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2010: Getting ready for the Grand Opening

Grocery store manager makes final preparations for West Davis store opening on Jan. 15

2010: Getting ready for the Grand Opening

Westlake IGA Market Store Manager Denice Harrington

DAVIS, Calif. – Jan. 6, 2010 – During a break in the frenetic final preparations for the Jan. 15 opening of the Westlake IGA Market in West Davis, Store Manager Denice Harrington, daughter of grocery chain patriarch Harley DeLano, gave local residents a store tour and answered questions about what the community can expect from its newest neighborhood grocer.




Davis Advocates for Neighborhood Groceries: How are the preparations for opening going?

Denice Harrington: Well, we’re still setting dry groceries, as you can see. Once that’s taken place, and it’s going to take place very quickly now, this place is going to look different every time you see it, every day, up until opening. We’re just now starting to place orders for perishables – meat, produce, deli. We’re going to start our department managers in the next day or two. One of them is already here today. They will be setting up the perishable departments. We don’t want to bring in perishable product until just a few days before we open. We have a plan in place, and the people in place, to take it from the truck to the shelf just before we open. We want everything to be as fresh as possible. That’s the plan, and so far we’re on track. We’re going to have a lot more people here putting that plan into action in the next few days.


DANG: How is the hiring going? With the nation and California struggling to climb out of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, it’s great to see a business that is actually creating good-paying jobs locally.

DH: We’ve hired 38 employees so far, and we’re still taking applications. Unfortunately, we lost one person before we got to open due to scheduling restrictions. But we’ve hired some really nice people. We went through the interview process twice with everyone – three times in some cases. Our entire family met every employee before they were hired.Orientation will be held on Monday morning.  Cashier training will begin right afterward. We’ve got different training for different departments going on throughout the week, right up until we open.


DANG: Your enthusiasm about this endeavor really shows through. Are you excited to be part of a new store opening?

DH:  I can’t wait for it to open. I’m really excited. Just before I moved here I worked for a company in Alabama that opened a store in Huntsville, and we did the exact same thing. We gutted the existing building and then started over from the ground up, with all new merchandise and new employees. So I’ve been through this before and that’s why when my family undertook this project I said, ‘Oh, I really want to be in there.’ It really is exciting.


DANG: It’s amazing to look around and see all these thousands of items. How do you make sense of it all, and figure out what to carry and where, and how much?

DH: Before we put the products in here, we analyzed a lot of data to determine what the best sellers were in our own categories, and nationally, and we’re going to start there. We will tweak it as we go along. I’m sure there are going to be people who are going to request this or that, and if there is any way I can get it, I will. We are here for this neighborhood, and if they have to go all the way down the street to get one thing that we don’t carry, that wouldn’t be good.


DANG: We understand that you have moved your family nearby and have visited the other stores in town. How will the Westlake IGA Market be different than the existing stores in Davis?

DH: We will set ourselves apart with customer service. That is huge with me. Huge! Because we are so small, it’s not going to be hard to find things. And even if it were, I’m going to have somebody standing here to take you right to it. If you need something that we don’t have, I’m going to make every effort to get it in here. Again, I don’t want someone to have to go down the street for one product. We’re really going to try to pamper our customers.


DANG: The excitement in the community really seems to be building as we get closer to the store opening. What is your perspective on the community response to the new store?

DH: I’ve been working at the store for a week and a half now, and there are at least 10 or 15 people every day who come up to the window and push their nose up against it, and I’ll just go up there, open it up and say, ‘Do you want to take a look?’ I know the people are excited about it. I’m getting to know my customers already, and letting them know what we’re about, and what our plans are. They all say they’ll be here, so I can’t wait for Opening Day, I really can’t.


DANG: One of those future shoppers is Adrienne Snyder, a local resident who stopped by this morning to check out the store. One of her chief concerns was the size of the store – would it carry everything she needs. It is approximately half the size of the previous grocery store at this location. How do you respond?

DH: That’s why I say we’ll try to carry what you want. It’s not each and every thing that I’m going to be able to get my hands on, but I’m sure going to try, and if I don’t know where to get it, I know who to call to find out. Although it looks like a small grocery store, we have a lot of variety.


ADRIENNE SNYDER: I’m so impressed with what you have done with the space. It looks like a full-sized store.

DH: It does. It has all the items you need, plus extras. I can walk these aisles and find everything I would shop for in a much larger grocery store, so we’re happy.


DANG: Denice, is there anything else you would like to add?

DH: Just that I look forward to being your grocer. I come from a small town, and this is a good size for a grocery store to serve this neighborhood. We’re not going to have a lot of space left empty, or looking sparse. Things will come through the back door and on to the shelf, and be fresh always. 


DANG (to Adrienne Snyder): You live in the neighborhood and have had a chance to walk around the store today with Denice. You are one of the potential shoppers Westlake IGA Market hopes to attract. What are your impressions?

ADRIENNE SNYDER: I’m very impressed. I’m really impressed with how much they have been able to get in here, and it looks like they have the space to carry everything that you need in a standard grocery store. This will always be the place we come first for our needs. And only if there is something special that we can’t get here will we go to another store. This is where we intend to do all of our shopping.




Westlake IGA Market by the numbers:


Total store square footage:                                11,500 (approx.)

Employees expected at opening:                        About 40

Items the store will carry:                                  12,000 to 13,000


This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.