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Stater Bros. Debuts First Simi Valley Store


Last updated on August 26th, 2016 at 09:42 am

For decades, Stater Bros. Markets has been trying to make its way to Simi Valley, California. On Wednesday, the grocery chain did as it opened its first Ventura County store at 660 East Los Angeles Avenue. The grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, either, since Stater Bros. officially marked its 80th anniversary on Aug. 17.

“We probably get more (requests) from Simi Valley for a Stater Bros. store than anywhere,” Stater Bros. President and CEO Pete Van Helden told The Shelby Report at the grand opening celebration. “It’s been a challenge to get here, it’s been a long journey. In fact, we went after this site four different times.”

Stater Bros. picked up the store following Haggen’s failure in the Pacific Southwest; it was the only store the San Bernardino-based chain acquired in the Haggen deals.

At 48,000 s.f., the Simi Valley unit is allowing Stater Bros. to “do some new things that we haven’t done before,” according to Van Helden.

In addition to featuring the company’s latest decor package, including flooring, the store boasts all LED lighting.

“It’s very energy efficient,” Van Helden said.

The meat department is merchandised differently than other Stater Bros. stores and it showcases a new smoked meat program, where employees “actually smoke meat in the store and customers take it, ready to go,” Van Helden said.

He added, “We have a very different seafood offering, we have a different sandwich program, a different salad program, we have fresh sushi. Things that we haven’t done before, or very often, are all in place here. If it works, and we think it will, we’ll move it into other stores.”

Stater Bros., which currently operates 169 stores in Southern California, expects to open five more new stores in the next year.

“This was a chance to really test some things and see what works and what doesn’t work and maybe install those things in other new stores,” said Van Helden, adding that Stater Bros. is “always looking” for new sites, including for additional locations in Simi Valley.

“This has been a changing market,” he said. “This town has gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of years with supermarkets and I’m not sure the change is over yet and, depending on how well we’re accepted here, we’re certainly eager to look at other opportunities.”

The Simi Valley store is managed by Micah Russell, who has been with Stater Bros. for more than 18 years.

During the ribbon-cutting festivities on Wednesday, Stater Bros. Charities made $14,000 in donations to local community organizations.

“Stater Bros. was founded by WWII veterans and I am a Navy Veteran myself,” Stater Bros. Executive Chairman Jack H. Brown said in a press release. “Stater Bros. has always believed in not just doing business in the community but being part of the community and we have a long-standing tradition of giving back to the communities we are privileged to serve. In celebration of Stater Bros. 80th anniversary ‘Blue Ribbon’ Simi Valley supermarket, we are pleased to donate to organizations that support causes in the Simi Valley community.”

Donations were made to the Simi Valley Police Department for the PAL/Explorer’s Program; Royal Highland Brigade, who also performed at the ceremony; Simi Valley Public Library, funds will be used to expand and create the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) program; Boys and Girls Club of Simi Valley to support its after-school program; For the Troops to help defray care package shipping costs; Salvation Army Simi Valley Corps for its food pantry; and the Free Clinic of Simi Valley for its dental services.

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