By Brad Lucht
It has been nearly a year since Ball’s Food Stores purchased the Red Bridge Sun Fresh from the family of former owner George Lipari. The Telegraph sat down with store director Kathy Scott to learn what the future holds for this neighborhood grocery store.
“We’re definitely going to be adding a pharmacy and an expanded liquor department,” Scott said. “We’re going to revamp this entire store. Everything, all the way down to the floor, will be redone.”
To picture what the store will look like, she gives as an example the Hen House off of 119th & Roe, also owned by the Ball family.
“It is gorgeous,” Scott exclaimed. “Inside our store will be beautiful like that. It’s going to be amazing once they get it done. And it’s going to be worth that wait.”
What customers won’t see is a store that large.
“We have a lot of older shoppers. They don’t want this big huge store that you have to walk a mile,” Scott said.
Scott shares that customer service will definitely be relocated.
“I know they’ll move that. You want it right out there front and center where the registers are,” she said.
If that happens, the new pharmacy could be located where the current customer service is. The pharmacy drive-through would be located on the north side of the store.
“Nothing is definite at this time,” Scott cautioned.
In the meantime the Ball’s will continue to keep putting money in the store.
“We’re going to keep the standards up until the refresh,” Scott assured. “We’re not going to let it go down while we’re waiting.
Improvements already made include replacing hundreds of floor tiles. Display cases have been torn down and rebuilt. New fixtures have been added in the liquor department.
“We want things to be the best they can under the conditions we’re in until we get that remodel,” she added, “making it a more shoppable, pleasurable experience.”
Remodel Pushed Back
After the store was purchased, the Ball’s discovered it wasn’t in as good of shape as initially assumed. The motor room, which provides the power to the cooling units, is running at max capacity. Alarms are frequently tripped.
“It won’t let us put one more refrigeration unit on it,” Scott explained. “That’s a real concern. So when we remodel, we’re going to literally have to redo the whole motor room.”
“I don’t want to be a cookie cutter store; I want to be a neighborhood store.” – Kathy Scott, Sun Fresh store director
Issues like this have pushed back the remodel.
“it’s a lot more work than we thought it was going to be,” Scott said, “but we’re going to do whatever we have to.”
“I am certain the remodel is going to happen,” Scott concluded. “They will do it as soon as they can.”
In the meantime, Scott hopes to have more community involvement. Already, the store has begun donating to local food pantries. It had its first successful barbecue with Zarda on June 22. “They sold three times more than normal at these events,” she says. Scott is also planning on doing food sampling for customers in the near future.
“I don’t want to be a cookie cutter store. I want to be a neighborhood store,” she said.