Dining out at Kroger? Store renovations aimed at providing that option

Kroger’s renovated and remodeled storefront at 7300 Yankee Road in Liberty Twp. puts a strong emphasis on fast, fresh food.

The nearly year-long renovation effort added three new dining options: pizza, chicken and barbecue fare, according to Erin Rolfes, a Kroger spokeswoman.

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Gone are the store’s clothing department, a Honey Baked Ham Company kiosk and its selection of housewares, with that last subtraction officially removing the store’s Marketplace designation, Rolfes said.

“It’s really based on customer feedback and what folks are buying,” she said. “If they aren’t shopping in that area and we needed more space for groceries, we really try to listen to what the customers are asking for and giving that because it’s their hometown store. It’s the store they shop in every day.”

Shirley Coaston, of West Chester Twp., said she liked the renovated store and its expanded selection more than its previous incarnation.

“Now it seems like I can find things easier and it’s brighter,” Coaston said. “I love it.”

A new Eli’s BBQ location serves sandwiches, hickory smoked ribs and several side dishes. Rolfes said Kroger has seen success with its other six Eli’s BBQ locations and that it seemed like “a natural fit” for the Yankee Road location in Liberty Twp.

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“Having those outside retailers, it really is just that convenience of picking up food for whatever you might need,” Rolfes said. “Our CEO Rodney (McMullen) tells the story the best. He says we want to be the food solution for someone at any point (and) at any time that they need it, whether you want to come in and you want to pick out your ingredients and cook that beautiful gourmet meal, or if … you just need something that you can reheat and hit the road.”

The Chicken Company is Kroger’s new brand for preparing and selling baked and fried chicken at a deli counter. A pizza area offers pizza by the slice or by the pie.

The 108,000-square-foot store, which opened in July 2006, also sports a redesigned produce and deli sections, and a revamped Starbucks, a Growler Bar in the new Beer & Wine area and a Murray’s Cheese section with cheese mongers ready to help those who don’t know their Gouda from their Gorgonzola.

Kroger also placed two self-checkout lanes in front of a semi-private area that includes seating for 28 people, as well as a commercial microwave oven.

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Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division employs more than 20,000 associates who serve customers in 109 supermarkets, including 18 Marketplace stores, as well warehouses and offices in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Eastern Indiana and Dayton areas.

Judith Gartland, a Liberty Twp. resident, said she didn’t care for shopping at the Yankee Road store while the renovations were in progress, finding them “confusing,” but likes the changes those renovations brought.

“I think the food (area) here is going to be interesting,” Gartland said. “Something quick to pick up. That’s a pretty good idea. Where I came from in St. Louis we had stores like that, where you go in and get prepared food and I found that, when I was working, very helpful.”

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