Kroger is testing a new partnership where mini grocery popups will open inside Walgreens stores.
Kroger has announced a new partnership with Walgreens where the chain grocer will open new, compact grocery stores within the pharmacy over the next few months. According to a corporate press release from the retailers, Kroger will revamp 13 different Walgreens pharmacies to make room for mini-scale grocery outlets fully stocked with fresh produce, meat, dairy, and an expansive frozen section. Notably, these mini supermarkets—called Kroger Express—will also offer Home Chef meal kits for home cooks looking for a pre-prepped meal solution.
Executives of both brands are using the first 13 stores to see if shoppers respond well to the concept of a one-stop shop. The first Walgreens to test the concept is located in Florence, Kentucky, a location where Kroger is already in operation. The collaboration will bring more than 2,300 grocery products into Walgreens, mostly made up of Kroger's private-label brand, Simple Truth.
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This isn't the first time a grocery chain has joined forces with non-food retailers—many shoppers were excited to hear of an ongoing partnership between Kohl's and Aldi back in March, where Kohl's shared sequestered building space with Aldi in order to attract more customers. Unlike this concept, however, Kroger's 4,000-square-foot grocery aisles are seamlessly integrated into Walgreens stores and focus on selling items that won't overlap with Walgreens' current offerings.
Photo courtesy of Kroger.
More on new ways to buy groceries:
Kroger has also expanded an existing relationship with the pharmacy to offer online order pickups at the pharmacy for grocery orders, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Kroger umbrella of supermarkets has also previously tested meal kits in their supermarkets, so the choice to roll out Home Chef meal kits to 65 Walgreens stores in Chicago—in addition to Kroger Express markets—isn't all that surprising. Home Chef will launch three different unique meal kits for Walgreens' customers and will rotate recipes bi-weekly, with prices for a two-serving meal kit starting at $17.
8 Food Items…from Walgreens
If you haven’t been to the new Walgreens on State and North University, do it. Seriously. The two-story shop in place of the former Michigan Book & Supply has all your food and dorm essentials (plus more than a few extra items you probably didn’t know you needed ’til now). If you didn’t have a reason to stop by the new Walgreens before, here are eight:
1. Fresh produce: It can be hard to keep new years resolutions on a college diet, but Walgreens is helping to make it a little easier. Soon you’ll be able to find fresh fruit and vegetables right on-campus in a refrigerated produce section near the front of the store. Who knew!?
2. Frozen yogurt station: It may be zero degrees outside, but c’mon, when is it ever a bad time for some froyo? Choose between nonfat and lowfat flavors such as birthday cake, cookies ‘n cream, or Tahitian vanilla, and pile it with toppings: fruity pebbles, Oreo pieces, Butterfinger bites, mini gummy bears, or (my favorite) sea salt caramel truffles. Get a small for $3.99 or splurge for a large at $4.99 (no more weighing by ounce!).
3. Build-your-own 6 Pack: Thanks to Walgreens, your beer options for tonight just got a little more sophisticated. Now you can choose your own six-pack, mixing-and-matching between classics like Heineken and Stella or switching it up with a few artisan and local brews. Either way it’s only $9.99 for a six-pack or $1.99 for single bottles.
4. Wine-to-go: Not a beer drinker? Try my new obsession: wine-juice boxes by Vendage ($4.99). No more breakable glass or impossible corks to deal with. Just wine in a juice box—like sipping apple juice when you were five, but better, so much better.
5. ICEE machines: Watch out 7-Eleven, Walgreens also has frozen ICEES. Choose your flavor: Coca-Cola, Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Mountain Dew, Raspberry Lemon, Orange Dream, Cherry Lime, or Piña Colada. Then enjoy it as is, or with a little something extra. Get a small for $1.29 or large for $1.59.
6. Coffee Station: Stop paying three dollars a day for coffee and brew a cup on your way to class at Walgreens instead. There’s even a Starbucks coffee machine ($1.59 a cup) if you don’t want to get stuck in the 10 am Starbucks line next door.
