Items tagged with 'Price Chopper'
A bit we stumbled over recently while doing history of Price Chopper research: The first supermarket self-checkout station was installed at the Price Chopper in Clifton Park in 1992.
The story of the tech's rollout at Price Chopper was part of a recent NPR Planet Money podcast about the self checkout, which focused the inventor of the devices, a Canadian doctor named Howard Schneider. Here's a clip (from about the 10:30 mark) -- Schneider's just had his pitch somewhat harshly turned down by Stop & Shop and he's discouraged. But he get's a meeting with Price Chopper:
The italics are the hosts talking.
The head person [at Price Chopper] actually saw the machines and he said, "I like it. Let's do it." And after that everyone's very nice.
The CEO says we're not going to buy the machines from you. But you can use one of our stores in Upstate New York as a real world experiment.
And on August 5, 1992, grocery store shoppers what may be, depending on your definition, what we're going to call the first fully-automatic check-out machines.
One of the big local news stories this week is the Reuters report that the parent company of Price Chopper is in "advanced talks" for a billion-dollar sale of the supermarket chain to Albertson's, a huge chain of chains headquartered out west.
The Reuters story is based on unnamed sources, and the central players are no-commenting it. (Neil Golub was a little more pointed in not addressing the story.) But the idea that the Golub Corp has been exploring some sort of sale or deal for Price Chopper/Market32 has popped up recently, most notably in a report in the trade journal Supermarket News this past August. And it fits with the overarching trend of consolidation withing the supermarket industry.
So, if a Price Chopper sale is in the works -- and that's still if -- it would be one of the biggest Capital Region news stories in recent years. Here are a few reasons why...
The Golub Corporation -- the privately-held parent company of Price Chopper/Market 32 based in Schenectady -- announced Wednesday that it has a new CEO. And notably, the person is not a Golub.
Scott Grimmett, who had been the company chief operating officer (he was the first non-Golub to hold that role), is succeeding Jerry Golub in the CEO role. Grimmett (that's him on the right) joined the Golub Corp in 2012 after working for Safeway for 37 years. He's been part of the company succession plan since he was hired, according to a press release.
Press release blurbage:
"This is an exciting time for our company," said Neil Golub, chairman of the board. "While international conglomerates and Wall St. continue to consolidate our industry, we are investing in our future as a strong, American-owned, family-built regional chain. The design work that we invested in Market Bistro (circa 2010-2014), coupled with the brand-defining innovation that has given rise to our first few Market 32 concept stores has not only laid the groundwork for our continued growth, but also fueled the acceleration of our plans to modernize our stores under the Market 32 banner. "
Jerry Golub is now vice chair of the company's board and will be leading a committee focused on accelerating the switch from the Price Chopper brand to Market 32, according to the press release.
We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donuts -- and pick his favorites -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.
Donuts don't have to come from a standalone bakery. You can also find them in your local neighborhood grocery store.
The ones at Price Chopper's Market Bistro in Latham make an impression because the store's donut rack includes a variety of signature square donuts in addition to the classics. To the eye the signature donuts are reminiscent of the more famous specimens found at shops such as NYC's Doughnut Plant and elsewhere.
But are the Market Bistro donuts any good? And which ones are worthy to pack into your dozen? Well, there's only one way to find out.
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...
Everybody eats. And (pretty much) everyone shops for food.
So the news that Price Chopper is changing its name to Market 32 prompted a lot of reactions, even more so because the company is a local institution.
For a while on Tuesday our Twitter feed was jammed with people commenting, criticizing, cracking jokes about the change. It was the topic of the day at the virtual water cooler.
Here's a quick collection of a bunch of those tweets.
Price Chopper's parent company announced Tuesday morning that it's rebranding as "Market 32," part of larger campaign to modernize its stores. The "32" is reference to the chain being founded in 1932.
The company says the new stores will have "expanded food service options, an enhanced product mix and a re-emphasis on customer service."
From a press release:
"Market 32 represents the next leap forward for our company. We have evolved from the Public Service Market to Central Market to Price Chopper by responding to customers' changing needs over time and Market 32 is the next natural progression for us," said Neil Golub, Price Chopper's executive chairman of the board. "Early learnings gleaned from our Market Bistro concept store have put our next generation in an excellent position to make this move today." ...
"Market 32 combines what we are hearing from our customers and what we are learning at Market Bistro with some of the best thinking in the retail industry, and will focus on delivering a distinctively different shopping experience to our customers. Our stores will meet customers' needs today and for decades to come. Most importantly, though, we will continue to offer great value for great food and service," said Jerel Golub, Price Chopper's president and CEO.
That the Golub Corp, PC's parent company, is looking to up its game chain-wide isn't surprising. The supermarket industry is famously competitive and intense.
The new Price Chopper Market Bistro -- the company's long-planned concept store in Latham -- is just about ready for its grand opening. But you can check out much of what's new right now, as we did this week when we got a tour.
There's been a lot of change in the Capital Region supermarket scene over the last few years -- a lot of new stores, new competitors, new upgrades. But it's not a stretch to say that there is nothing else like Market Bistro in this area.
Here's a quick photo tour and a few bits.
Today's moment of odd seafood: Price Chopper reports it recently received three rare orange lobsters as part its regular shipment of lobster. You know, they kind of looked like they'd been cooked, but... weren't. (Here's a closer look.)
The unusually-hued crustaceans ended up at three stores in New York: Guilderland, Middletown, and Binghamton. The lobsters will be held in the stores until later this week, when the company says they'll be sent to aquariums. (Somewhere an Albany Aquarium proponent is sighing at the missed opportunity.)
Update July 3: More orange lobsters have turned up at Price Choppers -- two in Glens Falls, and one near Syracuse. [Syracuse.com]
Price Chopper gets its lobsters from Canada, via a Cape Cod-based company called, appropriately, Lobster Trap. A PC spokesperson tells us that the company's VP of seafood merchandising has never seen an orange lobster in his 17 years with the supermarket chain -- and their contact at the Lobster Trap has only seen one in 33 years.
