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Blooms Grocery Store


bilrus
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Does anyone have any experience with Bloom's grocery stores? I'm curious because rumor is that the first location is going to the anchor of a big new development right down the street from me in Ashburn at the intersection of Belmont Ridge and Portsmouth.

They are apparently the upscale part of a new strategy from Food Lion, that also includes a downscale (yes - more downscale than Food Lion itself) brand of stores called Bottom Dollar. They currently have five locations in North Carolina. More info from this article in the Post.

Is this going to be an alternative to Wegman's or Whole Foods or just a reconfigured Food Lion?

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Does anyone have any experience with Bloom's grocery stores?  I'm curious because rumor is that the first location is going to the anchor of a big new development right down the street from me in Ashburn at the intersection of Belmont Ridge and Portsmouth.

They are apparently the upscale part of a new strategy from Food Lion, that also includes a downscale (yes - more downscale than Food Lion itself) brand of stores called Bottom Dollar.  They currently have five locations in North Carolina.  More info from this article in the Post.

Is this going to be an alternative to Wegman's or Whole Foods or just a reconfigured Food Lion?

From following the Blooms link, it's definitely not plain ole Food Lyin'...one of the features of the link is a feature on wines (something FL kept to a minimum if at all). Seems to fall somewhere in the upscale Safeway/Giant bracket (or at least that's the impression I came away with after exploring the website)

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Possibly old news, but NPR is reporting this morning that 40 DC-area Food Lion locations will be converted upscale into Bloom stores, and 15 will go downscale to Bottom Dollar. Bloom is described as being positioned to compete with Harris Teeter. Still no commentary on which stores are being converted to which.

Also, very old press release here.

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Possibly old news, but NPR is reporting this morning that 40 DC-area Food Lion locations will be converted upscale into Bloom stores, and 15 will go downscale to Bottom Dollar. Bloom is described as being positioned to compete with Harris Teeter. Still no commentary on which stores are being converted to which.

Also, very old press release here.

Based on Bilrus's earlier post, it sounds like Bloom will be charging right into the teeth of the Harris-Teeter Line in Loudoun County. They have three stores very close to the north-south Rte 659: one in Stone Ridge, one in Brambleton, and one somewhere in the Ashburn area.

There's a Food Lion in South Riding that I am sure would do quite well if it's converted to a Bloom. There's no way that one will go downmarket to Bottom Dollar.

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I drove through the parking lot in wintergreen plaza this am (on 355 in Rockville) and noted that the Food Lion appears to be closed (not just doors boarded over, but all of their signs taken off of front of building). Anybody know what changes are afoot?

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I couldn't find the WaPo article on Blooms
There were two WaPo articles in August: Aiming High, Aiming Low about Food Lion's market segmentation strategy and With Stores in Store, Giant Goes Gargantuan about Giant's response to the increased competition.

So, how does Food Lion decide which stores stay the same and which morph up (Bloom) or down (Bottom Dollar)? An article on the Acxiom website describes how this company allocated customers into 70 (seventy) market segments and matched them household by household with Food Lion's member discount card database to determine merchandise mix. Now, it was probably used to determine whether your neighborhood gets a Food Lion, Bloom or Bottom Dollar (quick, helpful house-hunting flags when scoping out a neighborhood).

Two FLs in Gaithersburg have morphed; one each, Bloom (behind Costco) & Bottom Dollar (same center as New Fortune). Haven't checked either of them out -- sticking with TJ/Costco/SFW, but eager to see Harris Teeter when it opens out on Rt 28.

Does anyone know if Bloom is a nice chain or is it just more schlock?
Sorry Harold, from page 2 of Bloom's current sales flyer (bulk mailed to my house):
Premium, Full Flavor Hot House Tomatoes $1.99 per pound

Edited to respond to upthread query

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One just opened up in Rockville and I got coupons in the mail ($5 off $25 purchase or something like that).

Anyone been yet? The prices seem reasonably competitive.

I haven't been but I get both the Blooms and Bottom Dollar circulars in the mail and I've noticed there is no rhyme or reason to the sales prices at either. Sometimes Blooms is cheaper. More rarely, Bottom Dollar is....