7. Energy Boosters: If this winter weather has you tired all the time (or maybe that’s just me?) Walgreens has an entire aisle of energy boosting products to help. Power bars for between classes, red bulls and 5 hr. energy shots for before going out, even dissolvable energy sheets (whatever those are), they have everything you need in one convenient section to help you power through this polar vortex.
Here's a list of stores with senior hours:
- : Now through February 27, stores are open from 6 to 9 .am. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and at-risk customers to shop.
- ALDI: Stores are reserved for seniors and at-risk customers from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- BJ's Wholesale Club: Anyone 60 and older can shop Monday through Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m.
- Costco: Any member 60 and older can shop Monday through Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. : The first hour of operation is reserved for seniors. Call your local store to find out opening times.
- Fareway: Anyone 65 and older, immunocompromised, or expectant mothers can shop from 8 to 9 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
- Food Lion: Every Monday and Wednesday, seniors and at-risk customers can shop from 7 to 8 a.m.
- Fred Meyer: Seniors and at-risk customers can shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 a.m.
- Fresh Market: Anyone 65 and older can shop from 8 to 9 a.m. on weekdays.
- Gelson's: Anyone 65 and older can shop from 7 to 8 a.m.
- Harris Teeter: Every Monday and Thursday from 6 to 8 a.m. is reserved for shoppers 60 and older.
- Kroger: In some areas, stores open at least one hour earlier for seniors and at-risk customers. Call your local store for exact times.
- Morton Williams: Stores are reserved from 7 to 8 a.m. for seniors.
- Pavilions: Now through February 25, stores are open from 6 to 7 a.m. Mondays through Fridays for at-risk shoppers.
- Price Chopper: Stores are open from 6 to 7 a.m. for seniors and at-risk customers.
- Rite Aid: Seniors and at-risk customers can shop from 9 to 10 a.m. on weekdays.
- Safeway: Now through February 25, stores are open from 7 to 9 .am. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and at-risk customers to shop.
- Shaw's: Now through February 25, stores are open from 6:30 to 9 .am. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and at-risk customers to shop.
- Target: Stores are reserving the first hour on Tuesdays for "vulnerable shoppers." Call your local store to find out exact hours.
- Trader Joe's: Stores will dedicate the first hour (either 8 to 9 .am. or 9 to 10 a.m.) on Wednesdays and Sundays to seniors and at-risk customers. Call your local store to find out exact hours.
- Vons: Now through February 26, stores are open from 6 to 7 a.m. on Mondays through Fridays for seniors and at-risk customers to shop.
- Walmart: Stores open one hour early on Tuesday for 60 and older to shop. Call your local store to find out exact hours.
- Whole Foods Market: Stores open one hour early for 60 and older and at-risk customers to shop. Call your local store for exact hours.
For helpful resources regarding coronavirus, visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Coronavirus Disease fact page and The National Association of County and City Health Officials' directory of local health departments.
Enjoying the sun and making smart Steps with Walgreens #BalanceRewards
One thing we are adamant about with our kids is that they grow up in an active family. We try and go biking, hiking, and exploring whenever possible, but when we’re not able to do that, we simply walk everywhere. With spring weather slowly arriving in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been loving all the sun and taking every opportunity to get outside and be active.
With weather predicted to be in the 70s over Easter weekend, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to head out of the city and explore Chuckanut Drive and Bellingham as a family… and maybe even sneak in a quick hike. Of course, that means snacks for the trail and for the trip up north so while my daughter was in school, little man and I decided to enjoy some sunshine and walk over to our local Walgreens to do a little shopping for the weekend.
In addition to snacks for the trail/road, I was also interested in learning more about the new Steps campaign at Walgreens through their Balance Rewards program that encourages their members to record their fitness achievement and awards points for each task. Since hubby and I already wear smart pedometers daily, I was excited to see how we could use the data we’re already collecting and earn points for stuff we’re already buying. But, in addition to earning points, I saw it as a great way to teach the kiddos about the importance of daily activity and was hoping to get a pedometer for our daughter as well.
