The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 21, 1991 · Page 13
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October 21, 1991

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 13

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Monday, October 21, 1991
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1 1 fell t ujfi!KV.VI!Ht V(OjMIHM Jf i "1 I ); i; Grocery stores brace for fierce competition ; o ) : 1 'M'Cij 1 1 i - j ' r Vn""" """"' ' BY PATRICIA GALLAGHER The Cincinnati Enquirer n the street leading into Towne Hall shopping center in Middletown, customers can stop for burgers at Hardee's, groceries at Kroger, clothes with fewer shopping choices because the war could weed out some competitors. One of the two big players, Meijer orBigg's, will have to back off, said Chris Ohlinger, president of Service Industry Research Systems Inc., a retail consulting firm. "The chance of two mega-stores surviving in one market has about as good a chance as Anita Hill has of being invited to Clarence Thomas' swearing-in ceremony," Ohlinger said. The smaller, independent operators are more vulnerable than the big players, Muldoon said. "I think your little guys could hurt," he said. The new competition could "put some of those guys to the wall." at McAlpin's, toiletries at Phar-Mor or garden supplies at Frank's. Or they can follow the street another few hundred yards and do all their shopping in a single location at Meijer. "We've got everything," Brad Boord, one Of five store managers, boasts as he conducts a tour through department after department in the giant Meijer store. "It's like we have all those little stores in here." t 1 : i I r.i w - 1 n V For Cincinnati, consider that an advance warning: Food Fight II, the sequel, is coming to town. And as Meijer gears up to attack the Cincinnati market, competitors are bracing for battle. And if the first round launched when Bigg's entered the market in 1984 bruised the some of the more established grocery chains, Round 2 promises to leave them bloody. , Whatever happens won't happen for a while. The battle has barely begun. Meijer still is surveying the field. According to a report in Supermarket News, the company is looking at land in Eastgate, Amelia, Fairfield and Western Hills in Ohio and Florence in Kentucky. No sites have been secured, and construction schedules have not been " ' . ' a t 1 . ' "We've got a lot of good companies competing for a limited dollar," said Tom Jackson, president of the Ohio Grocers Association. "The pie is only so big and it can only be sliced in so many pieces." Hungry for their piece of the pie will be: Meijer. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm, with close to 70 stores in Michigan and Ohio, plans to build up to seven of its trademark "combination" grocerygeneral merchandise stores in Greater Cincinnati. The company is scouting for sites now. Bigg's. Cincinnati-based Hyper Shoppes Inc., owner of three Bigg's stores in Cincinnati and two elsewhere, is close to finalizing plans to build another of its "hypermarkets" in Florence and to identifying one of two spots under consideration for a west-side store. Like Meijer, Hyper Shoppes would like as many as seven Bigg's in Cincinnati. 1 Kroger and Thriftway. The hometown chains by far the leaders in market share continue to spend money to upgrade existing stores and build new ones. In Hyde Park Plaza shopping center, for example, both are building new stores. Independents. IGA operators and others with one or two stores steadfastly insist that service, friendliness and support of neighborhood causes will keep them in the fight for food dollars. Prices down at first Pundits are already picking winners and losers in this emerging grocery war. In the short run, customers will come out ahead, said Phil Muldoon, a stock analyst who follows the food industry for The Ohio Co., a Columbus-based brokerage house. When all the new competition arrives, "I think prices will be better," Muldoon said. "Consumers should probably benefit from it." Longer term, consumers could find themselves set, company spokeswoman Jennifer Downs said. When Meijer does start building and all indications are that will happen soon it will introduce yet another hybrid of retailing to Cincinnati shoppers. The stores will be much larger than the eight Meijer Square general merchandise stores it operated here between 1981 and 1986. Most of its newer stores are combination formats with 200,000 or more square feet. On one side is a grocery store, with cafe, deli, bakery, ice cream shop, fresh meat and seafood counters and other specialty departments. The other side is a general merchandise store, similar to a Kmart or Wal-Mart, devoted to departments selling mostly name-brand clothes, shoes, appliances, toys, gifts, cosmetics, furniture and more. Like many similar concepts, low pricing is store policy. On the general merchandise side, the stores