FIRST LOOK: Kroger’s new Fresh Fare Cityplace store opens today

Let’s go Krogering.

It’s easy to do in the gayboorhood. The Cedar Springs store of the grocery chain has become as much a fixture in the gay community as the bars down the street. Earlier this summer, Kroger opened a new Fresh Fare store on Maple in the old Elliott’s Hardware spot.

And just in time for the holidays, another one opens on the other side of North Central.

The new Cityplace shop officially opened this morning in the space once occupied by the Loew’s cinema, but has been barren for a long time. Not anymore.

“There’s a nice apartment complex next door, and a Lifetime Fitness [around the corner],” notes Gary Huddleston, the director of consumer affairs for Kroger. The “Uptown East” area is coming along.

Certainly the Kroger story might actually help usher that. Maybe I’m strange, but I always love visiting new grocery stores — they are oddly beautiful, and this one is no exception. The 60,000 square foot store (which employs about 260 folks) is another of their Fresh Fare concepts, focusing on organic, natural and (as often as possible) locally-sourced perishables — produce, deli and meats, baked goods, sushi. The Cityplace Kroger is indicative of another step in the continuing evolution of the grocery world.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones