Second Place: Whole Foods Market
Third Place: Ellwood Thompson's Local Market
Are we finally over Ukrop's? Who cares? Two years after Richmond's famous grocery chain turned into Martin's Food Market, Kroger has become the middle-market juggernaut. With 15 stores and more on the way, the Cincinnati-based grocer's aisles are bigger than Food Lion's and cleaner than Wal-Mart's, and the selection — from the beer aisle to frozen foods — is more expansive than Martin's. Kroger added gas stations to the parking lots of 10 of its stores. And the chain is doing something that Ukrop's never really did: investing in downtrodden communities. Next year the company will open its biggest store in the Richmond area, a 130,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace with furniture and appliances, at the former Cloverleaf Mall site.