WYNNEWOOD, Pa. -- The Genuardi's Family Market unit that opened here a month ago is the first Genuardi's to feature a separate section for natural and organic foods. While the chain's grocery director does not think segregation is always right, it's the best presentation for this particular store.
"Wynnewood is one of a kind," said Bill Wolfe, the director of grocery and GM/HBC. "From the Center Store standpoint, we adopted a segregated natural foods department, as well as an enlarged kosher presentation, because we feel that both act as destination points for this market."
Genuardi's traditionally integrates both kosher and natural foods. But, "we decided this store format afforded us a very rare opportunity to segregate, as a test," Wolfe explained.
The segregation/integration debate was one of the topics of consideration at the recent Food Marketing Institute conference in Denver, he added.
The facility itself -- a former John Wanamaker's department store that is at least 40 years old -- presented a unique opportunity to put it in, and the upscale demographics fit, too, Wolfe said. Genuardi's Naturally is sandwiched between organic produce and seafood, which Wolfe said he believes contributes to the shopping experience of people looking to follow a healthy lifestyle. The produce and seafood departments are "extremely strong offerings, so this is natural complement," Wolfe said.
The Genuardi's Naturally set, with a contemporary design that includes steel vines to display red-toned signage, is flanked by the bulk food section. It's right out on the floor, so that the customer literally walks through it, as opposed to being stuck in a corner somewhere.
Genuardi's, based in Norristown, Pa., will have opened four new stores this month and last, in Lionville, Pa., East Marlborough, N.J., the one here, and in King of Prussia, Pa., and has a Zagara's Specialty and Natural Foods unit that will open in the spring.
"We feel good," Wolfe said of the Wynnewood natural section's performance so far. "The initial results are unbelievable. I don't think this would work everywhere. I think this is a special set of circumstances. We'll see."