- Raley’s opened its flagship store Wednesday in the Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento, California according to a press release. The company says the store provides a more modern shopping experience that is focused on health and wellness.
- The 55,000-square-foot store emphasizes prepared food items including fresh juices, smoothies, sushi, sandwiches, and hearth-baked pizza. The store also has a meat-carving station. But due to the novel coronavirus, its self-serve stations are temporarily unavailable. The store also carries a variety of coffee and tea from Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, a Sacramento-based coffee company that has a partnership with Raley’s.
- Raley's existing Land Park store will remain open until all inventory is sold, giving shoppers access to two area stores during the pandemic. All eCart pickup orders and pharmacy prescriptions have been transferred to the new location.
Flagship stores are known for featuring unique services and innovations, but those experiences aren't top-of-mind right now for customers looking to move quickly through stores.
Thankfully for Raley's, its newest store emphasizes healthy prepared foods, which could be key to its success during the pandemic. With restaurants throughout California and the rest of the U.S. now closed, shoppers are turning to supermarkets for quick meals as well as meal ingredients.
More and more of those meal and grocery orders are happening online, and Raley’s says its new store can process more orders than its other Land Park location, with up to 250 orders going out for pickup and delivery each day. The flagship also has covered, pull-through parking spots for pickup customers that are in close proximity to where it stores online grocery orders, cutting down on wait times.
An advantage of opening a new store during the pandemic is the immediate exposure the store will get. Since many grocers are sold out of products and Raley’s new store will be freshly stocked, many customers will likely visit the store sooner than they would have otherwise.
Competing grocers have curbed their store growth during the pandemic as they focus on adjusting their existing operations. One exception is Sprouts, which is moving forward with plans to open three stores this month, including one in Jacksonville, Florida, and another in June. The retailer postponed its grand opening events, which were to have included promotions and sales, but said it is proceeded with the openings because shoppers need options for grocery stores right now.
Other grocers have also played up prepared foods during the pandemic. Earlier this month, H-E-B started offering carry-out meals from local restaurants and Hy-Vee began offering a variety of take-and-bake and hot prepared foods for curbside pickup.