Ukrop’s Supermarkets Picks Work Advertising

Richmond Chain Makes Hometown Choice
ATLANTA–After evaluating seven agencies in its hometown of Richmond, Va., Ukrop’s Supermarkets made the decision to place its strategic development and creative duties with Work Advertising.
Ukrop’s Supermarkets is a locally owned chain that has operated in Richmond for 60 years. The company would not reveal the other contenders or the budget.
“The advertising community in Richmond has incredible talent,” according to client director of marketing Coleen Butler Rodriguez. “We chose Work Advertising because they have a solid understanding of smart marketing, great advertising and an obvious history of success. But when it comes right down to it, at Ukrop’s we make certain decisions based on intuition, and it just felt right.”
The review was partially driven by the chain’s expansion outside its Richmond metropolitan borders. The client has opened a store in Fredericksburg, Va., and plans to open another site in Williamsburg, Va.
“I think they were looking for someone who can take them to the next level,” said agency founder Cabell Harris. “They are very good strategic thinkers, but the [supermarket] business has gotten so competitive. I think they realized they needed to be able to out-think their competition.”
Harris conceded that Ukrop’s Supermarkets was not the kind of client he typically would have pursued, based on its size and the fact it is, at best, a regional piece of business.
“We haven’t been focused on being a regional or a local agency and we’re still looking for national brands,” Harris said. “But this one came knocking and is probably the best known brand in the area. It’s also a product we use. There’s a lot of good chemistry between client and agency, and we’re always looking for a good fit.”
Harris, who said that Work Advertising would be involved with smaller projects in the immediate short term, is unsure of when the agency’s first major advertising campaign would break.
“They have been looking at their [advertising] in a very piecemeal way,” Harris told Adweek. “We’ll be talking to them and try to get the big picture down and see how things will go from there.”
Ukrop’s Supermarkets is a family-owned business. According to Hoover’s Online, Ukrop’s 25 stores make it the largest grocery chain in Richmond and give it a 35 percent share of the market. In addition to the supermarket operation, the company operates uniform (Ukrop’s Fresh Express) and apparel (Ukrop’s Dress Express) stores and holds a 51 percent stake in First Market Federal Savings Bank.