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The New and Improved RalphsAmidst a live music band and an outside grill, the supermarket giant debuts a new and improved kind of super-store based on customer input.
By Yussuf J. SimmondsSentinel Managing Editor
Last Friday morning at seven o'clock, the Ralphs Supermarket Chain opened a new store as the first-of-a-kind 'Ralphs Signature Store.' Standing in line for the grand opening were about 1500 shoppers and the first 200 received free bags of groceries. "The new concept was the result of a 22,000 survey from residents within the shopping area," said Kendra M. Doyel, the group vice president of marketing, in keeping with the company's commitment to meet the shopping needs of the diverse community.
In addition to the new array of products and billed as the 'New and Improved Ralphs', Doyel also said, "these efforts was the result of a three-month $4-million-renovation project." According to a statement from Ralphs, included in the newly re-opened supermarket are innovative retail features, customer-friendly service and lower prices, plus the debut of a unique format named Ralphs Signature. It is also billed as a true neighborhood market.
"The wide selection, diverse offerings and special services at our Midtown Ralphs are the result of input we received from our customers," said Mike Donnelly, president of Ralphs Supermarkets. "Our new Ralphs Signature Store is unique to the neighborhood it services."
During a tour of the store, guests are shown several different categories and assortments of ethnic foods and products including African American, Asian, Hispanic and Kosher items - there's something for everyone. Then there's the deli department, the bakery, an ice cream shop and a fresh fruit section where fruits are flown in from Central and South America in keeping with the tastes of the diverse neighborhood surrounding the supermarket's location.
It also appears that food is not the only items on the agenda; there is also maximum utilization of the latest green technology designed to improve energy efficiency in the store's operations. In addition, Ralphs' members have been trained to follow a waste reduction and recycling program for all paper and plastic packing that the store receives; and it encourages customers to reduce waste by offering affordable reusable shopping bags.
The store director, Angel Herrera, also chimed in stating, "I'm excited to show off our newly remodeled Signature Store. We've been working very hard the past several months to get the store ready for our customers. Now that the remodeling is complete, we are eager to serve the needs of our shoppers. It is our goal to be the very best supermarket in the area."
In celebration of the grand opening, Ralphs has also stated that it is donating $130,000 to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, and the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Foundation. Finally, the company boasts that it contributed more than $8 million last year to support education, hunger relief, women's health and local non-profit organizations in the communities it services.