‘I just can’t believe it’: Longtime Kroger customer saddened by grocery store closings
The sudden departure of Kroger from the Triangle will bring a lot of change for customers.
The Cincinnati-based grocer was one of the more popular grocers in the region before deciding to retreat entirely, and customers have reacted to the news with sadness and more than a few questions.
Here’s what customers should know before Aug. 14, the last day Kroger stores are expected to be open here.
More Harris Teeters
One of the 14 stores that Kroger is closing in the Triangle will become a Food Lion and eight will be renovated and branded as Harris Teeter stores. It's a move that makes sense to analysts, as the Triangle market evolves and more competition is expected to come in from Wegmans and Publix.
It's also an easy switch, for Kroger, which bought Matthews-based Harris Teeter in 2013 for $2.4 billion.
These are the Kroger stores that will soon become Harris Teeters:
▪ 202 W. NC 54 in Durham
▪ 3457 Hillsborough Road in Durham
▪ 5116 N. Roxboro Road in Durham
▪ 1273 N.W. Maynard Road in Cary
▪ 8345 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh
▪ 940 U.S. 64 in Apex
▪ 1802 North Point Dr. in Durham
▪ 1371 E. Broad St. in Fuquay-Varina
Harris Teeter will begin remodeling them as soon as Kroger closes in August.
Since some of those stores are near existing Harris Teeter stores don't be surprised if some older Harris Teeter stores close. “I foresee Harris Teeter closing a number of the stores that cannibalize one another,” Ryan McDevitt, an associate professor of economics at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, told The News & Observer last week.
When asked last week whether any existing stores could close, Danna Robinson, a communications manager for Harris Teeter, said, "We intend to finalize our plans while the former Kroger stores are closed."
Re-stocking shelves and discounts
With the news that Kroger would be closing soon, many customers rushed to the area's stores over the weekend only to find empty shelves.
An apparent run on products at the stores, left some wondering whether the grocery store would be re-stocking its shelves at all before they close for good.
But Allison McGee, a spokeswoman for Kroger Mid-Atlantic, said that most items will be re-stocked until the stores close, while others will see their prices lowered.
"Currently meat, dairy and produce items, in which freshness is important to our customers, will be re-stocked daily along with our most popular items," she said. "Less popular items have been discounted as we anticipate the supply will be adequate until the closing of the stores."
Kroger Fuel Points
Already, some Kroger fuel stations in the area are being closed and roped off. But what about the gas stations at the Kroger stores that will become Harris Teeters?
Harris Teeter says it intends to continue to operate those fuel stations as Harris Teeter gas stations going forward. The grocery store already operates approximately 25 fuel stations throughout its footprint.
Shoppers who have earned fuel points at Kroger can redeem them at Harris Teeter fuel centers, Robinson said. Fuel points earn customers discounts on gas prices. Though, it's unclear if any of the Kroger fuel centers will be re-opened as Harris Teeter before the Kroger fuel points expire. Fuel points earned in one month expire at the end of the next month and cannot be combined across months.
The closest Harris Teeter fuel stations are at 13686 Capital Blvd. in Wake Forest, 5201 Sunset Lake Road in Holly Springs and 8112 Fayetteville Road in Fuquay-Varina.
Kroger fuel points may be accumulated up until June 30.
Harris Teeter also offers the fuel points promotion.
Harris Teeter plans to continue to operate several of the pharmacies going forward, and said that five of the Kroger-Harris Teeter pharmacies will remain open to customers during the remodeling of those stores.
Those pharmacies are at these locations:
▪5116 N. Roxboro Road in Durham
▪1273 N.W. Maynard Road in Cary
▪940 U.S. 64 in Apex
▪1802 North Point Dr. in Durham
▪1371 E. Broad St. in Fuquay-Varina
The pharmacy at the Kroger at 202 W. NC 54 in Durham will have its prescriptions transferred to the Harris Teeter at 1125 W. NC 54 during the remodel. The Kroger pharmacy at 3457 Hillsborough Road in Durham will have its prescriptions transferred to the Harris Teeter at 2107 Hillsborough Road in Durham. And the Kroger pharmacy at 8345 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh will have its prescriptions transferred to the Harris Teeter at 2051 W. Millbrook Road in Raleigh.