Window on the West
by Mary Rupert
There’s a new “best” among the grocery stores in Kansas City, Kan. A new Price Chopper that opened at 7600 State Ave. at Wyandotte Plaza on Wednesday, July 16, is clearly the best.
With its greater space, new building, and new features such as a pharmacy, Starbucks and deli, the Wyandotte Plaza grocery store tops the competition, at least for now. It has dine-in space for the deli and coffee shop. It continues to have a bakery, a floral area, a butcher shop and a savings and loan office. There is a larger section for health and beauty products, a larger produce section, and some specialty areas such as ethnic foods aisles, an everything for $1 aisle, and a gluten-free aisle.
The store has a high open ceiling giving the feeling of even more space than the 68,000 square feet it has. The building on the east side of Wyandotte Plaza replaces the Price Chopper formerly on the west side of the shopping center, which is undergoing a complete renovation.
I might have earlier said Hen House at 82nd and Parallel Parkway was the best grocery in Kansas City, Kan., but now the prize goes to the Price Chopper that opened Wednesday.
Like almost all other big grocery stores constructed in the past several years in Kansas City, Kan., the store had help from a mix of economic development programs at the local government level.
The grocery store business has been highly competitive in Wyandotte County, especially in the past several years. Just recently, the Lipari Thriftway at 800 Kansas Ave., in the Armourdale area of Kansas City, Kan., for more than 50 years, closed. And not too long ago, a grocery near 46th and Parallel Parkway closed. The downtown Kansas City, Kan., area has been termed a “food desert,” without a full-service grocery, and there have been plans under discussion for some time to bring a grocery store there. Another former “food desert,” the Argentine area, constructed a grocery store last year and soon will have another one.
Not only are grocery stores competing against each other here, they’re also competing against large discount stores selling groceries, convenience stores and gas stations that have groceries. Besides high-quality food, selection and excellent customer service, location has been very important for grocery stores in recent years, especially with higher gasoline costs. At the same time, some stores that were close together did not survive. The location of a former grocery store at 46th and Parallel, for example, was only about 1.5 miles from another grocery and 2.2 miles from a third grocery store.
A former Armourdale resident who liked to shop at the Lipari Thriftway, Patty Dysart, said recently that she thought the competition was too much from the Sunfresh store at Prescott Plaza near 18th and I-70. She also noted that the Thriftway had tried to expand the size of its store some years ago, but that it was not approved. The location of the Armourdale store was around 2.5 miles from the Sunfresh store, and around 2.5 miles from the new Argentine groceries.
Dysart kept coming back to the Armourdale store for years because she liked the people who owned the store and worked there. Customer service will continue to be the key to retaining customers long after the newness of grocery stores wears off.
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