The Shelby Report’s Bob Reeves was on hand when Ralphs Grocery Co. hosted the grand reopening of its remodeled store at 1730 Manchester Avenue in South Los Angeles on May 26.
The renovation of the 45,000-s.f. store included expanded and upgraded produce, meat, seafood, bakery and deli departments. The store now carries more varieties of fresh, organic and natural meats, produce and seafood, Ralphs says.
“Our remodeled Western & Manchester store has an even greater focus on health and wellness with a large assortment of natural and organic offerings,” said Ralphs President Valerie Jabbar in a press release announcing the store. “We designed this store with the neighborhood it serves in mind—offering specialized design features, an outstanding selection of fresh food options, personalized customer service and great prices.”
Ralphs, a division of The Kroger Co., had been called out earlier this year on social media for allowing the store to fall into disrepair.
In regards to the Ralph's on Manchester and Western in South LA…. Nasty!!
Posted by CiCi Lynne on Monday, January 9, 2017
Kendra Doyel, VP of public relations and government affairs for Ralphs, spoke to those gathered for the ribbon cutting about the fact that the remodel was long-awaited.
“As the community knows and we all know, this is a store we are thrilled to be at this day. It’s been a long time coming, but we are very honored and thrilled to have this a part of this very important and vibrant Los Angeles community,” she said. “Our store today is one of the finest supermarkets I would dare say not just in the Ralphs fleet but in all of Los Angeles. It’s beautiful inside and an experience that is one that makes you want to come back time and time again.”
Doyel said Ralphs invested $5.4 million in the store.
“It’s been completely renovated with a lot of community input and the community in mind,” she said. “When you walk inside, you see very beautiful farm-fresh and organic produce; a fully staffed meat and seafood department; service deli/bakery; amazing floral department; and our natural foods section. Also very popular inside is our in-store Starbucks café and our Money Shop, which features a variety of different financial services.”
The Western & Manchester store is Ralphs’ second location that is totally illuminated by LED, which the chain says provides for superior lighting and reduced energy consumption. Other “green” technologies were incorporated into the store to improve energy efficiencies.
In addition to the physical plant, Doyel lauded the “insides” of the store as well.
“What truly makes it Ralphs are our amazing associates—every day keeping the amazing spirit here within the community,” she said. “I am thrilled to tell you we have 90 talented and friendly associates inside, ready to take care of this community every single day. And with this remodel it brought 20 brand-new jobs to the community who were hired right here from this very community. We are honored to welcome those folks into the Ralphs family and to help to serve your family every single day.”
The store is managed by Ray Sum, who began his career at Ralphs in 1982 as a part-time -courtesy clerk and cart gatherer. He has managed the Western & Manchester Ralphs since 2012. The store itself has been serving the community for 60-plus years.
After the crowd loudly applauded Sum, Doyel noted that “Ray is clearly a beloved member of not only the company but the community. He’s a 35-year Ralphs associate; he started when he was four,” she joked.
Sum said at the opening: “I am so excited to be up here this morning. I see so many familiar faces in the crowd that I just want to thank the community for allowing me to serve the community day in and day out. This is such an uplifting experience for me. So rewarding. And I am just really thankful for all this.
“I am committed to giving the community fresh products and friendly service day in and day out. That is our only goal here at this location. Thank you, and I’m looking forward to serving you guys inside.”
In introducing Brent Page, chairman of the Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council, Doyel said, “It truly has taken a village to get us to this point. (Page) and his team…have been an amazing group to partner and work with. We can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done.”
Page said, “On behalf of the council, I just want to say we’re very excited to have this renovation. Thanks to Miss (Ann) Jackson, for all your efforts…I remember sitting in the block club meeting for West Park Terrace last July and we were looking at the renderings for this store. (It was great) working with you, Kendra, to make sure this came to fruition. Such a great feeling.”
Each year, Ralphs contributes more than $6 million to support education, hunger relief, women’s health and local nonprofits in the communities it serves, Doyel noted, adding that Ralphs shoppers can donate to a favorite nonprofit each time they shop through the Community Rewards program.