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Albertsons plans $1 million store makeover.

Byline: Joe Mosley The Register-Guard

Albertsons is joining a back-to-nature movement among Eugene

area grocers.

The Boise-based chain will become the latest local retailer to emphasize an upscale shopping experience and an expanded inventory of organic products, when a $1 million face-lift of its store at 311 Coburg Road in Eugene is completed in September.

"This will be the first Albertsons (in the Willamette Valley) to have the `Premium Fresh and Healthy' format, which emphasizes products that are healthy as well as easy to find and easy to prepare," company spokeswoman Donna Eggers said Wednesday. "This format is also very aesthetically appealing."

The `Premium Fresh and Healthy' format was announced in November by Supervalu, which acquired most of the Albertsons chain in June. The parent company plans to pour $1 billion into the format by upgrading various stores in its market chains, including selected Albertsons, Acme and Shaw's outlets.

"We can deliver to our customers an in-store experience that leverages our great local retail banner names with some new powerful upgrades in key departments," Supervalu CEO Jeff Noddle said when he announced the `Premium Fresh and Healthy' format four months ago.

Upgrades at stores selected for the new look will include expanded perishable food departments - produce, meat and seafood, bakery and deli - along with new "Shop the World" international foods departments, new selections of Wild Harvest brand natural and organic products, and larger pharmacy and health and beauty care areas.

The Eugene store's remodel is not expected to include much structural change, but plans on file with the Eugene Planning & Development Department indicate new flooring and interior walls, along with replacement of nearly all fixtures and refrigeration units. The plans call for new entrances, including roll-up doors, as well as an updated main entrance.

The plans also note that "all existing areas shall remain operational during the construction period," which Eggers said should run into September.

Building permits have not yet been issued, but city planner Mark Whitmill said "just a couple minor issues" remain.

The remodel is being shepherded by the Portland firm of Lundin Cole Architects. Elijah Elder, an associate at Lundin Cole who is working on the project, said the goal is to bring the store in line with other recent entries in upscale grocery shopping. "It's basically just a remodel to give them a new look - sort of the up-to-date look (grocery stores) are doing these days," he said.

Elder said the Albertsons remodel may not go as far down the natural-look path as some other stores that have gone to polished concrete floors and open duct-work ceilings with suspended lighting.

"We're just going to give it a nice, fresh look," Elder said.

Other local stores that have adopted earthy, upscale amenities and increased selections of natural and organic products include the Market of Choice chain, the new Ray's Food Place in Santa Clara and the Safeway at Cal Young and Coburg roads.
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Title Annotation:Business; The Coburg Road grocer joins the upscale, organic trend with its revamp
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 8, 2007
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