ORLANDO, Fla. (FNS) -- The arrival of SuperTarget here comes with a number of firsts for the expanding chain of 16 units -- the addition of Starbucks Coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, as well as an increased emphasis on the retailer's own Archer Farms brand.
Although Minneapolis-based Target opened its first superstore about five years ago, the Florida store is the first to play up its Archer Farms label, according to officials. The line includes smoked meats; bakery items like breads, pies and other desserts; and dips and prepared salads sold in the deli.
"You want [to stress] fresh, because quality is a major issue with any grocery store," said Ron Sargent, the store's team leader.
Like other retailers who have realized the potential of private-label perishables, Target is using the Archer Farms brand to differentiate its food products from competitors'. The label's growth in the fresh departments is a key strategy in the overall plan.
"Target, for a lot of people, is a destination. The company would like Archer Farms to be synonymous with Target," said Sargent.
The Archer Farms logo is used on the outside of the new store as well as in circulars. A recent mailing to potential customers proclaimed, "We've just added 3,000 acres to your Target store," along with graphics of the mythical Archer Farms and fresh produce. The images are reinforced inside the store as well, with extensive depictions of fresh produce and farm scenes throughout the fresh and grocery sections. Above the fruit and vegetable merchandisers, shoppers are told the items are "Fresh as the Farm."
Meanwhile, the chain has also brought in national names to bolster its "destination" status. The addition of Starbucks, and an 8-foot self-serve case of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the nearby in-store bakery, have been "very profitable," according to Sargent and Mike Wessling, the store's grocery team leader.
But doughnuts and coffee are only two of the many fresh offerings in a food court-style setup at the front of the store. Starbucks, and the deli, bakery, produce and seafood departments are all grouped together in a "marketplace" atmosphere, where they are graphically divided by different faux store fronts.
The deli, for instance, sports a green awning and a brick wall that houses a pizza oven. A combined service/self-service case offers about 30 different varieties of packaged submarine and wrap sandwiches in front, along with pizza, fried chicken, and a variety of entrees and salads.
Five varieties of rotisserie chicken, including one that is drizzled with lime, retail for $5.79 each. The service deli case includes 8 feet of ready-to-cook meals, such as lasagna and refrigerated pizzas. Eighteen feet are devoted to ready-to-eat items, including salads and sandwiches. On a higher shelf in the same case, prepared salads and entrees are offered on white china platters.
Although a combination Taco Bell Express/Pizza Hut Express is also at the front of the store, near the Archer Farms fresh sections, the deli sells fresh pizza because "it's one more option, so customers can grab and go," Sargent said.
The bakery is differentiated by a red awning and brick wall-style graphics. It retails 10-inch pies, on special during SN's visit, at two for $8; 12 varieties of bagels; three doors of frozen cakes; and several feet of refrigerated cakes and single-serve desserts.
There is an emphasis on high-quality meats, with USDA Choice beef and Coleman Natural meats among the selections. The Archer Farms brand of smoked meats is also found here, and a 16-foot freestanding case is devoted to packaged sushi, seafood and fish.
Nearly 185 varieties of produce are displayed, primarily on European-style wooden racks, along with one refrigerated case. Here, a 4-foot section is devoted to "Vegetarian Meals."
Starbucks is located at the front of the store's "marketplace," with wood-paneled, curved architecture that anchors one end of the fresh power aisle, adjacent to the deli/fresh-meals section. A service counter containing the chain's signature pastry items faces out to the store, while the other side holds fresh-meals items sold out of the SuperTarget deli.
The Krispy Kreme doughnuts section was added to SuperTargets because of the company's "well-known product name recognition and quality product," Wessling said. The self-service display is set off from the store's regular baked-goods displays with the classic green, red and white Krispy Kreme banner and logo.
Although the total grocery section encompasses only 21,000 feet of the 174,000-square-foot unit, the store has "done a good job of keeping variety," according to Wessling. "Just because you're big doesn't mean you have everything," he said.
The light-brown, cement floor throughout the food portion of the store gives the section more of a supermarket feel, according to Sargent, and "tones down" the shopping experience, compared with the high-gloss, white tiled floors throughout the rest of the unit. Although some of the unit's graphics and product offerings may appeal to upper-income shoppers, Sargent insists that the store still attracts the regular Target customer. "We've been very successful in college towns," he added. In this case, the store and its food-service concepts are a big draw for students from the nearby University of Central Florida, as well as residents of 5,600 single-family homes and local workers.
Target executives plan to open 200 supercenters similar to the Florida store over the next decade. At the same time, each SuperTarget will be slightly altered to reflect the demographics of the area and changes in market strategy.