Sunmart transformation: Family Fare brand moving in to F-M stores
West Fargo - Sunmart, a name well-known in the local grocery world, is getting a new name and area stores are getting major makeovers.
The West Fargo Sunmart at 1100 13th Ave. E., the first in the area to feel the changes, is well into a multimillion-dollar facelift.
Fargo’s two Sunmarts at 3175 25th St. S. and 724 University Drive N., and the store in Moorhead at 2605 8th St. S. are following suit.
All will soon bear a new name – Family Fare – the result of brand consolidation by SpartanNash, the company that resulted from the merger last year of Edina, Minn.-based Nash Finch, owner of the Sunmart brand, and Michigan-based Spartan Stores, which purchased a majority stake in Nash Finch.
Changes at the West Fargo Sunmart began in May and are expected to be completed by the end of this month, said Manager Randy Henrikson, who has more than 30 years with Nash Finch, now SpartanNash.
Henrikson said many of the changes happening at his store will also happen at other area Sunmarts, particularly the one in Moorhead, which was built at the same time as the West Fargo location.
“These were built together back in 1999, these footprints will stay very similar,” Henrikson said, adding that changes at the West Fargo store alone will be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.
One focus of change: the store’s perishable departments – produce, bakery, deli and meats.
“Those are the areas the consumer finds very important in their daily meal planning,” Henrikson said. “Basically, you center meals around what you purchase from a meat department and a produce department.”
The perishable departments are being expanded to make the customer’s shopping experience easier, brighter and cleaner, he said.
At some stores, floor tiles are being removed to expose the concrete underneath, which is then polished to a marble-like gleam.
"It’s been quite the process,” Henrikson said.
He said the new Caribou Coffee shop being set up in the West Fargo store will be manned by Family Fare employees, meaning staff numbers will grow.
Likewise, an independent liquor store that had operated within the West Fargo Sunmart is now a department of the grocery store.
Henrikson said the liquor store is managed and staffed by many of the same people who worked at the previous package store.Other changes include:
- An expanded deli/seating area that is getting a large-screen TV, a fireplace and improved seating.
- New restrooms.
- A community room that may be rented for private events. The room boasts a full kitchen.
Henrikson said the company is working to educate customers about the changes by putting up billboards and launching an extensive promotional campaign.
Tyler Amundson, 10, didn’t need a billboard to tell him something was brewing at the West Fargo store.
A frequent visitor, Amundson is friends with many of the store’s employees and he considers Sunmart “his” store, said his mom, Maria Amundson.
“Sunmart does a lot for the special ed program in West Fargo,” Maria Amundson said, adding that as part of her son’s schooling he takes fieldtrips to the store to learn life lessons.
She said the demolition and construction happening at the store had her son worried, at first.
But she said he has since warmed to the idea of change. One thing making the adjustment easier was when workmen recently let her son get a close-up look at some sign switching at the West Fargo store.
“It’s just exciting for him to see that happen,” Amundson said.
Many shoppers have expressed similar sentiments about the renovations, Henrikson said.
“Our customers have been so good to us for so many years, they deserve this.”