Don’t feel like braving U.S. 280 traffic to get your groceries? Here’s some good news. On Friday, March 4th, The Kroger Co. announced its plans to hire 161 new employees in Birmingham in order to staff its new e-commerce grocery delivery service, which the company plans to introduce to The Magic City this year. Learn more about the grocery store’s plans for Birmingham.
Not familiar with Kroger?
When I moved to Birmingham, I had quite the shock when I decided to get groceries. What do you mean, the nearest Kroger is an hour away!? As a native Tennesseean, I was used to seeing Kroger stores as frequently as Publix and Whole Foods—although Piggly Wiggly and Winn-Dixie were new to me. Although Kroger has 10 brick-and-mortar retail stores in North and East Alabama, the grocer has none in Birmingham.
Until now (kind of).
In 2021, Kroger successfully entered the Florida grocery market without a physical store, due to its new e-commerce grocery delivery service. The service allows Kroger to provide customers with the products they need at a convenient time and place. With the success of the Florida e-commerce delivery service under its belt, The Kroger Co. has decided to bring their brand to three new cities in the South: Austin and San Antonio, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama.
“Kroger today looks very different than it did in 1883 when we opened our first store. But the core principles that made that store successful – service, selection, value, and our commitment to our customers – remain the bedrock of our business. I’m incredibly excited for the future of Kroger, and both thriving physical stores and digital solutions are part of it.”Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s Chairman and CEO
Kroger’s entry into the Birmingham market was aided by the Birmingham Business Alliance, which provided economic development support to the Kroger team and connected the company to key governmental departments.
“We are proud to welcome a new and innovative Kroger to Birmingham. Kroger is a more than 100-year-old company with its eye on the future that immediately saw how Birmingham could expand its e-commerce network more effectively.”Alex Patrick, a partner at the Birmingham Business Alliance who managed the project
What will Kroger delivery look like in Birmingham?
In Birmingham, Kroger will be operating its grocery delivery service out of a 50,000-square-foot facility on West Oxmoor Road. The Birmingham facility will also collaborate with the Kroger hub in Forest Park, Georgia and serve as a last-mile cross-dock location, efficiently expanding Kroger’s grocery delivery service.
Thanks to their partnership with Ocado, a world leader in technology for grocery e-commerce, the Kroger delivery service is an intricate system of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and automation. At Kroger’s highly automated fulfillment centers, more than 1,000 robots zoom through the facility’s footprint with totes containing products and ready-to-deliver customer orders.
When it’s time for delivery, the robots bring the totes full of products to a station, where items will be sorted for delivery and packaged intelligently—with fragile items like bread and eggs placed on top and bags weighted evenly to avoid being overloaded. Finally, the groceries will be loaded into a refrigerated delivery van and sent on their way!
Kroger’s Birmingham facility is expected to become operational later this year and will create up to 161 job opportunities.
Excited to see Kroger expand its presence to Birmingham? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!