New Albertson’s store opens this week

"Albertson’s will have almost a two-week headstart on winning over South Kitsap-area grocery shoppers when the Boise, Idaho-based chain opens a 57,000-square-foot store on Sedgwick Road today.Albertson’s and Fred Meyer have been building huge new retail outlets about a half-mile apart on opposite sides of State Route 16 since last summer. But the 165,000 square-feet Fred Meyer facility, which includes a grocery and a full-scale department store, isn’t scheduled to open for business until Feb. 2.Albertson’s, located a block west of SR-16 at Sedgwick and Sidney Road, planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony for 9 a.m. today, featuring Port Orchard dignitaries and Albertson’s management officials.The new grocery store is one of 2,500 operated by the Albertson’s chain in 37 states. The stores include 1,500 new locations added last year in Albertson’s merger with American Stores Inc.The new Port Orchard location is what Albertson’s calls a “plaza” design.“I hate to compare it to a mall,” said corporate spokesperson Anne Alenskis, “but the new design is intended to make the different departments in the store seem as independent as possible.”Among the departments the store features are a deli and a one-hour photo developing center. At 57,000 square feet, the Port Orchard location is about average in the Albertson’s chain, which operates stores as small as 50,000 and as large as 63,000 square feet.“The idea is to create a one-stop shopping experience,” Alenskis said. “The more different consumer needs we can fill under one roof, the more people will shop there.”In that vein, the new Port Orchard store will also include a gas station, a new concept for Albertson’s. “We started selling gas about a year and a half ago, and we do it at 66 stores now,” Alenskis said.The fuel center won’t simply be space leased to an independent gas station. Instead, it will carry the Albertson’s banner and be part of the larger grocery store.Called Albertson’s Express, the fuel center will include six to eight pumps and a central kiosk selling convenience items and autmotive supplies.“It’s just one more service we can offer our customers,” Alenskis said. “We find that a lot of people buy gas and groceries at the same time. This way they can do it all at the same location.”The new store is the second one for Port Orchard. The other is in Mile Hill Plaza."

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