With many people still struggling with the economy, finding new ways to stretch the budget is a challenge but with more businesses, such as the new Grocery Outlet grand opening Saturday, Aug. 4, that challenge is met with plenty of choices.
Carl and Kathy LaForce, owners of the new Grocery Outlet in the Oakdale Shopping Center, are excited to become part of the community as well as an integral tool in the fight against inflation and higher cost of living. Grocery Outlet got its start in 1946 as a deep-discount store when the late Jim Read began purchasing military surplus back in the 1940s and sold it at huge discounts.
Typically, the items available for purchase are 40 to 70 percent less than what can be found in most supermarkets; however, the inventory is not dented can, expired merchandise and that’s a distinction the LaForce duo would like to stress to new shoppers.
“This is name brand, quality products made affordable for everyone. The customer can feed their family honestly,” Carl LaForce said.
Kathy agreed, saying, “There are no expired products on our shelves.”
Calling their inventory ‘opportunistic buys’ the LaForce husband-wife team celebrate the ‘treasure hunt’ aspect of their merchandise.
“If you see something you like, buy it. Don’t wait — it might not be there tomorrow,” Kathy said.
Grocery Outlet is a third-generation family run business, recognized as the nation’s largest grocery extreme-value retailer. Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Grocery Outlet currently encompasses 150-plus independently operated stores in six Western states. Grocery Outlets are located in cities large and small and serve all kinds of neighborhoods.
Most stores are independently operated by locally-based families and it’s a competitive bidding process to actually earn the right to operate a Grocery Outlet store.
The LaForce duo spent a year in the corporate training program before they were ready to submit a business plan for consideration. With 35 years in the grocery business behind Carl and nearly the same amount in nutrition supplements for Kathy, the two had dreamed of owning their own grocery store for years. They traveled to five different grocery outlet future sites but the minute they saw the Oakdale site, they were smitten.
“We wanted a more rural, country community because we wanted a place where we could plant our feet. As soon as we landed here, I knew this was where we wanted to be. It feels like home,” Kathy said.
When they received the call that their business plan had beaten out the competition, they both broke down and cried tears of joy.
Construction started on the building that had formerly housed a furniture store and the wheels started turning.
They looked at 1,000 applications and hired 38 people, 95 percent of which are local. “We saw so many great applicants.
We were very fortunate to have such a competent pool to draw from.”
Six weeks later, the building — which had been nearly gutted — was transformed into the shining, clean, and ready for customers shopping outlet that customers will see at the grand opening, Saturday, Aug. 4.
“We kept the roof and four walls, everything else is brand new,” Carl said.
There will be 250 varieties of wine available, fresh produce, organic and fresh produce, gluten-free products, and much more.
The grand opening on Saturday will feature a day filled with fun activities and opportunities to win prizes. There will be free reusable bags given to the first 500 customers; free coffee and treats; free spin and win games; free face painting; $1 hot dogs that will benefit the local Boy Scout Troop No. 42; and Magic Cart Bingo with a winner every 30 minutes.
The fun starts at 8 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m.
The Grocery Outlet is at 808 N. Yosemite Ave.
For more information, call 214-649-4929 or email at Oakdale@groceryoutlet.com.