Kroger goes big for UofL in major expansion

A brand new look and a UofL theme for the renovated and expanded Kroger store at Central Station shopping center at the corner of Central Avenue and Third Street.

A far cry from the days when one considered himself lucky to find a University of Louisville shirt at Bacon’s.  

Bird tracks lead shoppers to the Card Wear section.

A new shopping mecca was recently unveiled for fans and students in South Louisville, across from Jim Patterson Stadium. Not totally new, but it’s a major renovation of the Kroger store which features UofL themes throughout the entire facility.

Shoppers are greeted by the Cardinal theme lights in the parking lot at the Central Station Shopping Center. They are greeted by a “Welcome to Kroger In The Ville” at the front door, and an inviting red and black decor throughout the store.

The store reopened a week ago following a one-year $14 million renovation that expanded from 76,000 square feet to 96,000 square feet. A place any Cardinal fan would be proud of, and it features all of the grocery chain’s latest marketing concepts, including a Starbucks, an Eli’s Barbecue, a Wine and Spirits Shoppe, and a scan-as-you-shop system.

Visitors can follow the bird tracks to get to the Card Wear section, which included a wide array of Cardinal merchandise from shirts to accessories. The restaurant, the bakery, the delicatessen were all distinctively marked with UofL signage. The lights at the checkout counter, the staff and even the trash cans are all wrapped in school pride. 

A fun destination, a don’t miss attraction for University of Louisville fans. Should be on the must-see list for prospective students and athletes. A win-win for Kroger and the community.

Missouri may get off the dime

The University of Missouri appears about ready to shed the shackles of inertia, indecisiveness and resistance to change that brought the forces of conference realignment to a crawl for a couple of weeks.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times  reports that the UM Board of Curators will likely approve an application to join the Southeastern Conference later this week. If they do follow through, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they didn’t, the Big 12 Conference would be down to nine members.

Louisville is said to be first in line, but that depends heavily on how prone Brigham Young is to emulating Notre Dame’s bigger-than-thou hubris at any given point in time. They’re negotiating, they’re not negotiating, the talks have gone awry, they’re close to an agreement. Can’t anyone make a clear-cut decision these days?

The BYU concern goes away if the Big 12 decides to get back to 12 members. But then there’s that indecisiveness again, Texas wants 10, Texas is okay with 12. Texas wants this, Texas wants that. You know how it goes. The way conference realignment has gone thus far, don’t be surprised if BYU goes first.

That would leave Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati to pick from if the conference goes to 12.

The UC fan base embarrassed itself last weekend. A team with a 4-1 record only able to attract 40,000 people to a game with an arch-rival in a 65,000-seat stadium. Homecoming. Beautiful fall weather. Between 5,000 and 10,000 of those fans from Louisville. Don’t think someone from the Big 12 didn’t notice.

Pitino not so anonymous

No one says a word.

Everyone at the University of Louisville is mum, tight-lipped, non-verbal, incommunicado on the issue of UofL’s chances of getting into the Big 12 Conference expansion/realignment.

Everyone has been sworn to silence. Even if they don’t know anything, which they don’t.

Everyone that is except Rick Pitino who has become everyone’s nightmare, the proverbial loose cannon. Out there by himself, crusading for the preservation of the Big East.

On a day when the Big 12 appeared to be near reaching consensus, we get word that T. Boone Pickens is still not through tinkering with the process.

And Rick Pitino is still out there, turning out still another blog in defense of the Big East.

We suspect Pitino is using his good friend, Andy Katz at ESPN, to broadcast his message nationally, creating doubt, planting seeds of disunity, seeking to derail the process. In his latest blog Katz reports:

BYU, TCU and Louisville have all been mentioned as possibilities to join the Big 12. But Louisville, a source told, is interested in keeping Big East together with service academies to fill void left by Pitt and Syracuse, who are heading to the ACC. 

We also suspect that Katz wrote his piece primarily to provide a platform in support of Pitino’s position because it certainly didn’t contain any news.

You may win the battle, Rick, but you’ll lose the war. You’re on the wrong side of this issue.