Supermarket Becomes True Center for Health

The Lempert Report
June 16, 2014

Brick and mortar supermarkets constantly need to find ways to appeal to the time pressed shopper.

With the growth of online options such as amazon fresh, google delivery, peapod -  brick and mortar supermarkets constantly need to find ways to appeal to the time pressed shopper.

In October last year, the supermarket Hannaford in Albany, New York made a bold move to appeal to the busy and the health conscious by adding a small gym in the building. Complete with treadmills, stationary bikes, cardio machines, a state of the art Zumba room and most impressively, it’s free!


According to the retailer, the 5,600 square foot facility was a combined initiative between Hannaford, the local YMCA and health care provider, Capital District Physician’s Health Plan, to support the community and provide a healthy service that was convenient, accessible and free. The center has a personal trainer provided by the YMCA, a health care associate from CDPHP to answer questions and enroll new customers, and a Hannaford-registered dietitian to offer advice on healthy eating. Now, just 7 months later,  the concept is proving to be a success. Just over 1,100 people have signed up, and all exercise classes are packed. Nancy Gildersleeve, director of healthy living for the Capital District YMCA said "This has become a community center. People meet folks just like them.” 


We’ve spoken a lot about the concept of supermarkets adopting the role of a community center, especially when it comes to health and nutrition. The Hannaford model is a great example of how a supermarket can become a hub for the community. And it's a win-win for everybody. Customers get free support and guidance on health and exercise, as well as a community connection and convenience. And for retailers they lock in some valuable customer loyalty. According to store manager Dave Farrell, gym goers don't have to shop in the store — but no doubt the convenience factor will create incentive for people to pick up goods there instead of driving elsewhere. Furthermore, when up against the convenience of online delivery sites, the onsite gym gives customers a reason to keep coming in.