Updated Wednesday morning
State attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced today that his office reached an agreement with Price Chopper over an investigation into what the AG's office says was "deceptive" advertising of the chain's double coupon policy. From the press release:
After implementing a corporate-wide policy that limited the doubling of coupons "up to 99 cents," Price Chopper failed to disclose this restriction in its advertisements leading consumers to believe that $1.00 coupons would be doubled. Prior to this corporate policy, Price Chopper's double coupon policies had previously varied from store to store. A number of stores doubled coupons up to $1.00 whereas others restricted the face value of coupons that could be doubled.
Coupons draw consumers into stores with valuable offers, leading to the purchase of other goods. Restrictions on double coupons, which can make a significant difference in savings, must be clear to consumers who shop on a budget. In just April and May of 2012, Price Chopper shoppers redeemed 34,616,602 coupons valued at $.99 or greater; approximately 8 million of these were valued at $1.00 or more.
The AG's office says that as part of the agreement, Price Chopper is "required to clearly and conspicuously disclose any face value limits on coupon redemption." It will also pay the state $100,000 in penalties and costs.
Price Chopper response
Price Chopper released a response to the AG's announcement Tuesday afternoon, disputing the way the agreement was described:
We were appalled and disappointed by the inflammatory press release distributed earlier today by the New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG), as its portrayal of Price Chopper's conduct is false, misleading and inaccurate in significant respects, and is not supported by the Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD) to which Price Chopper agreed. In fact, contrary to the Press Release, the AOD makes no assertion that Price Chopper acted intentionally to harm consumers or that its practices caused any losses, let alone millions of lost savings to its customers. We've been in direct contact with the OAG to express our concerns and are awaiting their response.
What the OAG actually asserts in the AOD is that Price Chopper inconsistently denoted in its advertising the dollar value limit of its double coupon policy during select weeks in June 2011, January 2012 and April 2012 in Syracuse and Cortland, NY. Our decision to sign this agreement was reached after considering the likely cost of alternative actions, and because settling the matter will allow us to focus on serving our customers, including offering double coupons up to $.99 in all 130 of our stores.
Update: Here's the "assurance of discontinuation" from the state AG's office, as posted by the Syracuse Post-Standard. It makes the AG's office's issues with Price Chopper a bit more clear. The bulk of its complaint is an allegation that Price Chopper didn't note double coupon restrictions in some of its print ads, and that the policies posted at some stores differed from what was posted on the company's website.
By the way: Here are Price Chopper's coupon policies, as listed on its website. After the jump, links to the coupon policies for other supermarkets in the Capital Region...
It's pretty much what it sounds like -- a counter in the prepared foods section for getting growlers filled with craft beer. And it's the Chopper's first test of the concept.
So how does it work?
Price Chopper announced today details for the "concept store" it's building at the location of its Latham store. The Chopper is pitching the project as "the most ambitious project ever undertaken" by the supermarket chain.
From the press release:
The most notable new feature will be a multi-faceted, full-service culinary offer in the form of 16 themed, fast-casual/cooked-fresh-to-order dining experiences, accompanied by in-store seating for 140 guests and seasonal outdoor seating. Among the moderately priced dining areas will be a Ben & Bill's NYC-Style deli; a Chef's Grill where a variety of specialty dishes - from steak to mussels to seafood to antipasto - will be prepared fresh for each guest; a Mexican themed restaurant featuring international flavors; a classic pizzeria, a meat rotisserie offering succulent pork and beef, in addition to poultry; an old-fashioned sub shop; a New England style fish fry restaurant, and a full-service salad and vegetarian/vegan bar, just to name a few. Other specialty restaurant concepts still being finalized will be unveiled in the coming months.
Also planned are a complete cooking school in which local/regional and national chefs and specialty instructors will teach recipes, techniques, trends and meal solutions for classes, parties and special events, the growing and harvesting of some fresh produce right in the store, and the building of a drive-through pharmacy.
More details and concept images are after the jump.
Price Chopper aiming to complete the store sometime in late 2013/early 2014. The company says it will also makeover eight of its other stores in the area over the next two year. Counting recently finished store remodels -- like the one in the Slingerlands -- PC says it will put almost $90 million into upgrading Capital Region stores.
Of course, all this comes in the context of much increased supermarket competition in the Capital Region:
+ ShopRite just opened its third store -- in Slingerlands, right across from a Price Chopper -- has plans for a fourth, and seems intent on going head-to-head with the Chopper.
+ Hannaford has been remodeling stores.
+ The Fresh Market is now here.
+ Trader Joe's opened this year.
+ Honest Weight Food Co-op is moving ahead with its new location.
+ Whole Foods is planning to open at Colonie Center sometime in early 2014.
+ And there's also the unnamed, unconfirmed chain that's reportedly been looking at the Latham Circle Mall site.
The competition is forcing everyone to step up their games.
It's Supermarket Week again on AOA. All this week we'll have posts comparing, thinking, and talking about supermarkets. Hey, we all have to eat.
Yes, that grand tradition -- the Supermarket Showdown -- has returned. As we have for the past (gulp) four years, we price checked a basket of items across the local supermarket chains.
New this year: ShopRite.
Can it unseat Walmart, the four-time defending champ? And how have the other two players reacted to its arrival?
Supermarket Week is back on AOA. All this week we'll have posts comparing, thinking, and talking about supermarkets. Hey, we all have to eat.
I've been hearing a lot lately about home grocery delivery. The new Albany ShopRite offers home delivery, and the Westgate Price Chopper recently rolled out a similar service (and made sure we knew about it -- we received Price Chopper flyers advertising the service in the mail every day for weeks).