We had planned on asking about the Steps program as soon as we got to Walgreens, but we got distracted as soon as we walked in the door and started our shopping instead. We headed around the store and picked up nuts and seeds, granola bites, bars, dried fruits, beef jerky, and more, and then we headed over to check out their selection of pedometers, activity trackers, heart monitors and fitness gadgets to see if there was something we could use.
I was really surprised by the selection of fitness and wellness gadgets and spent quite a bit of time perusing the shelves. I was seeing everything from basic fitness tools to electronics you can wear on your wrist, as well as some things I had never seen before that I was curious about, like the LifeStrength ionic bracelet touted as “the vitamin you wear”.
Curiosity got the best of me and I took one up to the register to check the price while I purchased all our other treats. Up at the register, a quick chat with the manager gave us everything we were looking for about the Steps program as well as an awesome Walgreens branded pedometer and bag that they had for promotional use that would be perfect for our hike. And, then in the end, I surprised myself by adding the LifeStrength band to my order as well so we could check it out on our busy weekend ahead and see if we noticed a difference.
When we got home, I packed our bag for our journey, filled up some water bottles to chill in the fridge, and hopped on the computer to start earning Balance Rewards points for all the upcoming activities. It was mere minutes and I had successfully joined the Steps program and then I explored the site a little bit to see all that it offered. I was really happy when I realized that you can actually sync smart activity trackers like the FitBits that hubby and I both wear right to your Steps account so you don’t have to remember to log each mile manually.
You can also earn rewards for making fitness goals for yourself, weighing yourself, buying fitness related items at Walgreens, participating in local walk/runs/triathalons and more. If you haven’t already, I urge you to start a Steps account through the Balance Rewards program. It’s free to join, simple to sign up for, and it’s a great way to motivate yourself and your family.
While the jury is still out on whether the LifeStrength I bought makes a noticeable difference in how I feel, getting outside in the sunshine with my favorite people certainly makes a difference in my outlook. Even though I woke up to a rather gloomy Monday, I still feel better knowing how active we were over the weekend and am excited to get out again as a family.
And, although my daughter is young and our focus isn’t on weight loss, I found that giving her the pedometer for the weekend was a great move on our part. The energy and excitement she had about tracking her steps was contagious and we all pushed ourselves a bit more than we would have otherwise. And, the best part is that instead of asking to be carried or saying she was tired only part of the way through our day, she was really excited to get as many steps as she could and was running circles around us the whole time.
The bonus was getting home and logging on to the Steps Balance Rewards site to see that I earned 540 points just having fun with the family. If you haven’t signed up for Walgreens Balance Rewards program you will need to do that before you can sign up for the Steps program, but both programs are free and completely painless to sign up for. Why not get rewarded to shop, stay fit, and meet your wellness goals?
Read more about our shopping trip, Steps program signup process and our day hiking as a family in our Google+ album. You can also see more about Aisle Share FUN page.
Find out more at Walgreens.com and follow Walgreens on Twitter and Facebook.
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My Favorite Walgreens putting limits on Coupon deals.
So what do I think about this new rule? You may be shocked that I support it 100%, now let me explain why. Remember last week when we talked about being able to find items in stock, and which store are ok to stock up at. Well not everyone follows these rules. Walgreens is not a warehouse, instead they are more of a quick stop in go store, and are limited to the quantities they can order and receive. What is happening is, a few coupon shoppers are lining up at the doors Sunday Morning and totally clearing the store out of every Register Reward item, or hot promo within the first few hours of being open. Yes a few shoppers were able to score BIG, but the store is then left ALL week with frustrated shoppers unable to find the deals they came for.
Personally I feel allowing you to get 4 of each Register Reward item, each day is VERY generous. For example you can get 4 toothpaste, 4 shampoo, 4 Razors… etc. Walgreens has great deal every week, so before long you will have more coupon items than you know what to do with. This will also allow you to find the fabulous deals they offer in stock, and allow for a more pleasant shopping experience. Plus this store will now be able to serve or bless the lives of a whole community not just a few shoppers.
