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Marsh rolls out new name at certain stores

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A few Marsh stores are getting a new name on Thursday in what appears to be an early step to differentiate the grocery chain’s offerings in hopes of making them more marketable.

Three Marsh Hometown Market stores in Lebanon, Wabash and Franklin will be renamed MainStreet Markets.

Company officials said the move is a fine-tuning of a strategy launched in 2006 to distinguish the smaller Marsh Hometown Markets from the Marsh the Marketplace locations, which are more upscale and have a wider array of products.

Keeping Marsh in the store name made it harder for customers to draw that distinction, officials said.

“Consumer research has consistently indicated that while our initial strategy aimed to better position and differentiate our stores according to their size and varying consumer demands, the fact that both banners continued to operate under the Marsh name limited our ability to do so,” Marsh CEO Frank Lazaran said in a news release. “Operating under the name MainStreet Market will enable us to take the best of what Marsh stands for in these communities and add a much more customized marketing approach for these stores.”

The chain has about 100 stores, about half in Indianapolis. Connie Gardner, a Marsh spokeswoman, said it’s not been decided whether the chain will roll out the new name to other Hometown stores across the Indianapolis metro area, but some observers predict it will.
 
Last year, Marsh’s parent company, Florida-based Sun Capital Partners, hired an investment adviser and solicited offers to sell the chain, but got no takers.

IBJ reported in August that Sun is not immediately looking to sell the chain and will continue investing in it.

At the time, former Marsh executive Danny O’Malia said he expected the chain to change the name on some of its stores so it eventually can market the upscale Marsh the Marketplace stores and discount-oriented Hometown Market locations to separate buyers.

Indeed, when the company decides to put the stores back on the market, the outlets will be easier to sell with two distinct identities, O’Malia said this week.

“It would be hard to sell both of those types of stores to the same company,” he said. “So they might have to look to two different buyers.”

The MainStreet Markets will offer electronic savings incentives and discount clubs, and will tout a new logo. Employees at the stores will not lose their jobs or be transferred because of the name change.

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  • Buyout Request
    There's a local grocery chain in the South Bend/Mishawaka area that I love to shop at while up there called "Martin's". Family-owned, good quality, great service. I went out of my way to go there instead of Kroger, Walmart, or Meijer. They appear to have weathered the economic storm, and I would welcome their takeover of Marsh.
  • Remember LoBill?
    Long ago in a small town nearby, our local supermarket was a 'LoBill' without the Marsh name attached. Then the investment bankers took over. So they redecorated, became a 'Marsh Hometown Market', cut a number of store brands in favor of 'Food Club'-brand products and prices went up. Now they're redecorating and renaming again, and the prices will go up again. Shoulda kept the 'LoBill' moniker and saved the cost of two name-changes!
  • Huh?
    This is a waste of money. There's one Marketplace by us, and one Hometown Market. I know that the Marketplace is nicer... and I agree that with a name like MainStreet Market, I will probably be less likely to go there. MainStreet = generic. Marsh = local and has the loyalty we've seen for years. I second the motion... I've got WalMart and Meijer closer and cheaper, so what am I waiting for. Change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean we always have to embrace it.
  • Branding?
    Does anyone in this organization understand branding? The statement â??Operating under the name MainStreet Market will enable us to take the best of what Marsh stands for in these communities and add a much more customized marketing approach for these stores.â??

    Walking away from a brand that has been present for 70 years and calling it "fine-tuning of a strategy" is disengenuos.

    Living in the Geist area, we shop at Marsh several times a week and are quite please with offering and the service. Changing the name on the building would leave us to believe that company management has sold our local Marsh grocery store.

    As someone who has managed 300+ retail stores, I taught and encouraged our employees to never give our customers a reason to shop somewhere else.

    Walmart and Kroger are beckoning.

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