New-look Baker's store at 120th, West Center has customers excited

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Posted: Saturday, February 1, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 2:19 pm, Thu Jun 5, 2014.

When it comes to grocery store renovations, Ellen Jacobsen is just glad her Baker's store at 120th Street and West Center Road is finished.

“I like it. It was a little confusing while they were doing it all,” Jacobsen said. “I'm figuring out where everything is at and I'm doing OK.”

The supermarket in Westwood Plaza recently completed a multimillion-dollar, wall-to-wall renovation, which reorganized the interior to expand and add several sections, including a new olive bar and cheese section and fresh, handmade sushi.

“Our customers are so excited about it,” store manager Stacie Falor said of the renovations.

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Along with new paint, fixtures and polished concrete flooring, the store's other new features include: a “build your own six-pack,” where customers can mix and match from more than 250 craft and imported beers; an expanded produce section, including more organic offerings; and a new natural foods section that includes bulk items such as nuts and oatmeal.

The store also now has a new assortment of premium fine wines; a moved and expanded floral department; a consultation room in the pharmacy department for flu shots and other immunizations; a new beverage center with fountain drinks and coffee; and a consolidated dairy department, which formerly was split into two sections.

Kroger-owned Baker's has been renovating stores over the past five years, spokeswoman Sheila Lowrie said. “Our goal is to touch every single store every seven to 10 years.”

The Westwood store formerly was an Albertson's, which Baker's bought in 2004, and had not been renovated since, Lowrie said.

She declined to say which Baker's stores would be next to get updates.

Lowrie noted that the Baker's just north of 72nd Street and Military Avenue underwent a similar renovation that was completed within the last few months. The store now has similar offerings to the 120th and Center location and the one near 168th Street and West Center Road at Lakeside Plaza.

Shopper Vicky Shallow was pleased with the 120th Street store's renovation. “I'll probably come here more often now,” she said, adding that she comes to the store especially for the fresh ground peanut butter available in the bulk natural foods section.

The Westwood store held a grand reopening Friday, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and a check presentation to United Way of the Midlands for $57,600, including funds collected from store associates in Omaha and Bellevue, along with a $7,500 corporate donation.

Today, the store will host sampling demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including live guacamole demonstrations, craft beer and gourmet cheese pairings, and deli pizza.

Marilyn Childress was looking at apples on sale Friday and said she was especially pleased with the expanded section. “I like the way the produce is laid out now.”

Lowrie noted that a wall-to-wall renovation can be a long process, especially for customers.

“We know that there's growing pains ... but in the end you get a brand new store,” she said.

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