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The US States Where You Won't Find A Single Kroger

woman shopping in Kroger
woman shopping in Kroger - Brandon Bell/Getty Images

For many people throughout the US, Kroger is the place to snag must-have grocery staples, home goods, and other items. The store, which was first called the Great Western Tea Company at the time of its founding in 1883, has established a presence in 35 states, including California, North Carolina, and Florida. Despite its popularity throughout the country, there are plenty of states without any Kroger locations.

Shoppers living in Vermont, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, Hawaii, and Connecticut must look elsewhere when it comes to groceries, as no Kroger stores exist in these states. For people living in North Dakota, Albertsons is likely to be their preferred grocery store, while shoppers in Iowa may hit up their local Hy-Vee when their pantries run low on essentials. As for why certain states lack Kroger locations, that's a difficult question to answer.

Read more: The Best Grocery Store In Every State

Why Aren't There Kroger Stores In Every State?

Kroger storefront daytime
Kroger storefront daytime - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

Grocery stores must make strategic decisions when it comes to expansion to ensure operational costs don't outweigh profits. That was the case in North Carolina, which Kroger vacated due to the chain's inability to secure a foothold in the region. Kroger first appeared in the state in 1989 and officially closed its locations in 2018 after a lack of expansion made maintaining a presence in North Carolina untenable.

Other factors can also play a role in the locations of specific stores, including Kroger. For instance, Kroger stores could be found in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania prior to 1984. However, a dispute involving labor rights led to a strike, which then resulted in the company leaving the state. These days, Giant Eagle (which once ranked among America's worst supermarkets) is the preferred grocery store for residents of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, and the chain's solid standing in the region has much to do with Kroger's decision to leave.

What's Next For Kroger?

Kroger shopper carrying bags
Kroger shopper carrying bags - Bloomberg/Getty Images

While Kroger has not been able to establish locations in every state, the chain is still experiencing lots of success. The grocery brand has been making strides towards digitizing operations, including making Kroger's popular circular flyers available digitally. The store is also eyeing AI technology to assist with things like product personalization and enhanced search features on Kroger websites. Kroger is in line with other establishments in this regard, such as Wegmans and its AI-powered shopping carts.

The chain also has big things in store in Texas thanks to a forthcoming superstore (in the vein of Walmart Supercenters). The so-called Marketplace location will feature an expansive footprint of approximately 124,000 square feet. The new store will also offer more products, including appliances and apparel. While a lack of Kroger locations may be disappointing to some consumers, the chain is making the most of its operational constraints to provide great service to its dedicated customers.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.