Ukrop's in Richmond, VA

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Dave
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Ukrop's in Richmond, VA

Post by Dave » 18 Jan 2006 14:45

Ukrop's, our local large grocery chain, is closing one of their older stores at the end of the month. It was built in 1975 and is still pretty much unaltered from the exterior, though it has been somewhat expanded over the years, taking over adjacent space that was once an independent drugstore. This is a suburban store which is pretty small by today's standards. I would rank it as having fairly poor road access (and no pedestrian access to speak of).

Ukrop's has sort of a cult-like following around here. Some people I know insist on showing off the stores to out-of-town guests. They are a pretty nice operation, doing things like taking your groceries out to your car in the parking lot and loading them into your trunk, for example. No parcel pickup or cart corrals for the Ukrops folks. They have achieved a remarkable success also considering that they sell no wine or beer and are closed on Sundays.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch had two articles this past Monday on the closing. One is a sort of standard piece, but the other was a list of tips from a counselor on how to cope with the closing of the store:

Adjusting

Richmond Times-Dispatch Jan 16, 2006


Reminisce, talk about any feelings of loss, then embrace the new, counselors say:
Reality: The loss of familiar stores, staff and routines isn't "just about the closing of a store and the need to find a new one. Change or loss is hard for any of us, but especially as we get older," says Joan Garrabrant, a Richmond licensed clinical social worker. "This is much more than a grocery store. It is love in action. I hope people recognize that."
Trusting: "It is important to expect -- trust -- that there are people who want to help, and then engage them with a request," suggests Richmond therapist Sue Fuller. It may help if you write down a couple of key requests. "With an expectation that 'I can find new people who will understand and offer kindnesses,' the likelihood of having this experience increases. Simple but profound."
Starting over: "Go to the new store; introduce yourself to the manager; get to know the staff by name; familiarize yourself with the parking area and the store," says Reese Harris, a licensed clinical social worker. "Then make yourself seen and known there with some regularity."
Alumnus: "Let the new manager know that you have high expectations of the new site for your shopping" as an alumnus of a closed store, says Gale Davis, community relations and caregiver support manager of Senior Connections/Capital Area Agency on Aging. Tell him of your specific needs and challenges. Treat staff as sensitively as you're asking to be treated.
Celebrate: Attend the Jan. 28 reception at the Ukrop's at 8800 Patterson Ave. to thank staff and talk with other loyal customers about good times and sad feelings as the store closes for good at 9:30 p.m., Garrabrant adds. "Those rituals help us deal with major changes."

The other article I mentioned can be found here:

http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Sa ... 5855936229

verywell

Post by verywell » 01 Feb 2006 00:41

Ukrop's is a really nice store. It's a pity they have to close one of their oldest stores.

danielh_512
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Post by danielh_512 » 01 Feb 2006 01:49

I agree. I had not been in an Ukrop's until about 10 days ago, and I went to 5 of them. I was amazed at the presentation level from such a small chain (more refined than Kroger and other larger chains), the selection, layout, service, and the prices were a lot better than I expected from them.

If anyone here is ever in Richmond, I recommend visiting an Ukrop's. If you love supermarkets, you'll see a chain who's stayed true to their roots, and does things right. Almost every chain could learn a thing or 2 from Ukrop's.

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 01 Feb 2006 17:51

danielh_512 wrote:... Almost every chain could learn a thing or 2 from Ukrop's.
Actually, they do study them pretty often - whether they learn anything is another matter. The stores near me that I go to most often represent their three newest prototypes. From time to time. you can see the Ukrop's managers giving tours to groups from other (non competing) chains.

About 14 or so years ago, my wife went to Ukrop's and did what was then a pretty big shopping trip for us. When she checked out, she discovered that she'd forgotten her wallet. No cash, checks (they didn't accept credit cards then, but she didn't have those either), and no ID whatsoever.

The cashier made a discreet wave to the front end manager, who came over, filled out a short form and had my wife sign it. Then they sent her on her way with the groceries. My wife said that there was no fuss, and no scene.

When she got home, I rushed back to the store, wen to the office, and paid for the order. The lady in the office said, "You didn't have to rush back! You could have just paid the next time you were in."

The word is that they still do this. I don't know how or if they "vet" the customer to decide who they'll take a chance on. When it happened to us, we were far from regular customers.

I've been working on grocery history in Richmond as time allows. Maybe I can provide more on Ukrop's in the future.

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Post by Dave » 28 Mar 2006 22:22

Ukrop's is now closing their oldest store (1971) in June. It's at 7803 Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond. It was opened as a replacement for the second store in the chain and was the sixth Ukrop's store.

It's been remodeled a lot over the years but still has a very much older feel and is pretty tiny by modern standards - it shares space in a shopping center with a Blockbuster and a dry cleaners and the whole center is around 43,000 square feet. Their newest store is about five minutes away and they have five other stores within six miles of the Midlothian Turnpike location.

Ukrop's seems to be fiddling about a little more than usual lately with things like closing older stores (this will be the second this year), changing the way they do their specials, making changes to thier store brand items, and hooking up with Benevolink, but they still seem to be committed to their basic way of doing business. It's a lot of changes for a market that doesn't necessarily relish changes. :)

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