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CT Insider has a story about how years before Wegmans opens its first Connecticut store on Route 1 in Norwalk, one supermarket competitor - just a quarter-mile or so away - already is getting busy competing.

Here's how the story frames the scenario:

"ShopRite customers in Norwalk will see the bustle of activity near the entrance before long, as a new addition carves out space for home deliveries for people picking out selections from home.

"But it is the action shoppers will take in at the rear of the store that Tom Cingari Jr. sees as most important — the section where employees are prepping food for both aisles and delivery vans — that he thinks will bring new customers to ShopRite, in advance of the Norwalk arrival of one of the most formidable names in the industry.

"Grade A Markets is in the midst of an upgrade to its ShopRite store in Norwalk, ranging from new interior decor evoking farm stands, to an exterior addition for delivering groceries, to additional kiosks for self-checkout.

"The ShopRite renovations will be complete long before Wegmans breaks ground on its first Connecticut store a short distance up Connecticut Avenue, on the heels of its successful debut just west of Greenwich in Harrison, N.Y.

"'We're going 180 degrees from what shoppers are used to from a design perspective,' said Tom Cingari Jr., vice president for Grade A Markets, during an interview last week at the ShopRite store in Norwalk.  'When you walk into the meat department for instance — totally brand new, like you are walking down one of the streets over in SoNo'."

The story says that "Cingari said that Grade A Markets had the wheels in motion for the ShopRite renovation long before Wegmans signaled its intent to build a new store."

KC's View:

This is a story with which I have some personal familiarity - the Grade A ShopRite on which the story focuses is about three miles up the Boston Post Road from where I live.

The Grade A ShopRite, as I've described here before, is just one of numerous retailers likely to be affected by the Wegmans arrival.  Others include the original Stew Leonard's, Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop, Costco, Walmart, Trader Joe's, CTown, and Palmer's Market.

I was in Grade A the other day, and I'd like to gently suggest that these renovations are long overdue - the store struck me as tired, beaten up and badly in need of modernization.  That said, it also had a completely filled parking lot … so something is working.  (ShopRite stores always are tough competitors.). Compare that to the Stop & Shop across the street, where there were plenty of parking spaces to be found, and which feels to me to be even more worn out than the Grade A.

These stores are smart to be launching their competitive efforts now, instead of waiting until Wegmans opens it doors.  Stew Leonard's also is engaged in a major remodel that will bring the original store up to par with some of the newer stores that it has built in recent years.  As in the case of Grade A, the project is said to have been planned before Wegmans announced its intentions, but there is no time like the present.