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    Acorn Markets Looks to Spice It Up

    GroupRed gives c-store chain's foodservice a branded identity.

    WELLSBORO, Penn. -- Acorn Markets, a chain of convenience stores, signed with GroupRed LLC, a brand strategy and retail design firm, to upgrade and redesign the look and feel of the company’s foodservice departments. The first location to reflect the GroupRed design will be a new store in Wayland, N.Y., scheduled to open its doors in fall 2005.

    "Acorn Markets' stores, which primarily serve smaller rural communities, have established themselves as ‘the’ place to meet on a Friday or Saturday night," said GroupRed senior partner Ralph Sloan. "Our objective is to elevate the total foodservice experience to a level more closely aligned with their high-quality food offer and to bring in even more business, around the clock, by positioning Acorn Markets as a professional food destination."

    The 16-unit chain’s current approach to foodservice varies from location to location, with 10 stores offering Friar’s Homestyle Chicken, the company’s proprietary fried chicken brand. In addition, 10 of the locations offer pizza and sub sandwiches, including one with a successful Subway sandwich franchise, while three also sell Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

    As part of its project, GroupRed will design interior graphic elements intended to consolidate disparate foodservice brands under a more consistent look from store to store and to develop a branded foodservice identity that more favorably competes with traditional fast food feeders.

    "Although the foodservice department will initially be designed for incorporation in a new store construction project, the design is specifically being developed to facilitate retrofits in the chain’s existing locations," Sloan noted. "This strategy supports Acorn’s plan to eventually have all stores reflect the new foodservice branding."

    Acorn Markets, owned by the Putnam Company, operates convenience-store locations in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York State.

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