samantha Messler: As I said earlier, we did not start with the intention of changing our name. We started with the goal of determining the type of shopping experience that our customers are looking for now and in the future. Once we had a clear vision of what that experience will include, and how it will be unique and relevant, we had to hold up a mirror to the Price Chopper name and ask ourselves if the current name reflects where we are going as a company. That's when it became clear to us that the "Price Chopper" name was too limiting and needed to be changed.

But that name!

Jerry Golub to Jon Groden: It's interesting to me that so many people have expressed negative opinions about the name... it's boring, not memorable, the "32" makes no sense, etc. Price Chopper is a very descriptive name - the name by itself creates expectations. Market32 is not descriptive by design. We want it to be able to evolve with our company over time. If you have heard the name "Google" 15 years ago, would you have liked it? And now it's a verb! We don't expect to become nearly as prominent as Google, but the point is that a name is what you make it!

Other names?

Jerry Golub to Nancy Prince Kruegler: Honestly, I don't even remember. #market32 received the most positive customer response to all of the names we considered.

Why not a local design firm?

Jerry Golub to Elisa D'Alessandro: Hi Elisa - there have been many different opinions expressed regarding the logo. Creating a logo that will be effective and memorable is an art, not a science and we believe the logo is a great reflection of what you'll find inside our Market 32 stores. I would ask that you wait until everything comes together before passing judgement on the logo. We chose an agency that has extensive experience in supermarket design and branding - we felt this would be the best choice for us given the importance of these decisions.
____

Earlier on AOA:
+ Around the virtual water cooler: Price Chopper name change
+ Price Chopper is rebranding itself as Market 32
+ Where the supermarkets are -- and aren't

Comments

Unfortunately a makeover won't fix the footprint of the Delaware store, which is all wrong for an urban context.

'If it ain't broke don't fix it'.
We need a full service grocery in this area, so don't take anything away.

That being said it doesn't seem that the Madison Ave location has room for anything else. They could add construction on to the side area where some grocery carts are put before customers drive away. I would like to see another Ben & Bill's in that space. Most of your readers will not remember that Pine Hills neighborhood had the best deli for years 'JOE'S!

The Golubs should buy the Stewarts chain and modernize those folks. IMHO, based on gas prices, shoppers will frequent stores that are closer when grocery shopping. Stewarts (with forward thinking, something I feel they lack) can supply 90% of what shoppers need at reasonable prices and GAS.

I'll believe it when I see it.

The last time improvements were promised and delivered on for this location, it was largely just token cosmetic changes and did nothing to address the many problems that exist with this store.

Yawn. With the Cap. District now sporting Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, can we get a Wegman's?

Does this mean they're planning to go all upscale but they thought the name "Price Hiker" wouldn't wash?

YES YES YES MG! I shop at the Madison price chopper because I don't have 45 minutes to park, walk a mile to the back of the store for meat and milk and then get back to the car.

newer is not always BETTER - and although wegmans is a chain that sound like heaven - everything I've heard about their real estate is BIG STORE BIG STORE BIG STORE!

The Madison ave store even after renovations will still be the 11 pm beer run store. will it soon be only boutique beer ?

The planned refreshes for the Madison ave store has piqued my interest. I was fortunate to see a nearly identical supermarket transformation in my neighborhood in DC. An old, dated supermarket that sat on the back of its property was transformed by pushing the new building to the front of the property, becoming wonderfully inviting and creating smart, multi-level parking behind the store (parking structure, but done right!). It turned an eye-sore that was hazardous to pedestrians into a neighborhood asset. Lets hope the Golubs do better with their redesign / refresh on this store than they did with their name! :)

Just to let you know..in case you weren't aware..I first brought this whole Price Chopper T-shirt issue up in my TU blog Wednesday night. It was read by 17,664 people. The Golubs issued a 'cease and desist' order on Friday. Thank

YES! Any improvements to the Delaware Ave store would be welcomed. It would be great if the real issues are addressed (like gross produce) and not just a visual upgrade.

Everyone please be sure to thank Ken Screven for his bravery and tireless efforts in taking on local satire.

When we moved here from CT 11 years ago I was appalled by the choices in supermarkets and supermarket alternatives in this area. The only bright light was Honest Weight in Albany, and that was pretty depressing. When we travelled to CT or MA to visit friends and family we took a cooler along, and stocked up at a Whole Foods Market on the drive home.

Now, finally, we have a lot of choices, and a lot of really good choices, and only now has Price Chopper concluded that doing the bare minimum for this market isn't good enough. It's going to take a lot of persuading for me to believe that PC/M32 is up to the job. When the Bistro opened a few months ago we paid a visit. It looked nice, but the food was being cooked the same old way, with preservatives to increase shelf-life and other unnecessary chemical ingredients.

If M32 wants to compete with WFM and TJ's they're going to have to do a lot more than put a pretty bow on their stores. Consumers are so much better educated now, and they're willing to pay more for "clean" food and informative labeling. I'd like to hear what M32 plans to do to address consumer concerns like GMO labeling, allergens, humane raising of animals, and the like.

Maybe they should focus a little more of the efforts on chopping those prices. Price Chopper is consistently the most expensive on groceries between Walmart, Shop Rite, and Hannaford. I'm not counting Whole Foods as that is more of a specialty store imho, and wouldn't expect to find good prices there.

Instead of putting the new markets in Wilton and Clifton Park first, why not put the first one right there on Delaware Avenue? That would be really innovative!

It would be a way to show the people of Albany that PC really does care about their customers and that they are truly ashamed about the condition of that store. Even they know that is the SOLE reason why people of all races and economic backgrounds have called that store "Ghetto Chopper" for so long.


Price Chopper is committed to its city stores, spokeswoman Mona Golub said, and the two Albany stores are about to undergo remodeling. "In Albany, Watervliet and Cohoes, we've been operating stores for 30-plus years. So that time and experience has helped us understand what the community needs," she said.

Times Union, October 18, 2014

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