I've been intrigued by the idea. After my daughter was born last year many things changed within our family, including my work schedule and our income. I usually do each week's shopping on my Mondays off, with my one-year-old in tow. Sometimes this is awesome. Sometimes it means rushing through the store doing everything I can to stave off a toddler meltdown ("Here, hold this bag of beans. No no, don't eat the bag. Ok, now we have to give it to the lady to scan. She'll give it back! I promise!") And then there's the part where I do a circus routine to get the baby and the groceries in the house.
The idea of having someone else do the shopping -- and deliver the goods to my door -- is very appealing. So recently I gave each service a go.
The bialy is dead. Long live the bialy.
Maybe you've read Mimi Sheraton's The Bialy Eaters, in which the food writer travels the world in search of an authentic Bialystocker kuchen. There is actually a town in Poland called Bialystock, and at one point in time it was filled with Jews and bakeries that would churn out these hot, yeasty rolls which have only a passing similarity to bagels in that they are round.
From Ms. Sheraton's research, in the old country these were light and pillowy on the outside, with a crisp compressed center, which was filled with onions, poppy seeds, and bread crumbs. They were dusted with flour, baked in a wood or coal-fired oven, and came out with a thin, burnished brown crust.
After searching the world over, starting at Kossar's in New York City, and traveling to Poland, Israel, France and Argentina she came to a sad conclusion: One cannot find a Bialystocker kuchen like the ones made in that famous village before World War II. Most of the Jews from Bialystock were killed or driven into exile, and with them went the bialy.
That's not to say there aren't some delicious bialys around the world which come close. Oddly, the Capital Region was never mentioned in her book. However, if Mimi Sheraton ever made it out to the Price Chopper on Eastern Parkway, I think she would be quite pleased.
Price Chopper announced today that it's discounting its gasoline discount program (press release post jump).
Starting May 13, AdvantEdge card holders will earn a 10 cent/gallon gasoline discount for every $100 they spend. The current rate is 10 cents off per gallon at Sunoco for every $50 spent at Price Chopper. (It's been that way since PC expanded the program to this area in 2009.)
The supermarket chain is trying to frame the gas discount cut as a shift to more discounts on food. It says it's in the process of lowering prices on 10,000 products. Said Price Chopper in response to critical comments on the company's Facebook page:
We have had an overwhelming number of customers tell us that they want to save more money on food. We are lowering prices all over the store and our ads will be hotter than ever. ... We will also be offering even more ways to earn fuel rewards in our ads though the purchases of specific products...Check it out this Sunday!
It's fair to say the change wasn't going over well with people there (understatement).
The gasoline discount isn't some sort of fundamental human right. The company doesn't owe it to anyone. But it did help mitigate Price Chopper's often higher non-sale prices (though not necessarily enough to bring them in line with competitors). It'll be interesting to see if the change actually does result in lower food prices -- and in what way (sales, coupons, whatever).
The new Albany ShopRite opens this Thursday. If the opening of the Niskayuna location is any indication, the scene will probably be a zoo. Such is the product of the Capital Region's apparent supermarket obsession.
We were invited to check out the new Albany store today, and went for two reasons: 1) to gawk at perfectly stocked aisles and 2) to maybe find out why ShopRite has decided to build four stores in the Albany area -- and why now.
Not surprising: Wegmans was again the #1 ranked supermarket in Consumer Reports annual survey of its readers with a score of 88.
Number two? Trader Joe's (again) with a score of 86.
A lot of the other local chains didn't score that badly, though their ranks were a bit lower:
Hannaford ranked #19 (score 79) | Aldi #20 (79) | ShopRite #24 (78) | Price Chopper #30 (76) | Walmart #51 (69)
Fresh Market wasn't included in the rankings.
CR says the survey is a measure of "overall satisfaction" -- and differences of fewer than five points in a supermarket score are not meaningful. Also: "These findings represent the experiences of our readers, not necessarily those of the general population."
About Trader Joe's... A few people have asked if there's an opening date, yet. As of two weeks ago, the company said it still didn't have a date.
photo: Flickr user chrstine592
Prompted by a discussion earlier this week about chain supermarkets and food deserts, we figured it'd be interesting to see how supermarkets in the Capital Region are distributed geographically. It might give us a better sense of what sort of supermarket access there is for each part of the area.
The resulting map -- along with another map of officially designated food deserts -- and some quick discussion, after the jump.
Over the last month or so we've noticed signs popping up on dairy cases at both Hannaford and Price Chopper noting that there's an organic milk shortage. And the shelves in the case have appeared rather bare at times. (We were the ones who took the last half-gallon of organic milk at the Slingerlands Price Chopper the other day. Sorry about that.)
So, what's going on?
Thursday was the official groundbreaking for the Vista Technology Campus in Slingerlands. A lot of the attention was focused on one of the tenants already signed up: ShopRite. That makes three stores now officially announced/open for the area (there's a fourth planned for Colonie). ShopRite continues what appears to be a strategy to go to head-to-head with Price Chopper -- the Vista ShopRite is pretty much be right across the road from the Slingerlands Chopper. [Spotlight] [YNN]
Planning for the Vista site has been going on for a few years -- but Thursday's announcements would seem to indicate it's picking up momentum. It's a potentially significant development project. The site includes 150 acres of land planned for development. And the developer -- Columbia Development -- says its plan includes up 1.4 million square feet of office, research and manufacturing facilities, medical office, and retail space.
A few quick thoughts about all this...
Updated at 3:30 pm after hearing from Wakefern/ShopRite.
The Golub Corp -- which owns Price Chopper -- is suing the cooperative behind ShopRite over ads the cooperative allegedly bought on Google, the Times Union first reported today. Golub is alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition. (We pulled the filing -- it's embedded after the jump.)
We noticed the ads last week while looking up some stuff about Price Chopper. A search for "Price Chopper" on October 20 returned the regular search results -- and at the top: a text ad for ShopRite. We took a screengrab (above) and figured we might eventually use it as evidence in what appears to a supermarket war that's starting to heat up.
