PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- Although Dominick's Finer Foods has been operating its Fresh Store concept for several years, the grand opening of its from-the-ground-up unit here, has allowed planners to incorporate a host of elements that make this new unit the flagship of the chain.
Dominick's, Northlake, Ill., has been retrofitting its existing stores to place more emphasis on fresh foods in the deli, bakery and produce area. In larger stores, as well as units in more-affluent areas, the company remodeled the interior and exterior. Now, customers entering most new Fresh Stores are redirected through an area emphasizing all perishables before they arrive at the traditional grocery section.
The store's service bakery is among the highlights of the unit. Here, it is divided into three distinctive sections, defined by an overhead recreation of an old-fashioned tin ceiling.
The bakery offers on-premise cake decorating. Frozen layer cakes come from the Northlake central bakery, then are assembled and decorated to order. Other gourmet-style cakes that are hard to transport undamaged, such as whipped-cream items, are also prepared on the premises.
Continuing the wood-accented black decor and fixtures, found throughout the Fresh Market area, the bakery's coffin case features frozen self-service layer cakes, decorated cakes and specialty pastries. A European-style service case highlights a selection of fresh-fruit pastries and gourmet selections, some of which are completed in the glassed-in prep area behind the counter.
An "Old World Breads" station equipped with a proof box and double-rack oven turns out a selection of breads prepared from frozen doughs. A service counter allows customers to have breads sliced in the thickness and quantity desired from 4- to 6-pound loaves displayed on the wooden back bars.
Of course, the bakery also includes an extensive array of self-service packaged products, as well as bread and roll bins. During the store's initial opening period, a "Muffin Madness" section, set up with a portable table, allowed customers to sample a variety of products. In addition, extra shelving across from the deli counters featured a selection of packaged crusty breads to speed harried shoppers on their way.