Cub Foods gives fresh look to its new White Bear Lake grocery store

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Minneapolis|St. Paul Business Journal

The newest Cub Foods store has more seafood, a larger hot foods bar and a sleeker look.

It also has the largest liquor store you’ll find attached to any Cub Foods store.

The 61,000-square-foot White Bear Lake grocery store opened Tuesday morning in the redeveloped Kmart site at Interstate 694 and White Bear Avenue. It's the 79th Cub Foods store in Minnesota.

Next door is Cub’s 15,000-square-foot Wine & Spirits store. It’s only Cub’s second Wine & Spirits shop; the first opened in Stillwater in November.

The Wine & Spirits stores are several times the size of traditional Cub Liquor stores and have more wine, craft beer and local products. They also have tasting bars where breweries, vineyards and distilleries can showcase their products.

Inside the grocery store there are several elements that are new for Cub:

  • An extended hot foods bar now has a “bistro” feel, as Cub’s vice president of merchandising and sales Darren Caudill described it during a tour of the store Monday.
  • The bakery has unwrapped breads and bagels where people can serve themselves. The seafood display is much larger, a change Cub has been making as it remodels existing stores.
  • The store looks more modern, with softer LED lights, polished concrete floors and larger front windows that let in more natural light.

Many of the store’s features will be added to other locations " where it makes sense,” Caudill said.

Cub gets the majority of grocery sales in the Twin Cities, but its lead is being challenged by newcomers like Hy-Vee Inc. and Fresh Thyme, as well as some who have grown over the past few years, like Whole Foods Market Inc. and Trader Joe’s.

Caudill said some of the new elements at the White Bear Lake store are not responses to competitors.

“We really believe in being the best Cub we can be,’” he said. “We didn’t try to be like Wal-Mart when they came to town.”

Oppidan Investment Co. of Minnetonka developed the store. The store is flanked by a Planet Fitness and a Northern Tool and Equipment store. Ted Gonsior of Colliers International Minneapolis-St. Paul is handling leasing for Oppidan.

Cub Foods is owned by Eden Prairie-based grocery distributor and store operatorSupervalu Inc. (NYSE: SVU).

Nick Halter covers retail and sports business.



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