Carmel Kroger to close Feb. 15 for major remodel

A rendering of the new Kroger. (Submitted image)
A rendering of the new Kroger. (Submitted image)

To call the upcoming remodel of the Kroger on Range Line Road a “facelift” would be an understatement. The supermarket will have a whole new face.

The grocery will close on at the end of Sunday Feb. 15 — at midnight — as crews begin a 16-week construction to transform the store into an upscale market complete with outdoor dining, a butcher with grilling stations and a community kitchen.

During the remodel, customers can use a smaller version of Kroger in the space formerly occupied by Walgreen’s just north of Kroger — not to be confused with the currently open Walgreen’s further south.

The remodel will cost more than $10 million and will expand the space from 18,235 square feet to 80,677 square feet. It will now be two stories instead of one.

It’s estimated that it will create more than 100 new jobs and potential employees are encouraged to the second story of the nearby Turkey Hill convenience store closer to the opening.

This new store is expected to be a flagship location and a model for how Kroger could expand throughout the state of Indiana.

“This will be a showcase for the state,” Kroger spokesman John Elliott said. “There are some stores that have some higher end departments, but to have it pervasive in every department will be first for Indiana.”

One of the biggest draws will be a new food bistro with sushi and made-to-order chef stations and a “community kitchen” on the mezzanine which will be used for community education events. The expanded pharmacy will feature a “little clinic.” There will be space for a Starbucks and a Murray’s Cheese Shop. Other existing departments will be expanded and enhanced, such as the floral shop, produce, organic foods and wine and liquor.

“This won’t be like any of our competitors,” Elliott said. “It won’t be like Whole Foods or Marsh. This store will be the best of the best.”

While Kroger is emphasizing “upscale” and “higher end” options, this will still be a full-service grocery store also featuring value items for families on a tight budget. Elliott said there will be several tiers for price points.

Elliott said decision makers are trying to make sure the smaller Kroger in the old Walgreens space will feature enough variety from each department, but obviously it will be scaled back in many ways. He said it’s important to note that any pharmacy prescriptions will be moved over to a temporary, full-service pharmacy and will be set up in an outdoor trailer next to the former Walgreens building. Pharmacy operating hours will not change.

During the remodel, the adjacent Turkey Hill convenience store, which is managed by a Kroger operating division, will remain open.

No Carmel employees will be laid off and will continue working at nearby locations during the remodel. Kroger Central Division President Jeff Burt said the company will actually be investing time and money to further train their current employees.

“As the store reopens and associates return from nearby stores, they will be one of our best-trained teams in Indiana and will be joined by new associates as we create job opportunities in Carmel,” he said.

The Kroger Central Division has 136 food stores, 114 pharmacies and 85 fuel centers operating under four banners; Kroger, Scott’s, Owen’s and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to three stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio.