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The expansion will add more herbs, almond butter, and other good-for-you goodies, plus some nonfood items, including Burt's Bees products, a yoga section, and a coffee bar and pastry case for the morning crowd. And that's not all.

Ukrop's Vice President of Marketing Scott Ukrop says the expansion will also boost the number of traditional items offered in the main part of the store. The new section will open in an adjacent space vacated over the summer.



Other Ukrop's locations presented with similar opportunities, including the one on the corner of Three Chopt and Patterson, have made similar moves.



Ukrop believes offering traditional and organic groceries all under one roof will tempt customers away from Ellwood Thompson's, a natural market located around the corner. Even so, Ellwood Thompson's owner, Eric Walters, says he isn't worried.



"I don't think [the expansion] will [threaten business] because we are a real fixture in the community," Walters says.



Many people assume that because Ukrop's is a big store, it offers lower prices, but this isn't the case, he says. Ellwood Thompson's, he says, has consistently offered competitively priced goods during its 10 years of business, and he says customers appreciate that.



So do the staff, many of whom bring expertise and personal experience to stocking the shelves. "They eat the foods [they sell]," Walters says. — Sarah Gregory





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