Golub saw the situation rather differently. From the filing:
Upon information and belief, Defendant Wakefern has infringed Plaintiff Golub's registered mark in interstate commerce by various acts, including purchasing keywords including or relating to the PRICE CHOPPER® mark and engaging in Internet advertising campaigns using the PRICE CHOPPER® mark, to sell, offer for sale and advertise Wakefern's retail grocery goods and/or services. Defendant's use of the PRICE CHOPPER® mark is without permission or authority of Plaintiff Golub and such use by Defendant is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake and/or to deceive.
Golub alleges Wakefern also bought similar ads on Bing and Yahoo (and it includes screengrabs in the filing).
Price Chopper says it's rolling out an online shopping service called "Shops4U" next week at its Niskayuna store. From the press release:
To access Shops4U, Price Chopper customers simply go to the online ordering tab on www.pricechopper.com and pull down the menu for Shops4U. Once they register, customers can pick and choose from among tens of thousands of food items carried in their local Price Chopper store. Orders can be picked up at the store or delivered to homes, offices or community gathering spaces in the Niskayuna area.
In addition to the online component, Shops4U also allows customers to interact with specially trained Price Chopper teammates who will go through the store to select the best in fresh meat, produce and seafood, along with bakery and packaged grocery items. When a customer places an order online, the pick-up time is indicated. The order will be selected and ready at that time for pick up. The customer need only drive up to the designated pick-up parking spots in front of the Niskayuna store and call the phone number indicated on the sign there. The grocery order will be brought out to the car, where the guest can pay by credit card and drive off, without ever having to leave the car.
Delivery orders will be brought to the home, business or community gathering space by Price Chopper's professional delivery staff within a designated time period.
The service costs $10, plus another $5.99 for delivery (with a discount for the first order, and every fifth order after that). The full press release is pasted after the jump.
The company says it plans to eventually extend the service to all of its stores.
In what is almost surely not a coincidence, Shops4U is rolling out just before the planned grand opening of the new ShopRite in Niskayuna on October 2. And what's one of the services ShopRite's been touting: "ShopRite from Home," an order ahead and delivery service.
We're not buzzing with excitement over ShopRite coming (back) to the Capital Region -- but if it can prompt competition with the players already here (especially on price), that's not a bad thing.
While perusing Progressive Grocer recently*, we came across this interview with Neil Golub, the CEO of the company that owns Price Chopper.
A few bits that were interesting:
+ Ben and Bill Golub, who had been in the wholesale food business in Schenectady, set up their first retail store after checking out a market on Long Island in 1931.
+ The market they set up -- "The Public Service Market" -- opened in Green Island in 1932. (The first Central Market, which would become the name for their chain, opened in Schenectady in 1935.)
+ The company changed the markets' name to Price Chopper in 1973. It also made the switch to being open 24/7. Golub says sales went up 30 percent after making the switch to being always open.
The interviewed is embedded above. And here's more on Price Chopper's history from its website.
(Video of the interview is embedded after the jump. Caution: it auto-plays.)
* What, you're not reading Progressive Grocer?
Updated September 13 at 7:30 am
Ben & Jerry's has a new flavor: Schweddy Balls. You've probably heard. It's been all over the interwebs. It's inspired (if that's the word) by the famous SNL in which candy maker Pete Schweddy (played by Alec Baldwin) brings his "Schweddy Balls" to an NPR food show (it's embedded after the jump).
Anyway, Fox44 in Burlington is reporting that "all" Price Chopper locations won't be carrying the ice cream because of the name. We put in a request for comment with Price Chopper Thursday afternoon about the story, but haven't heard back (we'll update if we do), so we can't confirm. They've admittedly had more important things to focus on this week. (
We also didn't hear back from Hannaford -- maybe no one wants to touch the Schweddy Balls issue. Hannaford got back to us -- their response after the jump.)
Said a Ben & Jerry's spokesman to Time about the name: "The name is irreverent. But we've always been about having some irreverence and having some fun ... We're not trying to offend people. Our fans get the humor."
So what's in Schweddy Balls? From Ben & Jerry's site: "vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls." Reviews of the flavor have been... mixed. [NY Mag Grub Street]
The Ben & Jerry's scoop shop on Lark Street in Albany says the
flavor is currently available there (it was sold out as of the evening of September 12). The RPI scoop shop says it might have the flavor this weekend. And the Saratoga shop says maybe by the end of next week.
Via Fred comes this pic of a Mexican Coca-Cola display at the Slingerlands Price Chopper this afternoon:
Made with Real Sugar
Product of Mexico 355 ml
The price for one of the glass bottles: $1.39.
Soda snobs have long touted the superiority of Mexican Coke -- made with sugar from sugar cane -- over the domestic swill, made with high-fructose corn syrup. It was once hard to find in the US (you could often score it at places like taquerias in the Southwest and California), but a Costco started carrying it a few years back. And recently it's spread to more big box stores and supermarkets (apparently with Coca-Cola's blessing).
This is the first time we've heard of it being carried in a Price Chopper or Hannaford. (Daniel spotted some during the opening of the new Fresh Market in Latham.) Until now, Coke drinkers looking for the good stuff had to wait for the kosher-for-Passover version.
Earlier on AOA: We enjoyed a Mexican coke with our taco from Tortillaville in Hudson.
A man in the Syracuse area has alleged that a Price Chopper rep contacted his friend's employer and requested "disciplinary action be taken" against his friend because of a negative comment the friend made about the supermarket chain on Twitter.
This story is so odd -- and outrageous -- that we met it with great skepticism when we encountered it late Monday afternoon. But as the story quickly spread across the web Monday night, large parts of it appear to be true.
Local Ocean is an interesting operation. It's a huge warehouse space filled with tanks for raising fish. The setup is a mostly closed system that recycles its water supply with a filtration system that uses bacteria. The plant/farm/fish bowls reportedly cost more than $10 million to build. The company says the system should be flexible enough to raise a range of fish, both saltwater and fresh water. (There's a short video clip of Local Ocean officials talking about the concept embedded after the jump.)
