Shoppers Get More Food Buying Options

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INDIANAPOLIS -

As competition among grocers throughout the state continues to be fierce, another out-of-state entry is expanding its footprint. Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Inc. is hosting grand opening events for two of its next four GetGo Cafe + Market convenience stores Friday in central Indiana. Last year, the company also opened a Market District store in Carmel, the first in the state. Its first GetGo shop launched in Carmel last year and will soon be joined by one in Plainfield, two in Indianapolis and another in Carmel. The company says the four new stores will add more than 150 full and part-time jobs.

Other companies have been adjusting their presence in Indiana in recent years, as well. The Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is continuing its nearly $500 million investment to revamp stores statewide. On a smaller scale than Kroger, Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets Inc. has also taken on improvements to several of its stores. The chain has also changed distribution partners and closed some underperforming locations. In 2014, Illinois-based Fresh Thyme opened its first Indiana store in Indianapolis in what it called an aggressive Midwest rollout, which now includes markets in Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Lafayette, Terre Haute, Fort Wayne and Mishawaka. North Carolina-based Earth Fare began growing its presence in the state two years ago and has stores in Fort Wayne, Carmel, Greenwood and Noblesville. Meijer, the Michigan chain that has long had locations throughout the state, has pumped some $130 million into remodeling six stores and building two new ones.

Niche concepts are even popping up throughout the state, including the recently-launched Towne Market in Newburgh, which is test market for a "grocerant" concept that could be expanded elsewhere. Tech and agriculture entrepreneur Chris Baggott recently opened a Tyner Pond Farm market next to his second location of The Mug, a farm-to-table fast food joint now in Irvington and Greenfield. He has also expanded his FarmersMarket.com concept, which connects local farmers, producers and artisans with customers through an online marketplace and popup market stops.

The second and third GetGo stores will open Friday in Plainfield and Indy, with the second Carmel and Indy locations slated to open in the coming weeks.

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