The recreation of the Star Market brand in Boston is almost complete.
Over the past few weeks, most of the stores that had been converted to Shaw's and allowed to deteriorate under previous ownership have been refurbished and rebranded. The only remaining Shaw's in the inner city is the one in the Fenway where more extensive (needed) renovation is taking place. (And some city oriented Stars were never converted to Shaw's at all, such as Mt. Auburn St.)
With the change has come a shift to a more upscale mix. Self checkout lines are gone at many stores and the environment spiffed up. All of these modified stores now have beer and wine. What has also changed is prices. Star's prices are higher and sale items at Shaw's may not be available. There are now separate weekly circulars for the two chains and side-by-side comparisons are revealing. (The Shaw's circular is on standard newsprint; the Star is on glossy paper.)
Management apparently believes that those of us living inside Rt. 128 want a more upscale experience and are willing to pay for it. Some of these inner city stores have almost no competition, however, and some low income residents may be at a loss.
So what does everyone think of these changes? I have mixed reactions. While I appreciate the (long overdue) physical store improvements, I'm not sure they are worth the higher prices. And Shaw's was the highest priced local store to start with.
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