Industry observers are keeping an eye on several retailers: many are regional and rapidly expanding, while others are gaining momentum and have proven themselves exceptionally well positioned for growth.
In this Produce Blueprints series, we delve into eight grocery operators experts say are worth watching.
Raley’s Supermarkets BB #:114741, with its slogan, “Nourishing Our Communities,” has been focusing on nutrition and sustainability for years in western states, and these attributes have come to the forefront in its new O-N-E Market concept.
With the June 2022 opening of its Roseville, CA location, there are four O-N-E locations to date, one in Nevada and three in California, with some new stores and others as conversions.
The chain ultimately plans to convert all of its Raley’s locations to O-N-E Markets. The name, an acronym for Organics, Nutrition, and Education, features a curated range of better-for-you natural and organic options, as well as conventional products.
The first O-N-E Market, a 35,000-square-foot store in the health-minded community of Truckee, CA, debuted in 2020 with the idea of helping consumers to think differently about their food and lifestyle choices.
The concept includes a juice bar serving fresh-pressed organic juices, wellness shots, smoothies, and açai bowls, and its in-store wine and beer bar serves guacamole made fresh tableside.
Produce departments include numerous organic and locally sourced products in addition to conventional items. All told, the format includes more than 4,000 products grown or produced in California, along with many items likely never before seen by shoppers, in keeping with a mission to educate.
Raley’s is known for its Raley’s Shelf Guide, which consists of colored tags with nutrition symbols and other sustainability and health information.
When the chain began rearranging its cereal aisle in 2019—moving certain cereals to the bottom shelf with a sign calling out their high sugar content and putting the healthy options at eye level with a sign touting their healthy properties— Phil Lempert, founder of the Supermarket Guru in Santa Monica, CA, says, “The marketers went ballistic—but it’s a strong health message. Raley’s wants to move the needle on health and wellness.”
The company has done the same to almost 10 categories to date. It has also implemented Better-For-You checkouts that eliminate tempting but bad-for-you treats like candy and soda, replacing them with healthier impulse buy options.
The ability to implement industry-leading initiatives like the Shelf Guide is due in part to having control: one person, Mike Teel, owns the vast majority of the company, a unique situation in the industry. This means decisions can be made both quickly and decisively.
Raley’s, founded in 1935 and based in West Sacramento, CA, grew exponentially in 2021, thanks to its acquisition of more than 100 Bashas’ locations in Arizona, New Mexico, and several Tribal Nations lands.
Bashas’ has retained its nameplates and the characteristics that have kept its loyal customer base happy over its 90-year history.
All told, Raley’s has more than 235 stores in four states under its Raley’s, Raley’s O-N-E Market, Bel Air, and Nob Hill Foods banners, as well as the acquired Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and Bashas’ Diné banners.
This is an excerpt from the cover story in the March/April 2023 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole issue.