Seafood stocks all around the world are under pressure from overfishing. Traditional fish farms have stepped up production to meet demand, but they've come under criticism for their environmental impact. That has some people hoping that indoor fish farms will provide a viable -- and more sustainable -- alternative.
Price Chopper says the Local Ocean fish will be available in six stores Hudson, Shoppers World in Clifton Park, Loudon Plaza in Latham, Bethlehem, Niskayuna and Saratoga Springs (Route 50). It'll be $9.99 a pound.
Earlier on AOA: Hannaford to sell only sustainably-sourced seafood
photo: Price Chopper
Price Chopper has extended its Fuel AdvantEdge gas discount program to CDTA fares.
Here's how it works: This discount is based on 10 cents/gallon up to 20 gallon discount for gas. So for every $50 you spend at Price Chopper (while swiping your AdvantEdge card, of course), they'll knock $2 off the price of an eligible bus pass (31 day rolling, 10
day trip, Star tickets). Spend $100, save $4 on a bus pass. Spend $150, save $6. And so on. (As with the discount for gas, the credits can be used once and expire after 90 days.)
Here's a brochure that lists all the details.
The Chopper and CDTA are touting this program as maybe the first of its kind in the nation. They're running it for a 90-day trial period (now to May), "with the option to continue contingent upon its success."
photo: Price Chopper
We noticed this sign and cart when we walked into Hannaford on Central Ave in Albany the other day. It touts how much you could have saved if you bought the cart of items at Hannaford instead of Price Chopper. The items in the cart included stuff like macaroni and cheese, Nutrigrain bars and peanut butter.
Of course, Hannaford is going to set this up so it can come out on top. It proclaimed that the Chopper's "cart" was 14 percent more expensive. Price Chopper could probably pick its own cart and come out cheaper than Hannaford.
When we did our annual price check of 40 items last year, we found that Price Chopper was about three percent more expensive than Hannaford. They were both more expensive than Walmart.
Also: Here's another bit to stoke the rumors about Wegmans and the Capital Region.
First witnesses in Bruno trial, doctors flooded with requests for flu shot, public info meetings on post office closures, Thriller dance cancelled for lack of space
Here's a rundown of notable election results from yesterday. In some of the highest profile races: Jerry Jennings cruised to victory in the Albany mayoral election, Paula Mahan beat Mike Hoblock for Colonie supervisor, Republicans swept the contested seats on the Saratoga Springs city council, Republicans Bob Mirch and Neil Kelleher were both bounced from the Rensselaer County legislature. [AOA] [TU] [TU] [Saratogian] [Troy Record]
The new optical scan voting machines seemed to work out OK yesterday. [TU]
The first witnesses in the Joe Bruno trial took the stand yesterday. The head of an Albany investment firm testified that his consulting payments to Bruno increased after the senator became majority leader -- and that Bruno was responsible for bringing in $400,000 in revenue from labor unions. A former Bruno staff attorney testified that he "was not involved" in Bruno's business ventures, but did say he provided legal advice about agreements between Bruno and clients. [CapNews9] [Fox23] [TU]
Local doctors' offices say they've been deluged with patients calling for the H1N1 vaccine. [TU]
Court halts mandatory flu shots for health workers, stabbing in Glenmont, small pumpkin crop, Paterson-Schwarzenegger friendship
A state Supreme Court judge has issued a temporary halt to the state-mandated flu shots for health care workers. A handful of lawsuits, including one filed by three Albany Med nurses, argue that state Department of Health overstepped its authority in requiring the vaccinations. The state health department says it's "confident that the regulation will be upheld." [NYT] [TU] [AP/Troy Record] [WTEN]
Neil Breslin and a group of other state senators are calling for Hiram Monserrate, recently convicted of misdemeanor assault, to quit -- or get kicked out of the Senate. Breslin said that Monserrate's exit is a necessary step toward the state Senate earning back the public's trust. [TU] [AP/Troy Record]
Investors with an Albany investment company currently under federal investigation say they raised red flags about the operation more than two years ago. [TU]
Teen shot while riding bike, council president candidate accused of sexual harassment, attendance down slightly at Track, demolition begins on Wellington
Lenny Ricchiuti -- head of the Albany Police Athletic League and a candidate for Common Council president -- has been accused of sexual harassment by a former PAL employee. Ricchiuti is running against Carolyn McLaughlin for the Common Council presidency. [TU] [TU]
The Bethlehem police officer who's accused the town's police chief of using a racial slur has had his service weapons taken away -- the town cited the officer's "emotional state.". [TU]
Critics of Albany's charter schools say the schools score better on state tests because they have lower numbers of special education students. [TU]
Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce that his office has not found any evidence that a special unit of the state police had been assembled to gather information about politicians. The issue rose out of the "Troopergate" dispute between Joe Bruno and Eliot Spitzer. [NYT] [AP/Troy Record]
No progress in state Senate, mid-year budget change could be necessary, alleged pharmacy robber nabbed, stimulating the sign economy, hunting for what's left of Henry Hudson
The state Senate had two more in-and-out sessions this past weekend. Negotiations are apparently going on behind the scenes. The big sticking point remains leadership of the chamber -- specifically Pedro Espada's role as president pro tem. David Paterson is reportedly telling Democrats they may just have to get over it. [Newsday] [Daily Politics] [Buffalo News] [NYDN]
State comptroller Tom DiNapoli says it's looking like the state will be short on money later this year -- and a mid-year budget adjustment will probably be necessary. Of course, the would be virtually impossible with the state Senate locked in its current mess. [NYDN]
A state audit of the Schenectady Metroplex Authority reports that the org isn't tracking whether its investment projects are meeting job creation targets and that it's leaving parking money on the table. The authority disputed many of the findings -- and said it's purposefully not charging for parking. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
Is it a coincidence that the owner of the construction company with a virtual lock on big projects in the City of Albany is BFF with the mayor and police chief? [TU]
- Every time you spend $50 at the Chopper, you become eligible for a 10 cent/gallon discount at Sunoco
- Those 10 cent discounts build on each other -- so if you spend $150 at the Chopper, you get a 30 cent/gallon discount on gas.
