RARITAN TWP, NJ – The ShopRite market here that has outlasted many of its competitors over the years has reacted to compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Long-term Hunterdon residents will recall that A&P, Grand Union and Foodtown each once had stores here. Acme market had stores both here and in Lambertville. Of all of them, only Joe Colalillo’s ShopRite survived.
Colalillo is a second-generation grocer; his dad opened ShopRite on Main Street in Flemington almost 60 years ago.
Now the Flemington ShopRite is facing competitive pressure as never before. As the county’s population shrinks – it’s down this decade more than 2 percent so far according to the last government census estimate – its median household income has not kept pace with inflation. And USDA data show people increasingly spend their food dollars away from home, rather than in a supermarket.
At the same time, competitors are moving in. In addition to Stop and Shop on Route 31, ShopRite here also now competes with Walmart and Costco, with Aldi and Lidl both planning to open stores here soon.
Against that backdrop, ShopRite’s new $10 million renovation includes more chef-prepared meals and a new, in-store café, according to a press release from the company.
ShopRite believes its larger remodeled location is “better designed.” The store has added a new food court, added space for ShopRite from Home customers, and features more organic and gluten-free products throughout the store.
As part of the renovation, the store also received a new roof, energy efficient LED lighting and environmentally-friendly refrigerated cases.
ShopRite used adjacent retail space to expand its existing store by 11,000 square feet.
“It has been our family’s mission for the last six decades to provide our customers with a great place to shop and our associates with a great place to work,” said Colalillo, who is president of ShopRite of Hunterdon County. The company owns and operates five ShopRite stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“My father started the family grocery business ... We have a long connection with the community,” he said.
Renovation highlights include a prepared foods department with a “urban-suburban feel,” seating for 30 in the café , a salad bar featuring locally grown and seasonal produce, and a variety of “restaurant quality and seasonal recipes made by ShopRite Kitchen chefs.”
Entrees are packaged in grab-and-go containers for on-the-run meal shopping, and customers will also find freshly made rotisserie chickens, sushi, sandwiches and pizza.
The expanded ShopRite from Home department provides additional parking for customers who pick up grocery orders at the store.
The store now has two dietitians who are available to help with menu planning, nutritional advice and health and wellness goals. Customers can schedule time to talk to a ShopRite pharmacist in the new private consultation room.
Scrunchy’s Playhouse, which offers in-store child care, was refreshed and redecorated as part of renovation.
A grand re-opening celebration has been set for Sunday, Sept. 10. It will include special sales and in-store sampling.