LAS VEGAS -- Front-end displays are an integral part of a new Vons store here, as seen in a recent store visit by SN.
A large number of grand opening specials and seasonal items were prominently displayed at the front end, as well as on endcaps at the front of each aisle.
The store, which opened on East Windmill Road recently differs from an older Vons unit located nearby. Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif., is owned by Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.
At the front end of the new store, against the wall and opposite the registers, are three-tiered shelving units that display club and jumbo sizes. During SN's visit, different categories were merchandised here: for example 18- and 37-pound bags of dog food, along with large sizes of firelogs, charcoal briquettes and charcoal lighter fluid.
Also on the front end was a massive display of Select private-label soda, Charmin paper towels and toilet paper, Bounty paper towels and a huge display of fresh pumpkins.
The store had other interesting characteristics as well, several of which seemed to favor solutions shopping. For example, in an 84-foot aisle opposite the deli/bakery, bread, rolls and baked goods are merchandised with snack foods.
The snack foods -- which include chips, salsa, crackers, party mixes, nuts and sunflower seeds -- are given 56 feet, while the bread and baked goods take up the other third of the aisle.
The store devotes one side of a gondola to club-sized grocery items. Merchandised on the gondola on the opposite side of the aisle are frozen food, including 10 doors of club sizes. Frozen food continues on the other side of this gondola, as well as on the gondola on the other side of the aisle.
In the next aisle are more frozens and some dairy products, including butter and spread products, cheeses, juices, puddings, yogurts, lunch meats and the like -- as well as other items that would make up grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches. This assortment was conveniently merchandised across from shelf-stable juices, coffee and coffee products and tea.
The other Vons SN visited here, located on Windmill Parkway, is an older store, but very large. Like the newer store, it meets most one-stop-shopping needs.
Located in this unit are a card and party shop and a large floral shop, along with a pet shop and the usual standard departments on the perimeter.
A fine wine shop offers copies of Cigar Aficionado and a humidor. Chilled wines are available, and prices ranged from $11.99 up to $60. This store has a large selection of ethnic food, along with a store-within-store devoted to natural food.
In the ethnic aisle are Mexican, kosher and Middle Eastern, Chinese and Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian, Southwestern and Southern/Cajun grocery selections. The natural-food section, signed "It's Only Natural," was remodeled and expanded over the summer, according to a store-level source.
The section is highlighted with wooden channel strips, and it is set off with a wide pieces of wooden molding on four sides that crown the freestanding aisles.
The section has a wide range of groceries, along with refrigerated and frozens cases and a small health and beauty care section, in addition to 20 feet of vitamins, supplements and medicinal teas.
Meanwhile, Smith's Food & Drug Center in Summerlin, on Lake Meade and Rampart, also has a separately signed natural-food store-within-a-store, which includes refrigerated and frozen food.
"Naturally at Smith's" even has its own in-store flyer. On sale were herbal supplements and vitamins, pasta and pasta sauces, cereal, power bars, licorice, cider, hot cereal, seasoning mixes, dressing and marinade, cookies and corn pasta.
Circulars are clip-stripped in the natural-food section, along with informational booklets on vitamins, minerals and supplements.
In addition to the freestanding natural-food store, certain items in other aisles were flagged as natural-food items, with shelf tags that repeated the "Naturally at Smith's" theme.
Another signature department at the Smith's was "Smith's Big Deals," a very large section of grocery, frozen food and refrigerated club sizes and megapacks. Thirty doors are devoted to frozen food alone, with about 90 linear feet, 4-shelves deep, given to grocery products.
A freestanding gourmet candy department near the front end of the store is also somewhat unusual. Featuring a seven-tiered wedding-cake design, the department holds about 175 stockkeeping units of candy, nuts, crackers, trail mixes and some bulk grain items.
The last stop on SN's tour was a newly opened Albertson's Food and Drug on Valle Verde in Henderson.
Notable here is a baby care aisle with an endcap sign reading "Albertson's & Parents Complete Baby Care Center." This endcap holds copies of Parents Magazine and books. The aisle boasts diapers, baby food, formula, bibs, toys, health and beauty care, bottles, coloring books, games and toys. Another aisle is devoted entirely to women's products, including grooming and hygiene items, socks and stockings. A few houseware items are placed at the end of the aisle.
During SN's visit, Albertson's accepted all other supermarket and drug store coupons at their face value, for any items that were sold in its store.