- The grocery totals add up over the course of 90 days -- tracked by your AdvantEdge account.
- You can "spend" your accumulated discount on a single gas purchase of up to 20 gallons.
- Go back to step 1.
At least, that's how we think this works.
It's pretty easy to spend $200 at the Chopper over the course of a month. That would lead to a 40 cent/gallon gas discount. Depending on the size of your car, that could mean a discount of $4 or more on a fill-up.
So this could be a good deal with you're already a Chopper regular. But if you're not, you'd probably save more money overall by shopping at Hannaford or Walmart.
Woman killed in Schenectady deli stick-up, Tonko endorses Morris, Paterson reaches out to Bruno on same-sex marriage, Price Chopper alleges grocery espionage, plane lands on Route 9
A woman was shot and killed in a deli on Eastern Ave in Schenectady Friday night (map). Police say it appears the woman got caught up in the middle of a robbery -- but they're not sure whether the she was intentionally shot. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
A Troy man has been arrested for the death of his girfriend's three-year-old daughter. Police haven't said yet how the girl died. [TU]
Paul Tonko has endorsed Shawn Morris in the Albany mayoral race. Responded Jerry Jennings: "... the people behind me are the people that live in this city, that work in this city, and that will vote in this city." [TU] [CapNews9]
David Paterson has reached out to Joe Bruno to help him lobby Republican state Senators to support to the same-sex marriage bill. [Liz Benjamin]
The Obama Administration has found many of its appointees in New York State. [TU]
Another New Yorker the Obama team has leaned on heavily -- whether they like it or not: Chuck Schumer.
The new "green" Price Chopper officially opened today in Colonie. The Golub Corporation is touting the location as "the most advanced Green Store in the entire Capital Region."
OK, consider us interested. So we checked it out.
City treasurer received ghost tickets, it's good to be a lobbyist, problems at the Muddy Cup, Chopper uses AdvantEdge cards to notify of recall, Fallon was quizzed for final credits
Albany city treasurer Betty Barnette has testified that she had no knowledge of the ghost ticket system until she read about it in the news -- but the TU has obtained copies of seven no-fine tickets given to... Barnette. She says she has no memory of receiving the tickets. [TU] [CBS6]
Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are apparently becoming BFF. He's even memorized her mobile number. [NYT]
The Saratoga County towns that had sued to hold up the Hudson dredging over concerns about their drinking water supply have dropped their suit. The dredging project is scheduled to start this month. [Daily Gazette]
Consumer Reports has released supermarket rankings based on a survey of thousands of its readers (you need to be a CR subscriber to see the whole list). And the results are going to cause people in the Capital Region with already-established supermarket envy turn even a few more shades green.
(Paging Bruce Roter!)
Election day is just a week away in the race to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat. We've been reading the coverage so you don't have to. (The last scan.)
The big news this week: two debates!
Pataki to take on Gillibrand?, Albany council pursuing ghost ticket scandal, Troy could be among first for stimulus money, cable bills going up, crustacean capers hot right now
The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has reportedly approached George Pataki about running against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010. [AP/Troy Record]
State Democrats "familiar" with the situation say David Paterson is considering the return of Charles O'Byrne, who was his top advisor until O'Byrne resigned over tax problems. Paterson is reportedly frustrated by accusations that his administration is coming apart. [NYT] [NYP]
The Albany Common Council has scheduled sworn testimony in March from police department and union officials about the ghost ticket scandal. Officers called to testify will have to be paid three hours of overtime if the hearing doesn't occur during their regular shift. [TU]
The Schenectady police officer accused of being serially absent from patrol has been suspended without pay for a month. The officer topped the department's pay list last year after racking up enormous amounts of overtime. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
One of the Albany River Rats says "guys were flying around like ping-pong balls" as the team bus rolled over on the Mass Pike during its crash early Thursday morning. Four players and one of the team's broadcasters were hospitalized overnight. A spokesman for Yankee Trails, the company that owned the bus, says the driver at the wheel yesterday is an "exceptional" operator. Mass state police are investigating the cause of the crash -- ice appears to be the leading candidate. The Rats' game scheduled for tonight has been postponed. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]
State facing even bigger budget gap, politicians fight over printer, food bank demand up, garbage workers told to take it easy,
A budget analysis from the state Assembly projects that the state's budget gap for the next fiscal year is actually a billion dollars bigger than originally thought. Sheldon Silver says the growing gap increases the need for higher taxes on high-earning households. David Paterson says he's still resistant to the idea. [Biz Review] [NYDN] [TU]
Jonathan Lippman was confirmed yesterday as the new chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Lippman says getting state judges a pay raise will be among his first priorities. Also: he apparently looks a little like Bernie Madoff to some people. [TU] [CapNews9]
A city attorney has told the Albany Common Council that its subpoena powers probably do not allow it to question the head of the police officers' union about the ghost ticket scandal. Councilman Corey Ellis has been pushing for the council to directly investigate the matter. [TU]
The woman police say hit a pedestrian along Western Ave near St. Rose and then drove off was charged yesterday with leaving the scene of an accident. The family of Stanley Brown, the man hit and killed in the accident, says he loved to walk. [Troy Record] [TU]
Arrest in 40-year-old murder case, AMD hopes for June start on fab construction, subpoena debated for "ghost tickets" scandal, buzzer sounds early on Patroons' season
State police have arrested a man for an alleged murder from 40 years ago. Investigators say Nelson Costello murdered David Bacon over a woman. Costello, who most recently has been living in Arizona, was a part-time cop in the Town of Waterford in 1969. Bacon's disappearance had been deemed a missing persons case four decades ago. Officials haven't said what led them to treat the case as a murder, but they say they will probably release details later this week. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]
