An Upper Arlington-area Kroger last week unveiled a $9-million renovation and expansion project, the store's first in its nearly 30-year history.
Kroger officials held a grand reopening Dec. 12 for the store at 1375 Chambers Road, Columbus, following completion of the nearly 10-month project.
The work included construction of a 19,000-square-foot addition, an expansion of the store's natural foods and organic sections and the construction of a new fuel center outside.
The work marked the first expansion for the local Kroger, and its most significant remodel since opening in April 1984, company representatives said.
"It was the combination of needing more space to carry more products and refreshing our store," said Jackie Siekmann, a spokeswoman for Kroger's Columbus division. "With this store, we have a lot of customers that shop the organic section, that shop the natural foods."
Siekmann said the store now carries more than 100 varieties of organic fruits and vegetables. In addition, its meat department now has a grilling station and open-air seafood.
A Starbucks with a seating area was introduced, as well as a Murray's Cheese section in the deli department, she said. There also is a new wine-tasting bar and a refrigerated floral conservatory.
"A $9-million expansion is a pretty significant investment," Siekmann said. "This store now is the first store out of 124 in the Columbus division to have a refrigerated floral conservatory.
"It's a room made out of stone and it's a refrigerated room, and shoppers can go in and make their own bouquets."
New energy-efficient lighting was installed, including skylights. Siekmann said the interior lights will dim whenever enough sunlight shines through the skylights.
Although the arrangement of the store and its products were reconfigured, the Kroger remained open while the work was being done.
The store now encompasses more than 91,000 square feet. Additionally, about 70 new employees have been hired, bringing the total number of people working there to more than 200.
"We had a good store, but the expansion allowed us to turn this into a great store," manager Sara Littleton said. "The expansion, combined with a new layout, allows us to better utilize the space we have and sell more of the products our customers want."