offer to match any competitor's advertised price. Meijer, a family-owned chain launched by a Dutch immigrant in 1934, has taken Ohio by storm. In Columbus, with five stores and one more planned, it caused citywide pricing wars when it arrived in the mid-1980s. More recently, Meijer has initiated fierce fighting in Dayton, where it has opened four stores since the beginning of the year and plans two more. A Bigg's fight At Hyper Shoppes, executive vice president Pierre Wevers is already shaking his head about the prospect of Bigg's vs. Meijer. "That is not going to be good," he said. Like others, Wevers fears Meijer's arrival will throw Cincinnati food stores into a pricing war. Customers could get great deals, but retailers could see already thin profit margins erode. Bigg's could suffer worst at the hands of Meijer. Please see GROCERS, Page B-8 j III t i 7 Ifc - - f ' The Cincinnati EnquirerTony Jones Angie Steele rings up Bradis Arnett's purchases at one of the 28 check-out lanes at the Meijer near Towne Hall shopping center in Middletown. Top ad agencies give away some of their best work 1 Patricia Gallagher Selling Points Jc3L f olf Blumberg Krody has a two-Ill 7 l'er filing system. II II Clients like Procter & Gamble Co., Good Samaritan Hospital and ChoiceCare pay full price. Cost of ad space and time. Cost of production. Commission for agency. But clients like the American Red Cross, Cincinnati Country Day School, Cincinnati Public Schools and Women Helping Women never get a bill from one of Cincinnati's larger ad agencies. Wolf simply writes off what they owe to charity. Agencies across the city and the country do it every day. They call it pro bono work and without it, charity groups and events around town would have a tough time getting their messages out. Consider the League of Women Voters. The group has little money and one half-time staff member. But it has a message: Citizens should vote. To get that message across this year, it enlisted the help of the Advertising Club of Cincinnati, which recruited Galvin Siegel Kemper Advertising. Result: Seven ads that refute fake-but-funny excuses for not voting. (Excuse: had to dip the cat. Retort: No more flea-bitten excuses.) don't just slough it off," Bell said. The Mayor's Summer Concert Series uses a top-notch sound system, an experienced stage crew and the best in local talent for its annual music programs, series coordinator Greg Hatfield said. High-quality ads which this year included a four-color poster from Wolf Blumberg Krody complete the image, he said. So why do agencies spill their sweat and their time and money on give-away work? "It's an opportunity to do some really good work, something you can stretch a little bit with," Bell said. It's hardly a coincidence that agencies Sive among them collect many of their biggest awards for pro bono work. When clients pay, agencies produce what clients' want. When the work is pro bono, though, agencies produce what agency creative staffers want and stretch the creative limits. Not that agencies lack altruistic motives. Folks at Northlich Stolley La-Warre, a large local agency, got a case of . the warm fuzzies from its recent project for Volunteers of America. When the agency started the project, inner-city junior high students re- The league wouldn't have any ads this year if it had to pay for them, said Carol Crow, volunteer in charge of ads. The story is much the same at the United Way & Community Chest. Every year, it needs a full-blown ad campaign complete with brochures, banners and buttons to accompany its annual donation drive. "It's essential to what we're doing," said Carol N. Aquino, director of communications for the United Way. That's the way ad agency SiveYoung & Rubicam approached the assignment, said Karen Bell, vice president and director of account management. In a year, the agency learned about the client, examined its strategies and considered the current climate for giving. Then it produced ads and supporting material. "The agencies doing pro bono work lh-t.)pt'iiitl(tf.'fffw.)ilwW( - '. . uJiL. 'trUAjU. Wtrniu SiveYoung & Rubicam's United Way campaign. cruited for the anti-drug campaign were skeptical. By the time Northlich Stolley finished ads and posters featuring the students in a way they had thought of the teens were thrilled by the attention. Patricia Gallagher writes about advertising and marketing each week in Business Monday. I Wolf Blumberg Krody's Mayor's Summer Concert Series campaign. If you just took the leap into self-employment, columnist Lona O'Connor offers some advice on Have an employee who won't shut up? Or one who needs some work on making speeches? EXEKUSPEAK's Ann Wood can help. B-4 Home Quarters, a division of Maryland-based Hechinger Co., t plans to move into the former Hill's Cassinelli Square store. B-4 coping. In 'Working.' B-2 7 T r-i fin1. .nf-ii 'i-- -

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