Grocery Outlet plans to open at least 25 new stores in 2018. The discount supermarket company is focusing growth on its already existing markets—which include California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Pennsylvania—with a predominant focus on Los Angeles, where 14 of the 25 new stores will be located.
“We're fairly new to that market,” says Layla Kasha, VP of marketing for Berkeley, Calif.-based Grocery Outlet. “We started [in Los Angeles] in 2015, so we're working hard to build a stronger presence there. We’re looking forward to being able to say at the end of the year that we have close to 40 stores in L.A., and 75 in Southern California. That's a big step for us.”
Neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area have been struggling with the lack of supermarkets and affordable fresh food for years. As of 2015, South Los Angeles had 46 full-service grocery stores, equivalent to just 0.57 stores per every 10,000 people, according to an article by LA Weekly citing U.S Census County Business Patterns data.
With a unique business model that emphasizes community values, Grocery Outlet enlists local entrepreneurs to operate stores within their own neighborhoods to build their businesses and select consigned merchandise from Grocery Outlet’s inventory guides that is relevant to the communities they serve.
“Each one of our stores is independently owned and operated locally in that market,” says Kasha. “We’re not another big company that’s just stomping out a bunch of stores ... We are really a partner in the community on every level.”
Grocery Outlet stores provide name-brand grocery items and fresh produce at up to 40-70% off conventional grocery store prices, such as its NOSH (natural, organic, specialty and healthy) products, which include brands such as Annie’s Homegrown, Amy’s Kitchen and Kind snacks, officials said. The company aims to serve communities that are hard struck for quality, wholesome products at bargain prices.
“It doesn’t really matter where you fall on the socioeconomic scale,” says Kasha. “I think after the 2008 recession, everybody was impacted at some level, and everyone changed the way they shopped. Everybody wants to get a good deal.”