By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Chris and Gay Holbrook are transplants from Salt Lake City who came to Southern California to be near grandchildren, and to look for some kind of new careers.
They found one in Grocery Outlet, and they’ll be the owner-operators of the Grocery Outlet at the old Albertsons at Waring and Zion. That building has been empty since Albertsons closed its doors two and a half years ago, leaving local residents without a nearby grocery store to shop at — and leaving an opening for someone to cash in on an open market.
Chris says it was an easy decision to make, but one that took a lot more work than they’d anticipated.
“Once we’d applied and been selected as candidates, we had to move to Los Angeles for more than seven months of very thorough training in how to operate such a store. Grocery Outlet had several possible openings, and we were very lucky to get this one, because the kids and grandkids are here. We now live less than half a mile from the store location, so that worked out even better.”
According to Grocery Outlet’s website, the company invests a lot into their independent operators and provides them “with the potential to earn significantly more than a typical store manager at a grocery chain, while sparing them from the millions of investment dollars it would take to build or refurbish a retail location and purchase inventory for their own store.”
Grocery Outlet, which is headquartered in Berkeley, California, is a little different from standard grocery operations. You’ll find a complete selection of every kind of food you’d want, but it might not be the precise brand you’re used to finding. You might be used to, say, Best Foods mayonnaise, while, for this quarter at least, Grocery Outlet might be carrying Hellmann’s. In the next quarter of the year, Best Foods might be back.
“Grocery Outlet stocks its stores by being huge in the market of surplus inventory that can be bought from others and immediately made available to its store owners. We get it cheap, so we can offer much lower prices than you’d find at other area markets,” said Holbrook.
They’ll offer at least as many options as the other stores do. Fresh produce, meat, deli, dairy, packaged foods and everything else you could ask for. Some of the brands might not be familiar, but the quality will be just as good as the well-known name brands.
The Holbrooks think you’ll be agreeably surprised by the store once you see it in operation. It’s not a corner niche somewhere — this is a big store, if not quite as big as the old Albertsons was.
That’s because the building will be shared by another operation — a smaller Dollar Tree store is being built inside the northern part of the overall structure. Dollar Tree is apparently not so far along as Grocery Outlet. It appears they may be several more weeks away from opening. It’s almost impossible to get hold of anyone at the Virginia-based Dollar Tree, so we don’t know what the progress is there.
The Holbrooks don’t know much about it either, but they think it’ll probably work out.
Chris and Gay hope there’ll be a big crowd for the Grocery Outlet grand opening on Thursday morning, Aug. 3.
They think the people will like what they see.
—Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.