Where some older Kroger customers saw the recent cancellation of its senior discount program as a slight, ValuMarket saw it as an opportunity.
Last night, James Neumann, vice president of ValuMarket, told Insider via social media that the grocery chain would soon begin offering a 5 percent discount to customers 60 years or older. Today, ValuMarket confirmed that the summer discount program would begin on June 21, exactly one day before Kroger ends its program.
When the Louisville division of Kroger announced at the end of May that it was ending its senior discount program entirely after slowly whittling away at it for years, people took it hard, based on social media comments. Spokesman Tim McGurk said at the time that the company was lowering the cost of more than 3,000 items. “Offering more everyday low prices will benefit all of our customers, including our senior customers,” he said in a news release.
Neumann told Insider that ValuMarket had been looking at implementing a discount program for years but that he wasn’t “going to sugar coat it,” the decision to do it now was directly in reaction to Kroger’s decision.
“I was looking at the reaction on social, and it was not positive,” he said.
“Just another way to screw the aging poor,” said one commenter on Insider Louisville’s Facebook post.
Others vowed to take their business elsewhere.
ValuMarkets will be offering Senior Summer Days every other week on June 21, July 5, July 19, August 2, August 16 and August 30. Customers must have proof of age and a free Xtra Valu savings card.
Purchase of alcohol, tobacco, services, lottery and pharmacy are excluded from discount eligibility.
The 39-year old grocery chain has locations at Mid City Mall, Iroquois Manor, Outer Loop Plaza and Mt. Washington, Ky. The stores also allow online ordering for delivery or pick up at the store with ValuMarket Curbside Direct.
Neumann said that ValuMarket’s general customer base, except for the Mid City Mall location, tends to skew a little older. “They find our store size much more manageable,” he said.
Neumann said that should the program be well-received by the community, he would consider extending it beyond the summer.