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Bristol Farms CEO: Santa Monica Store ‘Can’t Be Matched’

Bristol's Kevin and Adam

Location opened Wednesday

Bristol Farms is known for being unique, but the Carson, Calif.-based grocery chain may have outdone even itself with its new Santa Monica store, which opened Wednesday in a former Albertsons at 3105 Wilshire Blvd.

Bristol’s President and CEO Kevin Davis told The Shelby Report at the store’s grand opening celebration that the “store really competes with everybody and really can’t be matched by anyone.”


For one, there’s ample parking.

Most of Bristol’s competitors have limited parking, but Bristol’s Wilshire spot provides half a dozen rows of parking and easy access with four driveways.

“This is one of the few locations in all of Santa Monica that has ground-level parking, and there’s 137 parking stalls out here,” Davis said.

Then there’s the actual store and its assortment of food and goods.

While the Santa Monica location averages the same size as Bristol’s other 12 stores, 30,000 s.f., it packs a bigger punch, so to speak. In fact it carries about 5,000 more items than its fellow stores.

Davis explained that a full 70 percent of the 30,000 s.f. in the new location is sales area, or about 21,000 s.f., whereas other stores only utilize about 60 percent of the space, or about 17,000 to 18,000 s.f., as sales space.

“So what we’ve done is we’ve decreased the back room space, expanded the sales area and put the Bristol perimeter around it with all the bells and whistles, like a Starbucks Coffee shop, juice bar, smokehouse, wok station, sushi bar, a cheese cave—everything you would expect from Bristol.”

Bristol has long been known for its variety and quality of perishable items. In Santa Monica, Davis said the company has gone a step further.

Its foodservice area, which Davis calls the “food court,” is the largest Bristol offers. A few of the many features: salad bar, hot food bar, nine-kettle hot soup island, chili bar (Bristol makes fresh 80 different soups and chilis), panini bar and carving station.

“We think this store offers the most ready-to-eat, prepared and grab-and-go hot food of any store we have, in addition to the biggest grocery selection in the middle of the store you’ve ever seen,” Davis said.

The center store is made up of 50 percent natural and organic items to “compete with Whole Foods and Sprouts and other natural food stores,” according to Davis, and 50 percent traditional items to “compete with Ralphs and Vons and traditional grocers.”

Wine, beer, floral departments at Santa Monica store are largest for Bristol

When Bristol remodeled its Newport Beach store recently, it added a bigger wine department—but the Santa Monica store’s wine selection is even larger, Davis told The Shelby Report.

It is floor to ceiling—”library style,” he said.

“It looks like an old-fashioned library with a ladder that rolls along the wall, but the wine and spirits go all the way to the ceiling along a wooden wall…We have refrigerated cases and all the things you’ve come to expect,” he added.

Additionally, the wine department boasts regular specials—10 wines under $10, all the time; and Club 90, in which guests can buy wines rated 90 or more by Wine Spectator for less than $20.

Davis is a fan of Club 90.

“I basically just go in there blindfolded and take one of everything and see which one I like the most and come back and buy a case later,” he said. “It’s really fun to have specials like that, on top of the biggest selection anybody will see anywhere.”

The store’s beer selection, too, is big—with a wide selection of India Pale Ales (IPAs), specialty/independent brews, imports and domestics.

Like its wine and beer sections, Bristol Farms’ Santa Monica store also boasts the company’s largest floral department, and it’s showcased at the front of the store.

“The front of this store is all glass, so you can see through the windows into the floral area, and when you’re in the checkstands, you’re looking at the widest assortment of floral we have at any store,” Davis said. “We think that’s perfect for this area—by the beach and in this community here, in Santa Monica and the Palisades, we have a lot of outdoor gardens and a lot of museums and places where people are used to seeing beautiful flowers.

“We wanted,” he added, “to make them available to them here.”

The Santa Monica Bristol Farms employs 150 people; 130 are transfers from other stores and 20 are new hires from the community.

In the feature photo at top: Kevin Davis, president and CEO of Bristol Farms, and SVP Adam Caldecott, at the grand opening of the new Santa Monica store today. (Find more photos from the grand opening here.)



About the author

Kristen Cloud

Kristen was Editor at The Shelby Report.


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  • I have shopped at Santa Monica Bristol Farms daily since its grand openning. I invite you to review my Yelps. You will notice they are fairly lengthy. I am very proud and privileged to have an opportunity of such wonderful experience and to nurture so many relationships with the amazing team of dedicated employees.

  • There is simply no other market that compares to Bristol in any way- I feel they have enhanced my life. I am lucky to shop there-
    I love the thought of going there- eating something and shopping- seeing the employees I like so much- coming home with the best food- I feel rich all the time – their high quality food and the experience- actually restored my health-
    which was in trouble- I told my doctor I knew what to do – eat good food from Bristol daily- she laughed- guess what- a month later or so – I am so much better- sheer genius in a market

    • Hi Danielle,
      It’s your old friend from Menlo Park! I was going through some old papers and found your business card from Franklyn & Wyatt. If you get this, please get in touch! [email protected]

      Very kind regards,
      Pam K

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