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With New ShopRite, What Is Impact to Toms River Supermarkets?

Sites such as Foodtown and ShopRite are across the street from each other. Grocery consultant weighs in.

With the opening of the at the Crossroads Center on Route 37 and 166, another player on the supermarket scene fills the long-vacant spot once held by a Perlmart ShopRite.

Across the street, a Food Circus Super Foodtown sits in one of the older supermarket locations in Toms River. And the Middletown-based company its Bayville location will close.

How will the new ShopRite affect what looks to be a burdened industry?

Toms River Super Foodtown Doing Well, VP Says 

Louis Scaduto, Jr., the vice president of Food Circus, said the Toms River location remains an important part of their Foodtown family.

He said there are no plans to close the store and that the location continues to have success.

"It's still a very viable location. A Super Foodtown is definitely warranted there," Scaduto said.

Opened in the early 1980s, the Super Foodtown has had minor touch-ups throughout its history instead of full-scale renovation, Scaduto said, but the location draws "tremendous positive feedback" from customers contacting the Food Circus headquarters.

Scaduto said that the location is less than stellar when factoring in the traffic of Route 37 and 166. He said elsewhere in town traffic jams are also a problem.

"I don't think anything shines from traffic in Toms River," Scaduto said. 

Richard Saker, president of Saker ShopRites Inc., said the new location brings the Saker family into Toms River's market for the first time, and he said being a part of the community means being a good neighbor.

"The Saker Family is thrilled to be a member of the Toms River community and looks forward to the opportunity to serve each and every customer as a good neighbor. We live and work in the communities we serve," he said.

Consultant Says Foodtown Will Suffer

Matt Casey of Matthew P. Casey & Associates studies the local market, offering advice to retailers in the pharmacy and supermarket industries. He painted a dim picture of the chance of survival for nearby Foodtown.

"They (ShopRite) probably operate the nicest supermarkets in Central Jersey," said Casey. "It will be a big store and have a lot of amenities. The store will have a lot of variety, selection and great ShopRite prices."

Casey, who has an office located in Clark, also spoke about the new store compared to other supermarkets in the surrounding area, calling it a strong presence in a "weak" corridor.

"The customer is really going to love it, especially considering the alternatives that are down there today. Other than the Stop and Shop to the east…the competition is relatively weak. This store is going to offer so much more than any other store in that immediate area," Casey said.

More Competition

The impact is not just of new versus old, Casey said. Instead a new supermarket player will drive competition. 

"This new ShopRite offers shoppers a very high quality supermarket alternative. Competition makes everyone better. The other ShopRites in the greater Toms River area will recognize the presence of this new competing ShopRite, and sharpen their already outstanding operations even more," Casey said.

The , a Perlmart property, recently its store, adding additional hot foods and bakery items and adding an employee parking lot, for example.

Scaduto said Food Circus continues to look at ways to keep the Toms River supermarket a strong property.

"Well I have multiple plans for Toms River to drive as many sales as I can there," he said of the Route 37 Foodtown.

Casey however said the Route 37 ShopRite will negatively impact the Food Circus Foodtown across the street.

"The Foodtown facility across Route 37, unfortunately, is an old, very tired facility that has been neglected for many years now, and will suffer a tremendous impact from this new ShopRite," Casey said. 

Saker also spoke about the new store being at the old location. "Crossroads Center, at Route 37 and 166, is a great location and an area where we felt the community was underserved."

Route 37 also has a Stop & Shop to the east and a Walmart to the west. North on Route 166 is the Toms River Pathmark.

"The local Stop & Shop, Walmart, and other competitors will also be impacted, but to a much lesser degree," Casey said.

A key factor about the success of the new ShopRite will be prices. Comparison shopping rules the day in a down economy, Casey said, meaning consumers will shop the lowest prices in the grocer aisle.

"The relatively higher priced Foodtown across the highway is in dire need of an upgrade....but unfortunately, the horse is out of the gate already.  Also, it is my belief that other than Walmart, Target, and Aldi, it's ShopRite that is the lowest priced conventional supermarket alternative in the area."  he said.

Shopper Loyalty?

Shopper loyalty is another factor in the survival of a supermarket. With the opening of a new property, how has that fared?

"Quite often, store loyalty does play into the shopper's choice," said Casey. "Since the Perlmart group and their local ShopRites have served Toms River customers extremely well over the years - and have developed extremely strong loyalty to the 'ShopRite' name, I strongly believe this new ShopRite on Route 37 will be very well received."

Scaduto declined to give out the foot traffic or number and amount of sales the Super Foodtown has. He said the feedback shows customers are loyal to that location. He did not say if there has been an impact on sales since the ShopRite opened across the street.

"It's business as usual," Scaduto said. "We're very, very happy with the location. Obviously, there's a new competitor across the street. But you've got to pick and choose the battles. We are very happy."

Brian Fitzpatrick January 31, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I live within walking distance of the new Saker ShopRite, and since they have put the new traffic pattern in at 166 and Old Freehold, it has gotten a little better. The ShopRite is very nice, and is well stocked. My only complaint is that the aisles are very narrow, especially when compared with the Stop&Shop or the Foodtown, but then all new ShopRites seem to be working off that same principle. My wife still shops at the Stop&Shop, which I think has a better overall layout. The shopping experience in both places is about equal. Customer service at the Foodtown is the best, but the store is very dated, and has a confusing layout. And since it is actually easier for me to get to the Stop&Shop (even though I live off OFR, below Mapletree) than it is for me to get to Foodtown, because of the murderous traffic crossing 37, Foodtown will be third on my list. IMHO, I think about the only people who would be going to the Foodtown would be those who live west of there on 37, the folks south of there off Highland Parkway, or who are shopping at the Kohl's or Modell's and need to go to the food store. Without a remodel/renovation (and improvement of the intersection of 37 and 166), Foodtown is doomed.
Brian Fitzpatrick January 31, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I, too, would like to see 166 widened, but I don't think it will be a realistic possibility in the next ten years. There isn't enough need for it north of Old Freehold Road - there's just mostly houses and a couple of underused strip malls - until you get to the intersection of 571 and Route 9, which is also lousy, but that's being addressed by the new road being built between the Parkway onramp and the intersection of 571 and Intermediate North Way. Most of the traffic at 166/37 from the north comes from Old Freehold anyway. The state would be better off spending money either redoing the entire 166/37 interchange (especially for traffic turning right onto 37 from southbound 166, where you have to compete with folks coming off 37 westbound) or widening Route 9 from 571 to at least Cox Cro Road, which is bumper-to-bumper all day, every day.
Ken January 31, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I have a few complaints about the new Shop Rite. First of all they made the aisles way to narrow. I know they did this sothey could put more products, but if there is someone coming the other way you can barley manuever around them. Nest is their meat department, like some else stated I thought maybe there was another section since the one I saw was so small, but that was it and they are more expensive than other local stores, even the so called sales items. The deli has a nice selection, but again I know other stores in the area who are much cheaper. Finally is the bakery department. The items are WAY OVER PRICED and not even that good. I don't know of any other store in the area including bakeries who even come close to charging thos kind of prices for baked goods. I guess time will tel how they do, but they really already need to make some changes if they want me to come back.
proudnot2bliberal January 23, 2013 at 01:37 AM
WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? Stop & Shop is 30 % higher across the board Thier sale prices aer higher than Shop Rite reg prices. FoodTown stinks bought soda there last summer then stopped at 7-11 for a slurpie & thier price on soda was cheaper! embarrasing
proudnot2bliberal January 23, 2013 at 01:42 AM
its the same store they moved across the street to a new bigger store

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