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$4M in renovations, gas station planned at Kroger
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Kroger plans to spend more than $4 million to remodel and add a gas station to its Martinsville store on Commonwealth Boulevard near Liberty Fair Mall and add about 30 employees, a spokesperson for the grocery chain said Wednesday. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin staff writer

Kroger will spend more than $4 million to remodel its Martinsville store and establish a gas station nearby, it announced Wednesday.

The approximately 56,000-square-foot supermarket at Liberty Fair Mall on Commonwealth Boulevard has 119 employees. Kroger expects to hire about 30 more people to work there as part of upgrades planned to the store and the addition of gasoline sales, according to a company release.

Remodeling is under way at the store and should be completed in January, said company spokesman Carl York.

Store departments such as produce and meats will remain in their present locations, although some will be expanded, York said.

However, the remodeling will be broad enough to make the store seem like an entirely new grocery store, he said.

A new storefront will be developed, and the store will get new lighting and automatic entrance doors as well as a new decor, a company release stated.

York said the new interior appearance will have “lighter earthy tones” than those now used in the store, and it will be modern yet “very soothing.”

The produce, meat, seafood and natural foods sections will be expanded, according to the release. York said he thinks no other sections will have to downsize to accommodate the expansions. Instead, “we’ll just have to use (existing) space better,” he said.

The size of the store will not increase, he emphasized.

The store is open from 6 a.m. to midnight each day, and construction will occur while customers shop. York said Kroger will take steps to minimize customers’ inconvenience, such as by controlling dust and making sure employees are available to direct customers to any products that must be moved.

The “Kroger Fuel Center” will be built on the west side of the mall property near the Belk department store. York described the center as being a kiosk with gas pumps under a red-and-silver canopy.

An attendant taking payments for purchases will work in the kiosk.

Although the fuel center will not be a convenience store, it will sell certain convenience items — such as snacks, tobacco products, fuel additives and motor oils — that motorists often buy when they stop for gas, York said.

Several grades of gasoline will be sold, he said.

Customers with Kroger loyalty cards and Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Visa cards will be able to earn discounts on fuel purchases based on their purchases in the supermarket, York said.

Amid plans by mall owner Hull Storey Gibson Companies to upgrade Liberty Fair, the remodeling of Kroger and the construction of the fuel center “is the right thing at the right time,” York said.

Kroger has operated stores at various locations in the Martinsville-Henry County area since 1959, the release stated. Last year, it closed a store on Greensboro Road south of the city which had been unprofitable.

The mall store opened in 1997 and “it was time for a facelift,” York said.

He said Kroger is pleased with the store’s location and its business, and the company aims to remain in the community.

The release stated that Kroger is a supporter of the Martinsville Speedway and charitable organizations, such as the United Way, that serve the area.


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