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One just opened up in Rockville and I got coupons in the mail ($5 off $25 purchase or something like that).

Anyone been yet? The prices seem reasonably competitive.

It is, without question, an improvement upon its predecessor although, I submit, so too would have been an Exxon Mini Mart.

The parent company must have heeded the focus groups and, in doing so, enhanced the décor, widened the aisles, introduced self check-out machines and improved the signage. Still, you can take a mule, paint it yellow, paste wings on it and call it a canary but, alas, it remains a mule.

The produce section is upgraded to the extent that brownish hues are no longer prominent on the greenery. The cheese options remain, well, indifferent. Meats and fishes appear to be more within striking distance of the appropriate health code, although the prices somehow more than reflect this nod towards improved community service. And, please note, that the bakery is such in name only as, too, is the Deli counter which, harbors a pedestrian line of cold cuts having neither pride of ancestry nor hope of posterity.

This is Food Lion’s best effort to put lipstick on a pig. To expect an ‘upscale’ experience is, I fear, the triumph of hope over experience.

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I missed this thread the first time around. My parents live near one in NC and I've been in a couple times. It doesn't remind me of Food Lion at all...

From the "Area Grocery Stores" thread:

Being from NC and thus having experience with Food Dog (er, Lion?) there are definitely some bad stores around, though Harris Teeter at least makes up for it as far as supermarkets from NC. There's a new store in the Food Lion chain called Bloom. Marketed much more upscale. The stores are clean, you pick up a scanner on the way in and scan things as you pick them up (which keeps a running total for you) and then to check out you just hand the scanner to the cashier (or maybe just in a machine, I don't remember), pay, and you're out of there. Don't know exactly how they work as I haven't actually used one yet. Also electronic kiosks around the store to give you ideas on recipes, wines, etc.

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I reconnoitered the Rockville Bloom in Wintergreen Plaza a couple of weeks ago, and to be fair it doesn't much resemble a Food Lion at all. Ignoring the decor for the time being, Bloom is stocked with a far more upscale range of products than FL ever was, and you'll see recognizable brands there, and not just what's rock-bottom cheap. The produce department actually looked better than most Safeways, but perhaps not as good as Giant. Overall I'd say they're targeting the Harris-Teeter/(original-sized)Wegmans market, at least as far as packaged items.

There are, of course, oddities around the edges. I'm not sure how I felt about the meat or fish counter, but that might have been a hold-over from knowing that they're an FL brand. And the dairy section was thoroughly off-putting - Bloom's own branding is very plain and generic, and the fact that not one milk jug had its cheap-looking label applied accurately really didn't inspire a sense of quality.

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I The produce department actually looked better than most Safeways, but perhaps not as good as Giant.

Well, things vary by neighborhood, I guess. The Giants around me are not nearly as good as the Safeways in terms of produce. I stopped in to a local Giant today to pick up some garlic, and found none, and actually found the produce department wanting for variety.

As for Harris Teeter, I've never understood the appeal. It's just another supermarket chain. Soggy veggies (from the misters) and mediocre to poor fish and meats--not my thing. Also, the second story in some of them aggravates my vertigo, so I don't go upstairs.

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As for Harris Teeter, I've never understood the appeal...

Also, the second story in some of them aggravates my vertigo, so I don't go upstairs.

The Harris Teeters that have their wine departments upstairs are just plain stupid. The designer obviously did not consider that heat rises and those wine departments get bakingly hot. The wine bottles are warm to the touch. I'd never buy wine there--guaranteed heat damage.

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Gaithersburg has managed to get both a Bottom Dollar and a Bloom, and they're both. . . odd.

Bottom Dollar is pretty much exactly what it claims to be, a discount grocery store. If anyone's ever been to a Sav-A-Lot or similar, it's the same idea. Cut costs everywhere, including bagging (they sell you plastic bags or you can use boxes, a la Costco), to make packaged goods cheaper. Packaged goods are generally cheaper, some ethnic food is actually well represented, and well, meat and produce don't seem to be an FDA inspector's nightmare (yet. . . they did just open), but there's very little selection. The decor definitely has a creepy, focus group inspired feel to it, though.

