You may have noticed the recent work being done at the building that once housed Houchens Grocery, located in off of 9th Street in Russellville. The building sat empty for the past several years after Houchens closed. The property will soon boast a Ruler Foods, which is owned by Kroger.
Ruler Foods is a warehouse store grocery chain in the United States. It is a no-frills grocery store where 80 percent of the offerings are Kroger Brand. The customers bag their own groceries at the checkout, and rent shopping carts for 25 cents, which is then returned when the cart is replaced. This cuts down on the number of employees needed at each store.
Kroger operates Ruler Foods stores in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. It is part of JayC Food Stores, which was purchased by Kroger in 1999.
According to Bill Pearson, zoning administrator of the City of Russellville, he received all the necessary paperwork recently from the state and also plans for the project.
“The corporation will be utilizing approximately half the existing building,” said Pearson. “From what I understand, Ruler Foods comes into smaller communities.”
Ruler Foods resembles hard discounters like Aldi, according to Supermarket News. The company incorporates similar strategies to reduce costs and increase efficiency such as the coin-released shopping carts, a limited assortment of private label products displayed in their shipping cases, and no service departments like butchers, delis, bakeries, gasoline or pharmacy. Shoppers must provide their own bags or buy them at checkout.
The concept was started by JayC Foods as a discount banner. By the end of 1998, the company operated three Ruler Foods store locations. After the purchase of JayC Foods by Kroger in 1999, the JayC division grew its Ruler Foods brand to 13 stores at the end of 2012, including the first store outside of Indiana. Some of the added Ruler Foods were conversions from JayC stores, which has 38 stores at the end of 2012. The company hasn’t been specific with the number of Ruler Foods locations it would like to open. The stores are about 20,000 square feet, about one-fifth the size of Kroger Marketplace stores. Ruler Foods locations are strictly grocery stores, with no pharmacy and no fuel center.
Kroger will open another 10 locations of its Ruler Foods concept in 2016, with Russellville being one of them.
“We are excited to welcome Ruler Foods to our community,” said Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton. “It is always a good thing to see growth in our city. We are blessed to have outstanding grocery stores who offer a variety of quality products to our citizens. One more just gives the consumer additional choices.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.