The state's political leaders are lining up to push for a high-speed rail line connecting cities along the old Erie Canal. [TU]
Former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday for his involvement with a drug ring. Kaczmarek's wife, Lisa, was also sentenced yesterday -- she got six months. That sentence has drawn criticism for being too light, but Judge Karen Drago told Lisa Kaczmarek, "your culpability with respect to getting illegal drugs on the street was far less than your co-defendants." The busting of the organization has led to convictions for 24 people. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU]
AMD says it wants to start clearing the land for the Luther Forest chip fab in March and start construction in June. But first its board has to approve the spin-off of the company that will actually own the fab. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Dems pick candidate for Gillibrand replacement race, stabbing in downtown Saratoga, RPI involved with Africa education intiative, local sales of YakTrax up
The Democrats have picked Glens Falls venture capitalist Scott Murphy to run in the special election for Kirsten Gillibrand's seat. Murphy emerged as the choice after former TV anchor Tracy Egan and AFL-CIO official Suzy Ballantyne dropped out. The 10 Democratic county chairman made their pick yesterday at the Gateway Diner in Albany (no, that's not in the district) while, apparently, wearing lots of Gillibrand flair. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [TU] [@pattigibbons]
Murphy will face Jim Tedisco in the special election -- and people are already lining up to replace Tedisco should he win. [Saratogian]
Police say a man was stabbed multiple times early Sunday morning at Club 388 on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. The victim was airlifted to Albany Med. Police arrested two men shortly after the incident -- the cops had been on patrol in the area. [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]
Saratoga Springs mayor Scott Johnson says the city's council "has already embraced the concept, but not the details" of paid parking downtown. That's not going over well with downtown business owners. [TU]
Joe Bruno, who's under federal indictment, in a recent memo to employees at the consulting firm he now heads: "If there was ever a time to be righteously indignant, that time is now." [TU]
Paterson says budget cuts will involve "a big knife," state economy in recession, recycling urged in effort to save money, proposed Saratoga horse park would be pricey
At a town hall-style meeting yesterday Syracuse, David Paterson said of making cuts to the state budget: "We'll be using a big knife but trying to operate it like a scalpel." The Gov will unveil his plans for cutting $2 billion from the current state budget this morning. Reportedly among the proposals: across-the-board cuts for health programs, big cuts to public universities, a repeal of the gasoline tax cap and increase in fees for health plans. [NYT] [TU]
The leadership situation in the state Senate is still unsettled. One of the three Democrats who have not pledged their support to Malcolm Smith says he'd prefer to see a Latino Democrat be majority leader. [NYT]
An analysis from a University at Buffalo center has concluded that New York State has been in a recession since the second quarter of this year. [Biz Review]
Local retail stores are hiring extra help for the holidays shopping season -- and this year they have their pick of employees. [AP/TU]
No tax increase for Schenectady?, cop gets backup from passerby, Saratoga mini-Chopper food won't be pricy, a bounty from tainted Booty
The Schenectady City Council passed a 2009 budget that does not include a tax increase. The budget proposed by Mayor Brian Stratton had called for a 2.9 percent hike. Stratton has said he would veto the budget if the council made significant cuts. [Daily Gazette]
At a John McCain rally in downtown Albany on Saturday, Jim Buhrmaster -- the Republican running for the 21st Congressional District (McNulty's seat) -- said "the silent majority" will push McCain over the top in the presidential race. At a nearby Barack Obama rally, Paul Tonko -- the Democrat running for the seat -- said the opportunity to elect Obama is "a great fortune." [Troy Record]
After an Albany police officer got tangled up in a fight Friday night with a teenager, whom police say was carrying a shotgun, a passerby went into the cop's patrol car and called for backup. (Apparently the battery in the officer's mobile radio had died.) The APD says it hasn't been able to find the anonymous person who helped the officer. [Fox23] [Daily Gazette]
A car running a red light at Quail and Madison in Albany early Sunday morning hit an ambulance, causing it to roll over. The ambulance, which had its lights and siren on, then hit another car waiting at the light. No one was seriously injured. [WNYT] [TU]
Albany Common Councilman Glen Casey says his car should't have been booted for unpaid parking tickets. "Somebody needs to do a better job," he told the TU. The city treasurer says Casey still has outstanding tickets. [TU]
Husband charged with wife's murder, downtown Saratoga Chopper sold, DMV clerk accused of stealing inspection stickers, common councilman gets the boot for unpaid tickets
Schenectady police have charged the husband of the woman murdered in her home over the weekend with the crime. The couple were immigrants from Guyana and police say the two had been fighting over whether to move back therer. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Albany police say a new witness has reported seeing a third teen on a bike ride away from the scene of Richard Bailey's murder. (Two earlier witnesses reported seeing two teens on bikes.) The APD says it still doesn't have any solid leads in the case. [TU]
Local police departments say they're stepping up patrols tonight for Halloween. Apparently stores will also be watching for teens with shopping carts full of "trickster items." [TU]
A local developer has announced he's bought the Price Chopper in downtown Saratoga Springs -- and promises the site will continue to have a grocery store. Whether it will be a Price Chopper is unclear. An announcement on that part of the plan is scheduled for later today. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Check out this illustrated map of the US by cartoonist Dorothy Gambrell. She compiled the places most frequently mentioned in Missed Connections on Craigslist for each part of the country and then worked those names into the map. (Just have a look, it'll make more sense.)
And guess which place is on the map for our part of the country: Price Chopper. We totally believe it.
