In just a few weeks, the the doors will open on a new grocery store in an anchor point in the La Quinta Village shopping center, vacant for seven years.
This is a first business venture for the owners, sisters Mayra Ornelas and Ruby Ramirez, who grew up in Hemet and moved to La Quinta cove as construction of the Grocery Outlet began.
The year-long refurbishment and installation of the store is in the final stages and almost all 28 full-time and part-time positions were filled on Thursday. The opening day is set for November 4.
“For the most part, we’re just ready to open,” said Ornelas, standing with his sister outside the store Thursday morning.
Grocery Outlet takes over half of the 41,240-square-foot main building that housed Ralphs until it closed in July 2014.
A tenant for the other half of the building, in the Washington Street Mall at Calle Tampico, has not been announced.
Ornelas started with Grocery Outlet in a store in eastern Hemet seven years ago as a cashier.
“Little by little, I wanted to move into a managerial position,” she said, and she started to move, to work in different departments and in different roles.
Her focus quickly changed to owning a grocery store and she took a managerial position in a store in Rialto to gain more experience.
“I was really ambitious. I wanted to get into starting your own business, which I knew Grocery Outlet offered, ”said Ornelas, 27.
With that, she suggested that her sister might also consider a job at Grocery Outlet.
Ramirez applied and went to work for a store in Beaumont, starting as a cashier and working his way up to the front end.
“Honestly, the first week I started working there I fell in love,” said Ramirez, 22.
La Quinta’s will be one of more than 400 grocery outlets in six states. It will be the newest of five local stores, with stores already open in Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, and Bermuda Dunes.
Create a community link
Each grocery thrift market is run by independent operators who live in the communities served by their stores.
They make their own business decisions, hire and manage their own employees, order most of the store’s merchandise, and make all operating decisions to better meet the needs of their customers.
The stores offer big brands at reduced prices.
“By being connected to the community… we are able to deliver what customers want; what they ask, ”Ramirez said.
Inventory “is constantly changing, so you never know what you’re going to find” besides the commodities, Ornelas and Ramirez said.
“He’s a fun model,” Ornelas said.
Grocery store operators live in the communities they serve and are encouraged by society to give back to local nonprofits and be part of local organizations – a doctrine that Ornelas and Ramirez happily embrace.
Ramirez started working at Beaumont during the holidays and learned early on that it was fun to get involved in the community.
“Being a part of community events and meeting the community was the best,” Ramirez said.
Ornelas and Ramirez have already reached out to various nonprofits, including the Boys and Girls Club, a local animal shelter, and the FIND food bank.
“It was an experience where we both had tears in our eyes because we were receiving (food banks) when we were younger, as first and second generation Americans,” Ornelas said.
Now being able to give back to the community feels good, she says.
“It really is a lesson in humility,” said Ornelas. “It doesn’t take much to give back and it’s really amazing to be a part of it. “
They recently took to social media to introduce themselves to the La Quinta community and advertise career fairs.
They hire 28 full-time and part-time employees. With a few vacancies to fill, they said they expected everyone to be hired and in place by the end of this week.
Many of the applicants are local and live in La Quinta cove, they said.
Fill the gap in a grocery store
When deciding whether or not to open their store in the La Quinta Village shopping center, Ramirez and Ornelas said they spent a lot of time looking at the center, visiting other businesses, and talking to the people at the cove who are familiar with them. indicated they needed a grocery store. shop.
When Ralphs closed, it left a big void for the residents of the creek.
Their recent post on the “La Quinta News” Facebook page, introducing themselves and announcing the store’s opening date, drew 341 “likes” and 100 comments from people who greeted them.
“It’s so positive. I was really inspired by this, ”said Ornelas.
Last year’s announcement of the arrival of Grocery Outlet, coupled with the recent opening of the new Starbucks with drive-thru, helped revive the mall that had struggled to keep tenants since Ralphs closed. .
The Mexican restaurant Los Arcos recently opened. The center also includes Great Clips Hair Salon, Zen 2 Nails, Postal Connection, Discount Pool and Supply, Subway, Soul of China Restaurant, and Mint Cleaners.
Great Clips director Claudia Mejia said the show, which takes appointments and appointments, has seen its activity increase and believes the addition of Grocery Outlet will bring more traffic to the center.
“We’re a busy salon as is, but we’re definitely seeing more foot traffic,” said Mejia, who has worked in the salon for about three years.
“I know a lot of people are excited and keep asking when are they going to open,” she said.
Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the towns of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherryBarkas