Publix Super Markets will open a redesigned Greenwise Market store concept in Tallahassee, FL next year, according to The Shelby Report. There are currently three Greenwise Markets operating in Florida, and the company said it will continue to "aggressively look" for new Greenwise locations throughout its retail footprint.
Greenwise Markets is branded as offering the same "Publix experience" as its parent supermarket, but with a focus on specialty natural and organic products. The Greenwise brand also includes a line of USDA Organic, free-from products sold in Publix stores.
“Over the past several years, we have gained valuable insights from our existing GreenWise locations. By combining these learnings with customer feedback and market trends, we are better positioned to deliver on our vision of being the best at serving the evolving lifestyles of today’s consumer," Kevin Murphy, Publix's SVP of retail operations, told The Shelby Report.
Publix has a strong franchise built around its own name. Stretching into a specialty concept under a different name – Greenwise – would probably pose a greater risk if the Greenwise name wasn't already in place on three Publix-owned-and-operated stores and on a variety of items in Publix stores. But why do it?
Economically and practically, it would seem to make more sense to simply redesign produce departments so one area was labeled Greenwise and specialized in what Greenwise stores do – specialty, natural, and organic produce. The company's Greenwise poultry and pork, which are fed a 100% vegetarian diet, could be cross-merchandised there, or simply be pointed out with Greenwise-area signage.
There seems to be a strong inclination among food retailers, to introduce change in order to differentiate. Food Lion, for example, took on a company-wide "updating" of stores a few years ago, and are now updating a select group of locations again. It's unclear whether changes like these improve the shopper experience — a big risk given the hefty cost of cross-chain renovation.
This raises questions as to whether smaller, more specialized stores like Whole Foods' 365 chain will prove fruitful in an already over-crowded market. Will customers appreciate a new format, or stick with the store format they already know and love?