December 09, 2003

Modern Supermarkets

Several computer kiosks are located throughout the center of the store, offering information about almost anything: Wine and food parings, information about diabetes, recipes, a map of the store sale items and more.


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New Marsh in Noblesville: Grocery Goes Modern

By Laura Hawkins
Daily Times


The new Marsh Supermarket opening Monday at the corner of 146th Street and State Road 37 is utterly different than any other grocery store in Hamilton County.

According to Marsh spokespersons, its actually unlike any grocery store in the country.

A tour

When customers first arrive, they will enter a large glass entrance that leads them to the vast heart of the store a circular open-air environment filled with fresh produce and lined with windows. A coffee shop, which boasts everything from peppermint hot chocolate to freshly ground coffee, anchors the room as do two chef stations, where at least one full-time culinary expert will be providing samples to customers daily.

Noticeably missing is the aisle-after-aisle layout typical of most grocery stores.

Instead of one massive, large box, vice president of Community Relations Jodi Marsh explained, the new design is meant to capture the essence of European markets. It has a more homey, small boutique feel, she added.

As patrons move toward the perimeter of the central area, it appears as though the store is lined with small shops. Clearly marked by signs atop each entrance, what likely would have been an aisle has become a whole room devoted to a certain food grouping.

There are such sections as Dairy, Frozen, Wine, Beer, Seafood, Bakery, Pharmacy, Bath and Body and the like. Once done shopping inside the room, the customers do not have to wheel their carts back to the center, but they can follow the aisle that runs like a track around the store, linking each separate room. The rooms also are clearly marked along the circular aisle, showing customers which section they are entering and which are coming up.

The whole idea is to make it a friendly shopping experience, commented Matt Pierce of Marshs community relations department. Youre never lost.

Responding to suggestions

Several years ago, Marsh started studying how people shop, Pierce said.

In older Marsh stores, the deli meat is located on the opposite side of the grocery store from the cheese. But since many people would want both to make sandwiches and the like they now both sit in the deli area.

The new store basically responds to the comments shoppers have been offering for years, Pierce noted.

Why dont you do this, he often heard from customers. We finally did it.

Other conveniences boasted by the 66,000-square-foot store include a drive-through pharmacy, a frozen food section that does not freeze its visitors and wider aisles so there are fewer grocery cart traffic jams.

Tons of technology

Technology is a big part of what Marsh said makes this facility unique.

Theres a lot going on in there, she said.

Several computer kiosks are located throughout the center of the store, offering information about almost anything: Wine and food parings, information about diabetes, recipes, a map of the store sale items and more.

Pierce explained that when shoppers scan their Marsh Fresh Idea cards at a terminal, special discounts that only apply to them are listed. The discounts are based on what that person usually purchases, which is tracked every time they have their Fresh Idea card swiped during checkout.

Shoppers then can print out the list of discounts and refer to it while they shop.

Slightly different kiosks can be found in the different sections of the store; they offer more department-specific information. Marsh said that if a person is looking for produce, for example, they can look up how to pick the most fresh or most ripe cantaloupe. It also holds recipes that can be printed out and used for that nights dinner.

A third type of computer is mounted along the aisles in each section. Anyone who scans their Fresh Idea card will be able to see what is on sale in that area.

Four flat screen televisions are mounted in the central area of the supermarket alerting shoppers of various specials and promotions occurring in the store. One of the first items shown Monday will be a notice of flu shots, which are being offered by the store from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When its time to pay, shoppers have the option of self- or full-service check-out.

Starting a trend

Don Marsh has traveled the world and has great ideas, Jodi Marsh said, adding he "always been known as a visionary.

Part of that vision is to expand the supermarkets reach into the Chicago area using the same floor plan as the new Noblesville store.

This is a flagship store for us, Marsh said, adding, we wanted it to be close to home.

Were excited about launching it here in our backyard.

The next Lifestyle Supermarket will open in Ft. Wayne, Ind. in early 2004.

Already several trade magazines have contacted the home-grown supermarket company about its new design, and Marsh said it will be featured in coming editions, though she didnt know the specific publications.

Tidbits

In addition to bringing a new shopping experience to the area, Marsh also has created 200 new jobs and already is offering fund-raising opportunities for the community.

A community donation fountain will be located in the entrance/exit area of the store. Money thrown into the fountain will be collected for the Salvation Army the month of December, but each following month, a different local community will received the proceeds.

Monday, Don Marsh also is expected to present a $10,000 check to the Salvation Army.

The first 200 shoppers also will receive a treat: a goody bag filled with complementary items and coupons.

The grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting begins at 9 a.m.

Posted by Craig at December 9, 2003 03:18 PM