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Don’t ignore prime locations north of the Sun Belt

Dube: “We see an abundance of opportunities up north that are equal to—or in some cases better than—what’s available in the Sun Belt.”

While opportunities for supermarkets in the Sun Belt states are abundant, Tri-Land, during its 45-year history, has been repositioning and redeveloping underperforming supermarket-anchored centers located primarily in seven Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic markets: Chicago; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Indianapolis; Baltimore; St Louis, and Kansas City. 

And let me tell you: There are plenty of great locations to be found north of Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

Tri-Land’s acquisition targets are located in high-traffic, high-population markets with average-to-above-average incomes. To fit changing market or strategic conditions, we will expand or downsize an existing supermarket--or even relocate a store that is either too small, too old, or improperly located. Here are some examples that illustrate this practice:

Fridley, Minn. Tri-Land purchased a shopping center in this northern suburb of Minneapolis that was formerly occupied by a 140,000 sq. ft. discount store built in the early Seventies. When the store closed in the early Nineties, Cub supermarkets took the lease. The rent was inexpensive and the competitive environment was less intense than what exists in the Minneapolis market today. Tri-Land downsized the 104,000 sq. ft. space to the Cub’s current prototype size 65,000 sq. ft., repurposed the 35,000 sq. ft. of space Cub returned to Tri-Land, and created two new outlot developments that housed a McDonald’s on one outlot and a 9,000 sq. ft. multi-tenant building on the second outlot. Cub supermarkets renovated the inside of the store, installed new fixtures, and created a contemporary exterior façade. The sales performance of the downsized Cub supermarket increased substantially during the 24 months following the downsizing. 

Independence, Mo. What Tri-Land is doing in this eastern suburb of Kansas City is almost a duplicate of the Fridley project—30 years later. We are now implementing a $25 million renovation of the 160,000 sq. ft. Hub Shopping Center in this eastern suburb of Kansas City. It is anchored by Price Chopper in a 103,000 sq. ft. space Walmart left to relocate in a supercenter format three miles away. The competitive environment of the Kansas City market in the early Nineties was less intense than it is today, and Price Chopper sought to downsize its footprint here to be consistent with the chain’s Kansas City store location strategy. 

A new 20-year Price Chopper lease was executed in the summer of 2023 that reduced the size of its space to 70,000 sq. ft. Simultaneously, with the execution of a new Price Chopper lease, the City of Independence approved a $12 million economic incentive package to assist with the redevelopment. Four new outlots have been created and an existing Burger King location is being demolished and replaced by the chain’s new prototype building. The 33,000 sq. ft. of space Price Chopper returned to Tri-Land being repurposed into a discount fashion store. The exterior of the entire shopping center is being upgraded to reflect a contemporary appearance and the common areas are being upgraded with new sidewalks, parking lot paving, installation of high intensity parking lot lighting, and high-impact landscaping. 

Ethnic Grocers

Grocer Name


Number of

Stores in the U.S.

H MartKorean


Patel BrothersIndian


Fiesta MartHispanic


Cardenas MarketsHispanic


Mitsuwa MarketplaceJapanese


Emerging Ethnic Supermarkets. During the past 20 years, as supermarket consolidation has accelerated throughout the United States, urban cities and first-ring suburbs have experienced growing demographic concentrations of Hispanic, Indian, Chinese, and Asian Pacific populations. The more established Slavic population has also been on the rise.

The result of this increasing population of immigrants and first-generation citizens has led dozens of ethnic grocers to open up stores in dense urban neighborhoods and high-density suburban markets. Though growing populations in Sun Belt states are particularly enticing to expanding retailers today, dozens of ethnic supermarket chains are themselves moving rapidly into urban and suburban regions farther north. 

Whether it be venturing into a redevelopment with a fast-growing ethnic supermarket chain or repositioning supermarket brands that are No. 1 or No. 2 in their markets, we at Tri-Land see an abundance of opportunity in our operating areas that is equal to—or in some cases better than—what’s available in the Sun Belt.

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