Well, now that the "Ukrops" era is truly wrapping up here in Richmond, I found myself on my way home Monday night given the task of buying the wifey Diet Snapple.
And the Ukrops that was conveniently located between point A and point B was closed last week, being transformed into a "Martin's". A store that had "never" been in the Richmond area before.
A few thoughts.....
1) I've seen this store before. It's called Giant. Really, there's no difference between the two that I could find, aesthetically, other than the name.
2) The carts are outside. That made room for......
3) For those of you who were righteously indignant (how ironic) that the Ukrop family would not sell beer or open on Sunday, Martin's made sure you knew the SECOND you walked in that you are now in Coors Country.
4) There are THREE MILLION price tags on the aisles. Very bold print on the prices, trying to figure out what the actual price is is an adventure. Gotta get used to them. Ukrops' tags were at least cleaner, easier to read, and color-coded (look for the yellow, avoid the red, they are tricks!)
5) NO Ukrops "feel" whatsoever, NOT that I expected any! That comment is just for those of you who were hoping the White House Rolls and Lemon Chess Pie might keep a bit of the magic alive. The term "Ukrops" now looks like, oh, "Breyers" or "Arm & Hammer"......
The checkout was an adventure, as I realized before even arriving that I did not have whatever type of "customer card" Martin's provided. BUT, I had read on Facebook from a friend that shopped at the Short Pump store earlier in the day that they were providing them at checkout.
Not at Virginia Center.
The young man who checked me out was very nice and our conversation was very pleasant, as I asked how he/they were surviving the "first day". New computers, HUGE font on the checkout screens (they SCREAM at you), but no cards. He waited awhile for a manager to come use one of theirs. They were running around doing a million other things.
I asked how to get a permanent one during our wait. He replied that there were two tables set up at each entrance, but they had RUN OUT of cards. Oops.
In the end, he used the card of the lady behind me, waiting patiently, in line, who either figured out how to get a Martin's Card before today or drove all the way from Waynesboro. (insert rimshot here)
He did explain how to go online to get your card (print out a temp while the real one is mailed to you), which was cool.
And, the last impression, during my conversation with the Ukr...err...Martin's bagger who accompanied me to the Hyundai? Right after I asked how having the carts outside was affecting things, asking, "Have you seen any in the parking lot?"....I turn to my right, and there was one staring me in the face. Welcome to Food Lion. :)
I'm certainly willing to give them a chance (my Spaghettios and Meatballs were 40 cents cheaper!!), but my first grade is C+.
PROS: Familiar faces, bright stores, no huge layout differences.
CONS: Customer cards should have been mailed out two weeks ago to all Ukrops Cardholders, there are TOO MANY price tags staring at me, and the Richmond feel is gone. I felt like I was in Stafford or something.
My two cents. :)