Bakery and pastry rooms connect through a doorway.
The bakery room emphasizes crusty breads and single-serve bakery products.
A new store, similar to this one in Noblesville, Ind., will open in the Chicago area this fall.
MARSH SUPERMARKETS has reinvented the wheel with its new Lifestyle store format. The store redirects the way shoppers move through the supermarket by eliminating the linear aisle design and organizing them as a wheel. Each department, including its in-store bakery, is positioned in separate rooms that can be accessed from the center of the store or through doorways connecting each room.
Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets currently has four Lifestyle stores and will begin building another one in Naperville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, in September. The company plans more stores in the Chicago area, but no locations have been released.
By moving the center aisle groceries, Marsh Lifestyle stores categorize shopping needs differently than traditional supermarkets. Two rooms, bakery and pastry, are dedicated to the in-store bakery department. The stores merchandise ingredients and supplies for home baking along with the in-store bakery products. The pastry room, for example, sells cake mixes, flour, sugar and spices next to in-store-made 8-in. fruit pies.
Vision for future
"The new Marsh stores are Lifestyle stores and have a new innovative design and layout based on our customers' lifestyles and shopping behavior," Don Marsh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said in a public release. "Our vision for the future is reflected in these stores."
How this move affects in-store bakery sales remains to be seen. The company operates 68 supermarkets under the Marsh name in central Indiana and western Ohio. While only a few of them are Lifestyle stores, Marsh has a tradition of innovation in its stores and in-store bakeries. The chain features open production and custom merchandising displays in most of its in-store bakeries. Marsh's in-store management also conducts cuttings of its full line of products from prospective vendors and current suppliers at least once a year. The cuttings allow Marsh to continue evolving its bakery product lines for its stores' differing demographics and changing customer tastes.
Marsh's Lifestyle format is its latest move in thinking outside the box. In the Noblesville, Ind., store, the pastry room features service displays of decorated cakes and gourmet tortes as well as an area where cake decorators design cakes in front of customers. The room showcases about five self-service island displays of in-store bakery products, including pies, cookies, bundt cakes, muffins and seasonal items, such as 12-in. chocolate chip cookies decorated for Independence Day.
Marsh's extensive muffin line includes an array of "gourmet" muffins merchandised in baking pans displayed on self-service wagon carts. More unusual flavors include strawberry cheesecake, banana split, raspberry sherbet and Boston crðme. In-store bakers add signature touches to the muffins, such as piping swirls of chocolate icing to the tops of the peanut butter muffins, to add more visual appeal.
The bakery room features in-store-produced crusty breads along with the commercial aisles of packaged sandwich breads and condiments, such as peanut butter, jelly and honey. Single-serve bakery products, including donuts, bagels, honey buns, apple fritters and Danish are displayed in attractive cherrywood self-service cabinets. The cabinets feature convenient shelving for bakery boxes and bags.
Different colored walls and tiles distinctly separate the pastry and bakery rooms. But, the two are connected through a doorway and wide bakery production area that lines the back of both rooms. Store signage supports instore bakery efforts as well. The sign above the pastry room says, "We put the icing on the cake. Our certified cake decorators can make any occasion special."
Marsh Supermarkets' status as an independent regional chain allows it to innovate more quickly than large national chains and maintain a tighter grasp of regional tastes and demands.