The lone location of Ruby’s Market at 2843 E. Sunshine St. will be no more in the Queen City as of Christmas Eve, as the store merges with a sister Price Cutter.
The Price Cutter three miles south at 3260 E. Battlefield Road has already started to incorporate Ruby’s natural and organic products from Ruby’s in its store, with a renovation plan in motion that will conclude sometime in March, said Erick Taylor, president and CEO of Rogersville-based Pyramid Foods, parent company of Ruby’s and Price Cutter.
It’s part of a company plan to incorporate Ruby’s into multiple Price Cutters over the next couple of years, he said, with two more locations slated for 2019.
“We hope to have at least two of the first three open by next year,” he said, adding the Price Cutter locations at 2021 W. Republic Road and 4228 S. National Ave. will be next on the list.
The store names will eventually change to either Ruby Price Cutter or Ruby by Price Cutter, Taylor said, adding a final company decision is yet to be made.
“I’m always sad to see something close,” Taylor said of the decision to shutter the 54,000-square-foot Ruby’s Market, which opened March 15, 2017. Pyramid Foods is looking to sell or lease the building. He said all 60 of the store’s employees would remain with the company, by transferring to either the Battlefield location or other Price Cutter markets.
Pyramid Foods officials were processing customer data over the past four to five months that led to the closure and merger. While Taylor said word of month from shoppers seemed to be positive, he noted the location, which was in one of four former Dillon’s stores Pyramid Foods purchased in 2014, ultimately worked against the company.
“That was really the biggest miss was the location,” he said, declining to disclose the customer count or revenue for Ruby’s or other store locations. He said overhead costs at Ruby’s was “a significant amount,” but declined to elaborate.
He said a year-plus of analyzing data determined many shoppers who lived far from the store were not willing to drive across town to only purchase a handful of items.
“We realized it went from a primary shopper who gets all from one stop to more of a secondary stop as people would go and get 80 percent of their groceries at our conventional grocery store,” Taylor said. The remaining 20 percent of groceries would come from Ruby’s, he said, which included natural and organic foods, a kombucha bar and other items that aren’t found at a conventional store.
“It was just out of sight, out of mind,” he added.
A week prior to its closing the natural foods market still had shelves lined with product and showed no signs of a store in its last days of operation. Upon its closure, Taylor said the equipment and cases would be transported to the Price Cutter on Battlefield with the bakery section first to be installed Dec. 26. Other parts of Ruby’s, including its bar area serving beer, wine and kombucha, along with Ruby Jean’s Juicery, will be added to the 78,000-square-foot Price Cutter as part of the renovation project. Most of the products will be in place within the next 30 days.
“We’ve already added about 2,500 items to the store,” Taylor said, estimating renovation costs for the Battlefield Road facility to be between $200,000 and $300,000. If all new equipment had to be purchased, he said the renovation would likely exceed $1 million.
“We put a lot of time, effort and energy into it – and money,” he said of the Ruby’s Market location. “But obviously we still have much of the money we put into it with the equipment, cases, fixtures and all of that. We wanted it to be a successful store.”
Other natural foods markets still in operation in Springfield include Lucky’s Market and MaMa Jean’s Natural Market.
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