Raley's Michael Schutt Discusses New Store and Format
SACRAMENTO, CA - Those of you who thought you knew Raley’s will have some surprises in store when you step into the chain’s latest Sacramento, California location–a glimpse into a fresh-focused future, Produce Merchant Michael Schutt tells me.
“As you can see,” Michael says as we walk through the doors into a completely new generation of Raley’s, “we want to bring much more of our focus to the fresh departments in the store, where consumers really focus.”
What he is speaking to is immediately apparent.
Colorful mounds of produce–watermelons, citrus, even fresh, growing mushrooms–surround a classic-style truck bed sporting local grower George Perry & Sons Inc.
“With this new direction, we really want to place a heavy emphasis on local relationships. We have more than 200 organic items available and many more natural items, including meat alternative options, in the produce department,” Michael explains.
Wood panels with hand-written labels decorate the store, while everything is arranged in a new and unique format that allows a lot of items to be stocked into a space that still feels open.
Aisles wrap around each other as opposed to lining up in uniform, with inventory descending in a way that shoppers can easily get all they needed, with local providers showcased at every stop.
“This co-op feel and our focus on both fresh on local, this is the direction we are headed with all our new stores,” Michael says as we discuss the fact that Raley’s has restarted its growth trajectory.
With a number of new stores already in the works, and the blueprints of what I saw in the layout that officially cut the ribbon on April 12th, I can’t wait to see where this new direction takes not only Raley's, but the standard for retail fresh produce departments.