Business

A new bar is coming to Middle Georgia, but you might be surprised where it will be

It might not be too unusual to go out to eat and have a glass of wine or a beer, but this fall folks will be able to mosey up to a bar inside a Middle Georgia grocery store.

The renovation work underway at the Kroger at 776 Ga. 96 in Bonaire includes adding a wine and beer bar in the area near the beer and wine section of the store, said Felix Turner, corporate affairs manager for the Kroger Atlanta region, which includes Middle Georgia.

“As we actively sought, and still seek, opportunities to provide our shoppers with convenient locations and amenities, an expanded beer and wine section along with a beer/wine bar is another way to provide great service to enhance our shoppers’ experience,” he said in an emailed statement.

The work began July 30 and is expected to be complete by mid-November. This would be the 12th Kroger in Georgia to have a wine and beer bar, but none is planned — “at this time” — in a Macon Kroger.

The bar in the south Houston County store is likely to carry a select number of local wines and local craft beers, he said. Some locations offer bar snacks.

But customers won’t be sitting at the Kroger bar drinking all day.

There is a three-drink per day maximum, Turner said by phone Monday.

“And it has to be consumed in the area of the bar. ... It’s not like the customer is walking around the store. ... It’s a place where maybe a husband and wife come in and they kind of tag team. The wife maybe has a glass of wine or craft beer and her husband does some of the shopping, and they they trade off.”

The hours of the bar vary by location, and they have not been set for the Bonaire store, but generally the hours are noon-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, he said.

Kathy Kuzava, president of the Georgia Food Industry Association, said she wasn’t aware of any other grocery chains putting a wine and beer bar inside their stores.

“I understand it’s very popular,” Kuzava said. “It’s like cooking demonstrations and product demos, smelling the fresh bread baking, those are things that a lot of people truly enjoy. So, we are trying to offer something for everybody.”

Kroger introduces shipping option

While Kroger has been offering online ordering for pickup at the store, called ClickList, for about two years, it announced last Friday it had implemented Kroger Ship, a direct-to-customer e-commerce service. Customers can shop from a selection of 4,500 Our Brands products, “which are not available anywhere else online and more than 50,000 center-aisle groceries and household essentials,” according to a news release.

Customer cannot use Kroger Ship for perishables, such as produce or frozen foods, at this time, Turner said.

Shipping is free for orders over $35, otherwise shipping is a flat $4.99 per order. But all customers get free shipping with no minimum purchase required off their first order and 15 percent off with a one-time-use promo code. For more information and to place an order, go to ship.kroger.com.

The average delivery time is usually two days, he said.

Kuzava said grocers are in the customer-service business, so as customers demand different products and different services, stores try to offer it.

“When it comes to groceries, online grocery ordering is still a fraction of the total of the grocery sales market, but it’s increasing every day,” she said. “They are offering grocery pickup and delivery, they are expanding delivery services, … so everybody is trying to take care of their customers who are all pressed for time.”

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