Monday, June 20, 2011

To Kroger Or not to Kroger...

In Downtown Royal Oak... That IS the question!

For the past month I have been observing the chaos surrounding a proposed Kroger coming into downtown Royal Oak.  The proposed location, Main Street just north of 11 mile, is in my back yard.  Just as I felt with the new Emagine Theater/ Star Lanes complex… I am excited for more choice, growth and rejuvenation.

There are some that compare Kroger to other “big box” stores… In size of the operation, I’m sure that this is true.  But the difference, I believe, is that Kroger supports “local” economy in most of their locations.  In the Michigan market Kroger carries an array of Michigan made items along with Michigan produce and dairy.  Plus, at the proposed location, they would be employing many people: builders to in-store staff.

I am a huge proponent of Michigan businesses.  I shop at Michigan establishments, I dine out in non-chain Michigan restaurants, I buy a large percentage of Michigan made grocery items and I frequent the local farmers markets in support of the local farmers.  All in all… I am probably never going to be a regular Kroger customer!   But to those saying that Kroger should not move into Royal Oak… I disagree!

To see that there is now a “movement”, Preserve Royal Oak… Citizens Against A Main street Kroger, tells me that there are many people in Royal Oak that are afraid of change and/or many people with way to much time on their hands and/or… Another possibility: Could this movement have been brought to light by the fact that Holiday Market and Hollywood Market are concerned about a potential loss of sales? “Food” for thought! Holiday Market has high prices and Hollywood Market is small, very old and in need of a facelift!

Recently, I had an experience at Holiday Market, whereas I went to pick up a few odds and ends.  Black Cherries, one of the items on my list, were $6 MORE than the cherries I had purchased earlier in the week at a different Michigan retailer. Huh??  Was this a mistake?  Did my beloved Holiday Market, where I easily spent $125+ per week, grossly inflate ALL of their groceries?  I set out to find the truth!

After “price-shopping” at 5 different markets (Holiday Market, Hollywood Markets, Hillers Markets, Kroger and Westborn) it was an eye-opening discovery:  Holiday Market, on average, was 30% higher than all others. This held true in produce (same quality and farm), dairy (same brands), canned goods (same brands) and frozen food (same brands). That means, on average for the last 3 years of being a devoted Holiday Market regular, I was spending almost $2000 more (per year) than I needed to be spending. Ouch! 

Royal Oak residents deserve to have a fully stocked, clean and price competitive option for grocery shopping.  As much as I would prefer it to be an “updated” Hollywood Market or Hillers MarketKroger is the company proposing to move into our town.  

Let the groundbreaking begin!