By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – By this time next week, the old Kilgore’s Supermarket will be just a memory.
The store, which first opened in the early 1970s, will reopen with a new name and a new way of doing business.
Kilgore’s was bought by Food Giant last year for an undisclosed sum, and in January, its new owners began a renovation of the South Gloster Street store.
After closing Saturday night, it will reopen on Aug. 6 as a CashSaver store.
“Our major supplier, Associated Wholesale Grocery, has several CashSaver stores, and we have some stores modeled after them in the same way,” said Food Giant district manager David Holcomb. “But this will be our first CashSaver in Mississippi.”
Essentially, Kilgore’s has been renovated from top to bottom, it has been expanded in the back of the store, and new equipment, fixtures and lighting have been added throughout the building
“It’s been gutted,” said store manager Enoch Smith.
A new floor has yet to be placed, and other minor work needs to be done in the interior, including new signs. Much of the work over the next week will be done at night.
The store has stayed open throughout the renovation, a herculean task, Holcomb said.
As for the new business model, CashSaver’s is simple: The prices on everything in the store are shown at cost – the store’s expense it takes to buy it and ship it – plus 10 percent that’s added at the register.
For example, an item with a $2 price on the shelf will cost $2.20 when its rung up by a cashier.
Smithey said the business model applies to everything in the store.
“What it does is bring down costs across all categories. Some categories have had larger markups applied at other stores, but that won’t be the case here,” he said.
Overall costs, based on the business model, should be lower for customers. It’s about generating volume, and Holcomb said, “It levels the playing field.”
The weekly sales won’t disappear entirely, Holcomb added.
“We’ll still have featured items, but the everyday low prices will be there week in, week out,” he said.
The savings are generated by volume, and with Food Giant’s size and buying power, working with its suppliers, it’s able to pass those savings on to consumers.
The lower its costs, the more customers can save.
With lower costs overall, that means the new CashSaver should bring in more shoppers like Jettie Shell, who said she’s been shopping at the store for “a very long time.”
She likes the new look of the store, although she admits she’s had to get used to where some items have moved.
She’s heard about the switch to the new format and is glad her favorite store has gone through the makeover.
“It’s clean and beautiful,” she said, “and I’m going to keep coming here. I’m excited about the news.”