Kroger is revamping the cheese shops in its two large Marketplace stores in Lexington.
The square footage of the spaces will not change, but the grocery chain will rebrand them as Murray's Cheese, after a well-known New York City cheese shop, and will roughly double the variety of cheeses.
"One of the really great changes you'll see is all of our associates will be educated to offer samples and recommendations and really be able to tell you about the history of the cheese, what country it came from, and whether it's raw or pasteurized," said Vickie Oliver, who is overseeing the additions for Kroger.
Murray's Cheese will open March 10 inside the Marketplace store on Richmond Road at Man o' War Boulevard and April 7 inside the Beaumont Marketplace store.
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The company also plans to have a Murray's Cheese inside the proposed new version of its Euclid Avenue store. The Cincinnati-based grocery chain recently unveiled plans to demolish its existing store near the University of Kentucky campus early next year and build a new one, more than 70 percent larger and with some rooftop parking.
The partnership between Kroger and Murray's Cheese dates to 2009, Oliver said. The plan was to open 50 Murray's Cheese shops inside Kroger groceries nationwide, but the company now has nearly 70, she said. There are three in Louisville stores, and two more are planned in that area this year.
"What Kroger wanted from Murray's was their expertise," Oliver said.
Each store will carry 125 to 150 varieties of cheese from around the world. The existing Kroger cheese shops typically carry 60 to 70, she said. The new cheese shops also will offer a wide selection of specialty crackers, dried fruit and salamis, and they will have an olive and antipasti bar.
The company also will look to sell locally produced cheeses, she said.
"What we want to do is look and feel like Murray's flagship store in New York in Greenwich Village," Oliver said.