Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 27

A focal point of the store is the Lowes Foods
Community Table, where shoppers can gather to
sample, enjoy and be inspired to prepare new foods.
And for those who don't have time for the show,
the store offers the Lowes Foods To Go online
personal shopping service, for delivery or pickup.
To be sure, Lowes has created a community inside
the store designed to serve the one outside its walls.

Be Our Guest
The brand transformation and new store concepts
were all inspired by customers, whom Lowes
refers to as guests.
"We started by doing extensive research in the
homes of consumers around our stores," George
explains. "We determined that we needed to create
an experience inside the store that made it worthwhile to come in to shop. We had an opportunity
to build the experience around the idea of community. The heart of our store is to bring the community back to the table, and so the introduction
of our community table was born."
Fashioned of wood reclaimed from Carolina tobacco
barns, the Community Table hosts local groups as
well as the store associates' team huddle each morning.
Wrapped around the table - as well as all of center
store, as a device to drive traffic through the aisles - are
the perimeter's destination departments.
The color and fragrance of produce, fresh-ground
coffee and handmade chocolates greet shoppers at
the entrance, but it's likely to be the rustic aromas
emanating from the meat smoker out in front of the
store that draw folks in and around the perimeter
back to the Smokehouse for the ribs, pulled pork
and other hardwood-smoked meats offered daily.
"We're creating an entirely new shopping experience within our Lowes Foods stores," says Chris
Van Parys, VP of fresh sales and merchandising.
"Our guests expect us to deliver unique, authentic,
great-tasting products that they can also customize
to meet their specific needs. Each of our concepts
has a ready-to-eat component."
And each concept is built around a story. For example, the "proprietor" of Sammy's sandwich shop is a
mustachioed character who travels the world in search
of the best sandwich concepts, Lowe explains. In reality, the hosts behind the Sammy's counter draw from
the store's other signature departments to build their
creations, touted as "hot and fresh in 30 seconds."
"Veggies from our Pick & Prep, barbecue from
our Smokehouse, cheese from our Cheese Shop,"
Lowe says. "A lot of stores have sandwich bars -
we created a concept with a story behind it."
The stories are supported by a host of small details,
many hidden in plain sight, that further enhance
the experience, from PB&Js shaped like Sammy's
mustache to the bear tracks on the floor leading to the
Beer Den, to the rustic decor carried from the walls to

the end caps to the vendor partner displays.
"Our brand is metal and wood. A lot of burlap.
Visual merchandising," Lowe says - appropriate
for a store with a sign reading "Welcome to our
farm" over the front door, and other decor that
evokes the community's deep agricultural roots.
A new end cap display - a giant upside-down
grocery bag that looks like it's spilling out product
- is designed to catch the eye and promote the
Lowes store brand that Lowe notes is clean label
across the board. "We do a lot with our brand to
catch people's attention," he says.
Lowes is catching kids' attention as well, from
the musical cakewalk games and "magic" birthday
candles they can blow out at The Cakery, to the
chicken dances, to the pots and pans to bang on at
the Breadcrumb bakery, and the gadgets and gizmos
galore to play with at SausageWorks, right down to
the free organic apples in the produce section.
"The rituals bring it all to life," Lowe affirms,
explaining how the company hired former Disney
trainers to advise them how hosts could more effectively interact with children. "It's something we
work hard on all the time - if we can get it right
with the kids, we can get it right with the parents."

just in casinGs
Dozens of
sausage
varieties made
on site from
house recipes
are among the
favorites of
shoppers at
Lowes Foods.

August 2017 | progressivegrocer.com |

27


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - August 2017

Contents
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Intro
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - CT1
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - CT2
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover1
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover2
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 3
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 4
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Contents
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 6
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 7
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 8
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Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover3
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