The top shelf of the cake display uses varigated product heights to highlight upscale cakes and desserts.
Many of Dominick's lifestyle products feature gourmet accents, such as twisted lattice crust on the 5-in. pies.
DOMINICK'S FINER FOODS' new concept store in Northfield, Ill., is a pleasing break from the traditional supermarket glare. The bakery, floral, produce and deli departments occupy one side of the store and feature hardwood floors and soft, muted lighting. The effect is a bit like being in a European market at twilight.
Dominick's parent company, Safeway, based in Pleasanton, Calif., first introduced the concept in its northern California stores and expanded it to southern California and Chicago. Last year, the company opened 33 new stores and remodeled 94 units to fit the format.
Bringing the new concept to Chicago is a move that many industry observers speculate is Safeway's bid to revitalize the Dominick's brand. Dominick's, a Chicago institution since 1918, had a grip on the region's grocery landscape with 25 percent market share in 2000, second only to its rival, Jewel-Osco, a subsidiary of Albertson's.
In 1998, the chain was purchased by Safeway, the instore bakeries converted from bake-off to scratch-mix operations, and bakery SKUs dropped from 480 to a little more than 200. Dominick's in-store bakeries were brought in line with Safeway's national product selection, allowing few regional favorites. Dominick's market share declined by about one-fifth its previous share, according to industry analysts.
The new upscale stores, which Safeway calls "lifestyle" stores, show positive investment in the Dominick's brand by Safeway, who had the chain on the block in 2003 but could not find a buyer. Safeway plans to convert its 101 Dominick's units to the lifestyle format with redwood and cedar displays, Dominick's President Bruce Everette told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Lifestyle in-store bakeries focus on self-service packaged bakery products displayed on wooden, tiered carts positioned throughout the bakery area. The shelves on the carts are filled with natural colored raffia with products nesting on top. Carts and tables are scattered, so customers can meander with no clear path through the department. Product is shown on all sides of the carts and tables, encouraging customers to roam around and discover different products. The displays also are labeled to indicate the type of products customers will find on them, such as an "entertaining" table with pies.
Along side the tables and carts are pedestal wire baskets filled with small, 12-ct. clear bags of cookies closed with gold twist-ties. Cookie varieties include chocolate chunk, coconut pecan and cranberry walnut. Six-count bags of macaroons also were displayed in the wire baskets.
The donut and pastry showcases also are self-service, with individual bags available for customers to fill with their own selections. The muffin and scone cart features small, pink bakery boxes large enough for any combination of two products. Packaging touches, such as gold twist ties and pink bakery boxes, add to Dominick's bakery's upscale image.
The cake case is the only service display in the bakery and features a variety of upscale cakes and desserts on the top tier, including individualsize tiramisu and mousses. The bottom two shelves of the display showcase a variety of decorated cakes.
The product line in the in-store bakery is a mix of upscale and traditional favorites. Traditional cookies in clamshell packages co-exist with their more gourmet cousins in wire baskets. Even cupcakes have added value with 4-ct. packages of peanut butter cupcakes with small peanut butter cup candies on top. Individual sizes also play a prominent role in this new lifestyle format, such as 5-in. caramel apple pies with pecans.
Dominick's new lifestyle format is keyed into many aspects of modern life by meeting customers' demand for smaller bakery portions and convenient shopping. Breads are displayed with olive oils and other dipping sauces. Displays also feature other party items bakery shoppers would need, such as disposable cameras, cookbooks, plates and napkins.