Spring Valley and Casa de Oro residents will soon have a new place to buy discounted groceries when the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, at 9805 Campo Road, opens its doors for a Grand Opening on Saturday, Feb. 23.
The store held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night with store owners Mark and Sherry Vargas hosting an evening of food and giveaways. Accompanying the Vargases were friends and family, store employees and other members of the Spring Valley Chamber of Commerce and business community.
The Vargases recently moved to Spring Valley after living in Galt, about 20 miles south of Sacramento. They said they are excited to begin serving the community, which Sherry said has “small-town feel in the big city.”
This is the first time the family has owned a grocery store, though Sherry has worked in the industry for the last 10 years, as a store director for Raley’s Supermarkets. Mark worked in Healthcare management for the past 21 years and was part of the Emergency Management, Life Safety, Environment of Care and the Critical Incident Response Team.
He also served as director of procurement for the local food bank in Galt.
Two of the Vargas’s three children will also work at the store, with son Rudy serving as a merchandise clerk, and daughter Julia will work as the front end manager. Mark said that Rudy, 17, will attend Grossmont High School.
Grocery Outlet calls itself the largest “extreme value” grocer in the United States. The Casa de Oro location is the 189th store to open in the country, and the fifth in the San Diego area, including East Village, Oceanside, National City and Point Loma (which also opened just last week).
The company is an institution among bargain shoppers, with stores offering as much as 40 percent to 70 percent off conventional retailers by specializing in opportunistic sourcing.
They buy discounted close-outs of excess inventories from national brand-name manufacturers and private-labels, passing the savings onto their customers.
Sherry described the shopping experience at Grocery Outlet like a “treasure hunt.”
“We won’t have the same products every day,” she said. “We might have ketchup one day and then the next day no ketchup, but some other product that’s highly discounted.”
The Vargas’ Family has a passion for the military as well, and will offer active and retired military discounts of $3 off for every $35 spent. Mark said his father and brother were both in the Army, his oldest daughter is in the Navy, his son-in-law is in the Army, and his son Rudy will join the Army next year.
The family has also already become involved in the Spring Valley community, joining the chamber, and partnering with St. Vincent de Paul Village to donate a pallet of food to needy families.
For the Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, the store is planning lots of freebies and giveaways.
Starting at 7 a.m. there will be free coffee and treat and the first 500 customers will get a free Eco-Frugal reusable shopping bag. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. customers will be able to “spin and win” on the Wheel of Bargains, and can play Magic Cart (essentially like “Bingo” – aisle 8, cart 7, you win) with winners every 15 minutes.
There will also be free face painting, and $1 hot dog and drink deals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tina Carlson, executive director of the Spring Valley Chamber, said the grocery store is part of a mini-revitalization of business along Campo Road.
In the past two weeks, a new Auto Zone retail store opened in the building adjacent to Starbucks on Campo Road.
Additionally, Carlson said the Starbucks will be relocating about 100 yards down the road into a larger facility at 9809 Campo Road, where Casa de Oro Café was located before closing two years ago. The new Starbucks will include a drive-thru.