I am lucky to have a coupon friendly Walgreens right down the street from me, and I feel this new limit really is a blessing. Since I do not shop on Sundays, I am looking forward to being able to coupon shop and find the items I am looking for in stock. I understand that they are setting limits not to be harsh on coupon shoppers, instead to allow more of you to be able to shop there….. and soon you too will understand why this is one of my favorite stores to coupon shop at.
Check out at the beauty counter.
The beauty counter in the cosmetics section of your local Walgreens is an excellent place to check out. Not only is the line shorter (or even better, nonexistent), the cashier is more inclined to take his or her time with your items and coupons. Plus, the designated beauty-counter employee often has extra coupons and free samples! If you don’t see anyone near the counter, ask the cashier at the front if they can call someone over to the beauty counter for you.
Make sure you don’t have more coupons than products.
The Walgreens registers won’t allow cashiers to accept more manufacturer coupons than total products being purchased. This gets tricky because Register Rewards used as payment are considered manufacturer coupons. So if you’re purchasing five items and using five manufacturer coupons and a Register Reward, the register will beep and reject the sixth coupon. To solve this problem, use filler items.
Use filler items to balance the coupon-to-product ratio.
Ask for a rain check if an item is out of stock.
It’s up to individual stores to determine if/how a rain check is issued, but generally, rain checks are good for in-store purchases only and are valid for 60 days. Speak to a cashier or the manager, and sometimes a substitution for a similar product of the same brand and price can be issued instead of a rain check. You can’t receive rain checks for Register Rewards items.
Earn and use Balance Rewards Points in the same transaction.
Shop at Walgreens and use your card at least once every six months and your Points won’t expire for three years! To redeem Points, follow the prompts on the debit card pad or ask your cashier. In most cases, you can use and earn Balance Rewards Points in the same transaction! Here’s how:
Use and earn Points when a promotion involves buying a specific number of products like “Buy 2 Simple Care items, receive 2,000 Balance Rewards Points.” If the promotion requires you to reach a certain dollar amount threshold, however, like “Spend $20 on Neutrogena, receive 10,000 Balance Rewards Points,” you can’t use and earn Points. You’d have to spend over the threshold amount (say, $25) in order to use Points.
Also keep in mind that you can’t redeem or earn Points on purchases of: dairy, stamps, prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, phone cards, lottery tickets, charitable donations, transportation passes or money orders.
Receive bonus Catalina offers at checkout.
If you’re lucky, a special Catalina coupon will print out at the register. These bonus coupons vary by person and value. For instance, one may be good for extra Balance Rewards Points when you spend a certain dollar amount, another may be redeemed for extra Register Rewards promotions. Read the fine print carefully and always check the expiration date.
What Pharmacies Looked Like Before Giant Corporate Mergers Like Walgreens-Rite Aid
Here's how pharmacies went from selling medicine to soda fountains to makeup.
Walgreens Buys Rite Aid for More Than $9 Billion
-- Before Walgreens announced that it was acquiring Rite Aid in a deal worth around $17.2 billion, creating more than 12,800 locations that will overtake giant CVS, pharmacies were different operations.
The acquisition announced Tuesday creates the nation's largest retail drugstore chain. The move follows Walgreens' acquisition of Alliance Boots in December. Walgreens and Rite Aid claim it will cut business costs by $1 billion.
In the bygone days, pharmacies weren't a one-stop shop for everything from groceries to holiday gifts. Walgreens was a neighborhood drugstore in Chicago founded in 1901 that measured 50 feet by 20 feet, according to the company website.
Charles R. Walgreen, Sr. gained experience from the age of 16 working at Horton's Drugstore and was paid $4 a week. He became a registered pharmacist in 1897. When he opened his own pharmacy in Barrett's Hotel on Chicago's South Side, "Aisles were widened, creating a spacious, airy, welcoming feeling -- a far cry from the cramped interiors of other drugstores. The selection of merchandise was improved and broadened, including pots and pans (unheard of in a drugstore!) at the bargain price of 15¢ a piece," Walgreens' website states.
By 1910, there were two Walgreen stores. But the company needed a way to outshine competitors.