Bloom appears to be somewhere in that weird area between a Safeway and a Whole Foods. I've heard of Wegman's and Harris Teeter from my VA brethren, but have yet to visit either. At any rate, it's mostly a regular grocery store, but they make sure the gourmet sections are expanded a bit more, and the fresh goods stock more high end stuff. They have cooking tips all over the place (like a Trader Joe's, but in a more creepy, sterile way), and the aforementioned price scanners. I think the produce section is where the real weirdness is, because there's no rhyme nor reason to it. Yes, the produce looks decent, and they attempt to stock organics, but the variety is the most random assortment of stuff I've ever seen. It's not like, say, Macgruder's, where the assortment of exotics is there because of the local ethnic diversity. No, there's just random stuff floating around, trying to show off how exotic and diverse they are. I honestly saw whole stalks of sugar cane the last time I was there. It didn't look very healthy (I had just come back from Brazil, so I know what healthy looks like), but they had it, as if to say "Look how different we are!"

And yes, I get both flyers as well, and was mentioned previously, the sales make no sense at all. The whole thing looks like a weird floundering attempt for Food Lion to get any customers they possibly can, all the while making some consultants really, really rich before they cut and run.

On a side note, a nearby Food Lion closed and has been replaced by a Harris Teeter. I'm not sure if it's opened yet, but if it is, I'm willing to see why my VA friends are so cult-like about the chain.

~EEE~

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As for Harris Teeter, I've never understood the appeal.
Had you spent a couple of years living, if you can call it that, in Wilson NC, you would understand the appeal of Harris Teeter deeply. When the only alternatives are Food Lion, Wal-Mart, and the Piggly Wiggly, Harris Teeter exudes an appeal powerful indeed.
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I didn't mind Food Lion. It's target was always just the basics. And as long as you steered clear or largely anything fresh, it was good for a quick dash in to get something you needed.

Well, in Laurel, they turned the Food Lion to a Bottom Dollar. I went there once and I hated it. Never will go back. Even if they turn it to a Bloom now, I doubt I would go back. They turn their back on my hood by giving us a Bottom Dollar and I turn my back on them. BAH!

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Well, in Laurel, they turned the Food Lion to a Bottom Dollar. I went there once and I hated it. Never will go back. Even if they turn it to a Bloom now, I doubt I would go back. They turn their back on my hood by giving us a Bottom Dollar and I turn my back on them. BAH!

Never been to Bloom, but FL did give one to North Laurel/Scaggsville. I think I saw it on my way to Smokey Hollow BBQ. I may try one just to play with the handheld scanners....

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I went to the Bloom in wintergreen plaza. It's definitely nicer than the food lion was (greater selection (than I recall) of brands of different things), prices seem reasonable. (Let me admit, I wasn't a food lion regular--prices may very well have gone up post-change.)

Weird layout issue: In looking for flour and sugar, all I can find are cake/cookie/brownie mixes. There are a few items one might use to bake from scratch, but not many. On the other side of the aisle? Fruit juices or canned vegetables or something unmemorable. I walk up and down aisle and scratch my head thinking that SURELY they don't NOT sell flour and sugar? I mean, really? Does everybody who shops here only bake from a mix? Three aisles over, I encounter the flour/sugar and other baking items missing from the first aisle. What's immediately across from them in the aisle? Oh, fruit juices or canned vegetables or something. Who in the **** wouldn't put the cake mixes, etc with the flour/sugar spices?

Didn't look at produce, so can't comment on the quality of that.

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First visit to Bloom (Odenton) yesterday, enticed by pork back ribs on sale at $2.98/lb (had to get membership card). Not much else of interest; layout is strange, and self scan checkout was the worst one I've ever used: scale couldn't detect frozen meals without having to actually drop them from a foot or more high, continual error messages of other sorts, and finally it froze up when confronted with ribs. No way to cancel and flee to human cashier (what few lines they have were very long - now I see why), so had to call out to customer service person to get me outta there. I also see why hand held scanner technology seems to have been ashcanned.

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