Audio Slideshow: Mrs. Green's New Jersey store tour

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SN's Jon Springer reports on the health and wellness retailer Mrs. Green's new location in West Windsor, N.J. 

Related gallery: Promoting the 'green is good' lifestyle

Related story: Mrs. Greens latest stores feature expanded format

Photos courtesy of Mrs. Green's/Elizabeth Massa.

Video production by Jim Haines

TRANSCRIPT:

Hundreds of residents of West Windsor, New Jersey, turned out on a recent Thursday night to meet a new neighbor, known as Mrs. Green’s. For them, the event signaled the return of an anchor tenant to a village shopping center left vacant by the closing of an Acme Markets store nearly five years ago. For Mrs. Green’s it was one of 20 new store openings it plans to make this year.

Mrs. Green’s was founded in 1990 as a small chain of neighborhood health food stores around New York’s northern suburbs. A Canadian hedge fund bought into the company in 2007 and has since invested millions in a new executive team and a reinvented format showcasing expanded foodservice and natural living departments complementing an all-organic produce selection.

Using the tagline “Green is good” the store combines a gourmet offerings, a homey feel and a sense that shopping there is part of a higher purpose. Prices in produce are handwritten on small blackboards. Employee nametags include each worker’s hometown, as well as their favorite food.

Foodservice offerings include a beverage bar and sandwich program. A small number of items, such as salsas, carry the Mrs. Green’s brand while the Richtree label — a brand associated with a Canadian restaurant chain also under the Natural Markets Food Group umbrella — appears on some fresh meats.

The store makes an effort to include local and regional suppliers in all areas including Natural Living, which includes items like soap and cosmetics as well as yoga mats.

Mrs. Green’s is encouraging trial through a weekly free-item program. Shoppers making a minimum purchase can get up to four free items each week with a value of $14 to $15. A newly launched loyalty card gives shoppers a 1% discount on all their purchases.

At more than 20,000 square feet, the West Windsor store is the largest in the chain, which generally goes for sites in the 17,000-square-foot range. Officials say this is a competitive advantage fostering a convenient shop as well as close-in neighborhood locations. In West Windsor, the store is a short walk from the train station while ompetitors like Whole Foods, Wegmans and McCaffery’s are located along busier roads.

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