"Over the preceding 100 years, the soda fountain had become key to virtually every American drugstore," according to the Walgreens website. "Beginning in the early 19th century, bottled soda water, and later charged soda water, were considered important health aids, making it a natural fixture in drugstores. To dispense the icy-cold, charged water, a tin pipe and spigot were attached. Soon, flavored syrups were added to the fizzy water and still later, ice cream added to that. As sodas grew in popularity, so the 'soda fountain' grew in beauty, ornamentation and importance as a revenue source to the drugstore."
Today, drugstores are competing to offer everything from makeup to medicine. Often, the convenience of a drugstore can trump competitive prices. Drugstores charge 38 percent more than mass merchants for cosmetics, food and flu and pain medicine, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence over the summer.
A Walgreens-Rite Aid merger could result in lower retail prices for non-prescription merchandise, according to Jennifer Bartashus, retail staples analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.
It's possible that the combination of Walgreens and Rite Aid may provide lower prices to customers, as many mergers get better purchasing terms as a larger organization, Bartashus said.
"Don't expect prices to go as low as competitors such as some grocery stores, Wal-Mart or Target," she said. "People buy items in drug stores for convenience and for specialty items not available elsewhere, so they are willing to pay a premium for them."
Soon You'll Be Able To Buy Aldi Groceries Next Door To Kohl's
Grocery store impulse buys usually come in the form of candy bars or a bag of chips, but a new partnership between Kohl's and Aldi could have you leaving your weekly grocery run with a so-Lauren Conrad three-quarter-sleeve blazer. And some J.Lo hoops.
Kohl's announced this week that five to 10 stores will soon have an Aldi supermarket adjacent to them in an effort to bring in more customers. It's part of a move to "rightsize" hundreds of Kohl's locations, making the shopping area smaller, creating a new space to lease out to other companies.
The pairing makes sense &mdash both stores are known for being budget-friendly with quality products, and it's not the first time clothes and groceries have been sold in the same place (think Target, Walmart, etc.). Plus, Aldi's current expansion plan involves more than 2,500 store openings in the next few years, with a goal of becoming the third-largest grocery chain in America by 2020. While you'll have to leave Kohl's to enter Aldi, and vice versa, the convenience of having the two right next door is clear.
For shoppers, the new partnership means killing two birds with one stone when checking off errands. Shoppers will be able to pick up clothes, shoes, or home decor from Kohl's, then grab fresh groceries from Aldi next door (knock-off Girl Scout cookies and cheap rosé, anyone?). As of last year, customers can return Amazon purchases at Kohl's locations, too.
With an additional 200 Kohl's stores on track to be rightsized this year, if the pilot goes well, more Aldi-Kohl's locations could be coming before long. Kohl's says they're exploring other partnerships too, "be it a grocer or other strong retail concept." Start prepping your super-cheap meals now.
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What Is a Grocerant?
Blurring the line between restaurants and grocery stores, grocerants offer the appeal of freshly prepared foods in a convenient setting. A grocerant is an opportunity to pick up a meal you don't have to cook yourself, and therefore is an attractive option for a lot of people. In fact, three in four consumers would rather dine out with family and friends than stay in and cook, according to the National Restaurant Association.
As grocerants gain in popularity, not every grocery store will find themselves installing cafe seating and hiring waitstaff, but many are sure to continue or expand their freshly prepared offerings.
The Spontaneous Method
Now that I’ve told you my super-organized grocery shopping method, I’ll tell you what I do on weeks where the menu planning doesn’t happen. I actually used this method on Monday morning.
I wake up on Monday morning and go to Menus4Moms before getting the kids up for school. I find a menu that my family will eat and print out the recipes and shopping list. I cross off everything on the shopping list that we already have, then retype it in Word based on the Winco store layout. I add stuff I need for breakfast, lunch, and snacks and print out my list. When the kids leave to school, I go shopping.
Fortunately the Menus4Moms menu plans usually cost under $100 for all the ingredients, so I usually stay within my budget on bad weeks.
So now you all know how I plan my shopping. How do you plan yours?