Progressive Grocer

JAN 2017

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48 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | January 2017 Store of the Month Coborn's Marketplace, Isanti, Minn. sausage and brisket. Also featured are signature smoked sausage vari- eties sold under the Four Brothers label, which Host explains is a nod to history, honoring the Coborn brothers who founded and grew the company. Other selections include marinated beef, pork and poultry; kabobs; beef patties; and brats. "e variety and presentation of choices allow guests to try new things and expand their horizons," Host observes Coborn's natural meat selections include grass- fed beef and pork, Just Bare poultry, and grass-fed bison, lamb and veal. Of particular interest for time-pressed consumers is Ready-Chef-Go, the store's line of heat-and-eat meals, priced at $4 to $7. Ready in four to six minutes right in their microwaveable bags, the meals feature a protein with complementary vegetables. Varieties include salmon with asparagus and pecan-crusted chicken with broccoli — again, all packaged in house. "Where else can you get such a healthy meal that's ready in five minutes for four bucks?" Host remarks. Seafood is flown in daily to Fisherman's Wharf, which also of- fers value-added items such as bourbon-glazed salmon on a wood plank, crab-stuffed cod and lobster-stuffed Norwegian salmon. Rounding out the fresh area is the Bake Shoppe, featuring fresh-baked artisan breads and rolls, custom cake options (decorated by hand or with edible imaging), muffins, cookies, bars and pies. Consumers can order their bread sliced to order, guided by an on-counter thickness gauge. "We added some whimsy to our signage to make things fun," Host says, noting the huge pastel blue-green industrial mixer that's the focal point of the bakery area, along with the spinning cupcakes overhead and signage with quips such as "Be the office hero — bring donuts." Coborn's operates a central bakery at its St. Cloud headquarters to supply all stores with con- ventional goods like cookies, bagels and some cakes. Last summer, the company opened a dedicated gluten-free bakery. "Fresh-baked gluten-free offer- ings have been really popular," Host notes. e design package for the dairy aisle aims to create a destination here as well. e Isanti County Milk and Dairy department comes complete with a talking cow and a red barn that pays homage to the county's rich dairy-farming history. About Coborn's Coborn's Inc. began in 1921, when Chester Coborn opened a single produce market in Sauk Rapids, Minn. Today, the St. Cloud, Minn.-based, employee-owned company operates 55 grocery stores and 70 convenience, liquor and other retail loca- tions throughout the Midwest. Coborn's employs about 8,000 employees, including five generations of Coborn family leadership, and is currently led by fourth-generation President and CEO Chris Coborn. The company's grocery store formats, located across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, include Coborn's, Cash Wise, Marketplace Foods and Save-A-Lot. Besides its brick-and-mortar grocery stores, Coborn's operates CobornsDelivers and Cash Wise Delivers, online grocery-ordering and home delivery services. Coborn's also owns and operates 35 liquor stores under the Coborn's Liquor, Cash Wise Liquor and Captain Jack's banners. The company further encompasses a fuel and convenience division, a pharmacy division, an in-house grocery warehouse and distribution center, an in-house central bakery, and Tops Cleaners. Coborn's additionally operates Ace Hardware, Caribou Coffee, Country Floral, Dunn Bros. Coffee and Subway locations. We actually had people crying because they were so happy we brought a store of this caliber to their town." —Mary Kruck, Store Director Continued from page 45 lo W A n D S lo W A pitmaster mans the smokehouse, turning out ribs, chicken, brisket and sausage.

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