Grocery stores are about to shrink, according to the New York Times.
The opening of smaller stores upends a long-running trend in the grocery business: building ever-larger stores in the belief that consumers want choice above all. While the largest traditional grocery stores tend to be about 85,000 square feet, some cavernous warehouse-style stores and supercenters are two or three times that size.
Statistics compiled by the Food Marketing Institute show that the average size of a grocery store dipped slightly in 2007 — to a median of 47,500 square feet — after 20 years of steady growth.
Next week, one of these smaller groceries opens in Plymouth, Mass., says the Boston Globe:
According to the Market’s managing director, Michael Szathmary, the Market is part of a larger trend that has taken hold across the country; the trend is a response to consumers who feel put off by “the impersonal nature of mega stores.”
Perhaps — if you’re old enough — you recognize what’s going on here: the ’50s, and a return to the “experience” of customer service.
What’s next? Will someone pump the gasoline for you at the gas station (after checking the oil, of course)? Movie theater popcorn that’s actually made in the theater (and not dumped out of a bag)?