Kroger to downtown? UC students help with concept

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - For years Kroger has discussed ways to bring another store to downtown Cincinnati.

Now the grocery giant has enlisted some help in bagging a downtown store by teaming up with college students.

Professor Michael Zaretsky understands all too well it's easier to talk the talk, rather than walk the walk.

"It's really easy to say we need a downtown store and of course we would say that, but we had to understand all of the reasons why that's a challenge," said Michael Zaretsky.

Zaretsky says this project all started because he's friends with the head of design at Kroger. Now his students are finding ways to make this a successful concept.

"I find that the students become much more engaged and excited and do their best work when there's something real and we're working with real people," said Zaretsky.

Real estate downtown is pricey, and Zaretsky says the size of a downtown store would most likely differ too.

One of the biggest challenges to a downtown grocery would be parking.

"You can't ignore parking, you can't ignore transit, and bicycle and pedestrian access," said Pooja Kashyap.

Pooja Kashyap says before she would just pitch ideas to design professors, now she's working with real industry professionals.

"If I go into a Kroger I can say oh yeah I understand why that's there and this is how we're trying to push them, this is what they use, this is why that idea wouldn't work. It's just the best part is understanding why certain designs work and why certain designs don't," said Kashyap.

Zaretsky says they're not targeting one specific location downtown, but he says they've looked at the business community, The Banks, and OTR.

"This growing community down there and they're trying to figure out how to do it, and we're trying to help," said Zaretsky.

These classes also studied grocery chains in big cities such as New York and Los Angeles to get a sense of how it works there.

The students hope to continue this partnership with Kroger in semesters to come.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.