Albany HS schedule mix-up "not acceptable," Troy tap water orange, two "thin, bald white guys" fight over slogan, the Choppinator
The president of the Albany school board says the scheduling screw-up at Albany High is "not acceptable." The computer problem behind the mix-up has apparently been a known issue since early last month. Classes are now slated to start on Monday. [TU]
Neil Kelleher -- former Troy mayor, longtime Republican member of the state Assembly, WWII veteran, and barber shop quartet singer -- died yesterday. He was 85. Both Republicans and Democrats hailed him as a friend. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]
Harry Tutunjian says there's "absolutely no health risk involved" with the discolored tap water in Troy. The water's orangish tint is apparently the result of higher levels of iron and manganese dissolved in the water. [TU]
A special prosecutor says he will not bring charges against two Troy cops accused of using excessive force after a January car chase that ended up in Menands. There's still a civil case in progress. [TU]
Unscheduled days off for Albany High, Rensselaer gets money for flood recovery, auto dealer closing because of high gas prices, RPI kicks retired prof's email because of criticism
Classes have been canceled this week at Albany High School after a computer problem messed up students' class schedules. [TU]
The state Senate is giving the City of Rensselaer $1.1 million to help with recovery from the flooding in August. Mayor Dan Dwyer says "hardly anything has been fixed" since the heavy rains. Residents say they're worried about the water rising again. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]
The City of Troy is considering the purchase of a system that can listen for gunfire and then triangulate the point from which the shots were fired. It costs $200,000 for the system to cover one square mile. [TU]
A Rensselaer police car was rear-ended on the Dunn Memorial Bridge while it was stopped to issue a traffic violation. The collision pushed the cop car into the back of the car that had been pulled over. [Troy Record]
Track numbers a little damp, two homicides over the weekend, Live Nation blames the fans, Rt 7 construction gearing up, Albany TV market slips
Attendance at The Track this year was down almost 10 percent from last year and the amount bet was down a little more than 7 percent. [Daily Gazette]
There were two homicides over the holiday weekend. On Saturday, a 17-year-old was fatally stabbed near Beverwyck Park in Albany. It was Albany's eighth homicide of the year. On Monday, a Schenectady man was shot and killed inside a house. It was Schenectady's sixth homicide of the year. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Live Nation, the company that runs the pop music shows at SPAC, says fans are partly to blame for miserable conditions on the lawn there. Live Nation's last concert of the year at SPAC was Crue Fest on Friday -- four people were arrested being a bit too motley. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The almost-finished makeover of the Price Chopper on Central in Albany includes a new international aisle -- or to be more exact, two aisles that form a whole section. And it's fun! Really, it is. It's like the EPCOT of supermarket aisles. Here are a few things that caught our eye as we were browsing recently...
Price Chopper has a great deal on GE Energy Smart CFL bulbs from now until the end of the year. Single bulbs are only $1.99 (with AdvantEdge card, of course). The Chopper usually sells them for $6.49. Even at a big-box discount store like Target, they're usually about $5.50 for a single bulb. Even the Wal-Mart six pack isn't as cheap per bulb.
We've used a bunch of these bulbs in the past, and as CFLs go, they give off pretty nice light. And now they're a bargain.
Our last supermarket price check was so popular, we decided to give it another go. But to shake things up a bit this time around, we decided to find out which store has the best bargains.
So we picked a "basket" of 20 items that come in both name brand and store brand so we could find out how much we could save by going generic. And to make things a little more interesting, we tossed discount market Aldi into the mix. Here are the results...
You hear something once, you dismiss it. You hear it twice, you think, eh. But when you hear it five or six different places from people who are in no way connected to each other, you start to wonder. So, when we heard lots of folks repeating the rumor that Wegmans and Price Chopper had a sort of "gentlemen's agreement" to stay out of each others backyards, it definitely caught our interest.
And then we heard rumors that Wegmans might be making it's move on the Capital Region.
So, is there any truth to either of these rumors?
You asked and we found it! Price Chopper is carrying it in the special Passover sections at their larger stores. We scored our supply at the Chopper in Slingerlands.
What's the big deal? Well, normal Coke is made with high fructose corn syrup, which makes it not kosher for Passover. It also, according to soda snobs, makes Coke taste not quite right. Kosher for Passover Coke, on the other hand, is made with cane sugar (like Mexican Coke) and is said to be smoother and have a cleaner finish. It also has notes of cinnamon and caramel and pairs nicely with pretzel twists.
How do you know if you're getting the good stuff? Look for the tell-tale yellow cap (see right). And check the ingredients, which will list "sucrose" instead of high-fructose corn syrup.
We were curious, so we decided to find out. AOA put together a "basket" of 40 items that we thought could reasonably end up in most shopping carts in any given week. Then we checked the prices of these items at Price Chopper, Wal-Mart and Hannaford. Here are the results:
New Price Chopper HQ, makeover for Pizza Block, Saratoga mayor asks what's the big deal, Skidmore scored big in 2007
The Golub Corporation got approval to move ahead with its plan to build a new headquarters for Price Chopper across the street from Union College in Schenectady. The $22 million project includes a number of design elements aimed at making it environmentally friendly. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The infamous "Pizza Block" in Schenectady (just down the street from Proctor's) is getting knocked down in order to build a new string of store fronts. The Pizza King had been the block's only tenant -- The Metroplex authority bought the owner out for $110,000. [Daily Gazette]
An Albany cop injured on the job in 2001 was awarded $3.1 million in a civil suit against the guy who hit his police cruiser and the guy's former employer. [TU]
The mayor of Saratoga Springs questioned why his choice to post bail for a local luxury home builder accused of fraud got so much attention. Scott Johnson told the Saratogian that bailing his family's friend out was "the most decent and compassionate thing to do." [Saratogian]
It looks like the developer behind Harmony Mills condos in Cohoes will get a shot to redevelop the Victory Mills building outside Saratoga. Fun fact about the Victory Mills building: they used to make the wrappers for the old Listerine glass bottles there. [Saratogian]
Skidmore scored almost $57 million in charitable contributions last year. That's tops among colleges and universities in the Capital Region and good for 8th in the nation. The bulk of the money came from a donation by Arthur Zankel. [Business Review]