By Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley
Photos by Eric Bentley
Louisville, KY., – Being a South End girl, I must admit to a bit of cynicism when it comes to new development in our area. So when I heard a while back that Kroger would open its first Louisville-area Marketplace on Dixie Highway, I was like, “yeah, right. All we get are chicken restaurants and Walgreens.”
Then the construction started. I actually became giddy at the thought of something this “fancy” so close to home.
Apparently, so did my neighbors.
That’s just before 8 a.m. this morning.
Pam and her three buddies were one of the first to walk through the doors after NASCAR driver Ben Rhodes cut the ribbon. They arrived there at 5:30 this morning.
Their entrance was heralded by cheerleaders from Holy Cross High School and Western High School’s marching band. Butler Traditional High School’s marching band also arrived to entertain the customers as they proceeded inside (the last of the line finally entered 23 minutes after the ribbon cutting).
“Did you ever think we would get something like this out here?” I just had to ask the women as they walked in.
“Nope,” Pam said as she hurriedly zipped past with her cart, only to walk into a $20 million facility that presents quite a first impression upon entrance.
Tim McGurk, Kroger’s public affairs manager for the Louisville Division, said there were several factors that went into making an investment such as this.
“You look at as ‘Is it an an area that would support a store this big? Is there space available?’ This does take up a lot of space,” he said. “Dixie Highway was due a new store, so the timing was just right.
It was about dang time, in my opinion. Now, we have a destination with expanded options in produce, organics, meat, seafood (a sushi bar!), as well as clothing, toys and kitchen wares.
Specialty departments include Murray’s Cheese Shop, Boar’s Head, and Starbucks.
“It’s got a little bit of everything!” said Lorrie as she and her mother, Bonita, emerged from the store roughly an hour later.
“It’s so large,” Bonita said. “It’s going to take me forever to get through it.”
“I got her a map though,” her daughter said. Yes, the new Kroger Marketplace has maps to guide you through it.
“I hate to say it, but they don’t get anything in this area anymore,” Bonita said. “They close everything down. I’m so glad this is here now.”
McGurk said customers will also notice a change in attitude from the staff.
“Over the last year or two, there’s been a great big focus on making sure our stores understand that our number one priority is to feed the human spirit, uplift our customers, and to make our stores a place where they truly love to shop.”
Another treat for those who live in the region, and just can’t make it into the store for one reason or the other, is Kroger’s ClickList online ordering. That begins Sept. 29. Customers can order on-line, then—at a time they designate—they can pull up and have their groceries loaded into their car.
A Wine & Spirits Shoppe is located next to the main store, offering hundreds of varieties of wine, spirits and beers.
So, yeah, they do have a bit of everything, which makes this South End girl a bit proud.