ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets here said it has opened a new "corner market" called Schnucks Express, a store with a broader selection than a typical convenience store, with a full-sized pharmacy to serve the area's large elderly population.
Schnucks Express is located in a portion of a 50,000-square-foot market that had been closed for four years. A Schnuck spokeswoman said the company partitioned the area it wanted and built the store internally from the ground up; it plans to sublet the rest of the store to a hardware franchisee.
She said the company will test the Express concept for about a year to determine the level of customer acceptance, with an eye toward possibly expanding the concept "to fill in sites between larger stores."
Schnucks Express carries about 15,000 stockkeeping units "focused on meeting customers' needs," said Scott C. Schnuck, president and chief operating officer.
"With the trend toward larger stores that many customers only have time to shop once a week, Schnucks Express will fill the void for those basic groceries, health and beauty care and fresh ready-to-eat meals that will go beyond the offerings of a convenience store."
The selection includes fresh produce, bakery, packaged meats and cheese, dairy, frozen food, grocery, pet care, paper and household products, general merchandise and health and beauty care items.
Besides the full-size pharmacy, the store features video and liquor departments and a selection of ready-to-eat salads, sandwiches and meals -- available for takeout or in-store eating in a 32-seat dining area -- that has its own separate checkout for customer convenience, the company said.
To speed customer service, all of the store's 40 associates are fully trained to check out customers, the company pointed out.
The store features large four-way signage to direct shoppers to products from any point in the store, and aisle widths and in-store seating were developed to accommodate special physical and accessibility needs, the company said.
Schnucks Express is the first local supermarket to test new electronic shelf tag technology that links up with Schnucks' central computer and checkout scanners.
"We believe we do a great job on price accuracy with our current paper shelf tag system," Schnuck said.
"We hope the electronic price tag system we're testing will give us the chance to offer customers even greater assurance of our price accuracy while also speeding weekly price changes and making us more efficient."
The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, with pharmacy hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.