Monday, June 18, 2001- The Michigan Daily - /
,Kroger to debut state's first gas, grocery combo
SOUTHGATE (AP) - Michigan shoppers
soon will be able to fill their refrigerators and
their gas tanks at about a dozen Kroger super-
Kroger Co. of Michigan plans to open its
first fuel center in the state on Wednesday. The
four- to five-pump station at its new Southgate
store is the first of at least 12 Kroger fuel cen-
ters slated to open this year in Michigan.
I The Southgate store, which cost $8 million
to $10 million to build, will be the state's
Kroger Co., the largest grocery chain in the
country in terms of sales and number of stores,
already offers banking and package shipping
services. Adding gas services is just a another
way to meet customer needs, officials said.
The Cincinnati-based company already has
added more than 100 gas centers in Colorado,
Ohio, Kansas, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Vir-
ginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi,
Kentucky and Indiana. Kroger plans to add up
to 400 more fuel centers in the next two years.
"We believe in one-stop shopping for cus-
tomers," said Jon Flora, president of Kroger
Co. of Michigan. "Customers are telling us
they want convenience and don't want to go to
three or four places to get things done."
The fuel centers will not have convenience
While Kroger plans to competitively price
its gas and offer discounts to members of its
customer-loyalty program, Flora said it will
not significantly undercut prices in the area.
That's the concern of Mark Griffin, president
of the Michigan Petroleum Association/Michi-
gan Association of Convenience Stores.
"Traditionally, what we've seen happen, like
with Wal-Mart, they price the product way
below market and drive out other businesses,"
Griffin said. "In the short term, gas may be
getting cheaper, but they are destroying com-
petition in the market."
Kroger is pursuing state and local approval
for fuel centers in Detroit, Lincoln Park, Ster-
ling Heights, Westland, Ferndale, Richmond,
Dearborn and in the Lansing and Flint areas.
It's a move that mimics the retail and gas
combinations at Meijer Inc. and Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. as retailers strive to broaden cus-
tomer base and increase revenues.
Grocers adding gas stations is logical, said
Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard's Retail
Trend Report in New Jersey.
"It is essentially a matter of leveraging visits
required to the grocery store," he said. "There
is a synergy between the two. If you need a
tank full of gas, you may as well go and buy
groceries. If you need lettuce and tomatoes,
you may as well get a tank full of gas."
DCX employees prepare for final rollout of Cherokees
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - As assembly and now is vice president of the Dodge 1978 by former owner American Motors group of consumers coming along who tially to provide off-road capability in a
workers prepare to roll out the last Jeep Global Brand Center for Daimler- Corp., other automakers were producing were looking for something that was a basic vehicle," she said. "It didn't try to
herokee, Jeep employees and Chero- Chrysler's AG's U.S. unit. "It has worn compact cars. High gas prices, fuel little more nimble and a little more right- chase numbers and didn't evolve. It
ee owners recall the nearly 18 years the its age really well. shortages and foreign competition, sized," Julow said. "We had a lot of high remained focused on its core buyers."
model was in production and the tradi- "We'll all shed a little tear in a week along with market research, indicated hopes for the Cherokee back then, and The move to the Liberty will mean
tion the sport utility vehicle created here. or so, but there's a lot of Jeep yet to that there wouldn't be much demand for certainly we had to have a lot of confi- unpleasant changes for some.
After Friday, the Jeep model will no come' he said. the sport utility vehicle. dence." Duane Hughes, a Cherokee owner
longer be made. DaimlerChrysler is Jeep Cherokees hit showroom floors But in its first year, nearly 94,000 Jeep kept customer loyalty by never and Toledo Jeep worker, is one of about
ending production of the Cherokee to with a price tag of $9,995, complete Cherokees and Wagoneers - its one- making the Cherokee more upscale, said 1,420 workers who will lose their jobs
begin production of the new Jeep Liber- with faux wood-panel sides and optional time upscale twin - were sold in the Susan Jacobs, president of an automo- due to the end of Cherokee production.
ty small SUV. citizen's band radios. The most popular United States and Canada. Nearly 3 mil- tive consulting company in Rutherford, "I'm just sad about losing my job," he
"The thing was a hit from day one," versions sell for $22,000 to $24,000 lion have been sold through May. Most N.J. said. "The car itself? I get tired of look-
aid Jim Julow, an engineer who helped today. of them assembled in Toledo. "The Cherokee remained consistent ing at it. Of course, I see 400 to 500 a
goordinate planning for the Cherokee When plans and designs began in "As it turned out, there was a whole with its basic concept, which was essen- day, and then I come out and drive one."
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