Dawn Harrell is the owner and operator of the new 17,000-square-foot Grocery Outlet at 550 Tres Pinos Rd. that will be opening in Hollister on June 23. She said there are 250 Grocery Outlets, all of which are independently owned and operated. Harrell and her husband now own three, including the newest store in Hollister. When it opens, 40 people will have new jobs. Six others, mostly management, will come from the couple’s other stores.
“There will be all kinds of things going on,” Harrell said. “Starting Thursday (June 23) there will be giveaways. We’re giving away a barbeque, a bunch of gift bags, and you can win gift cards. Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. there will be a free lunch. Saturday (the 25th) is the big grand opening with even more giveaways. We’ll be open every day 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.”
“My husband and I have been with Grocery Outlet about nine years,” she said. “We own the stores in Salinas and Watsonville. I’m originally from Oregon, and we now live in Prunedale, so we’re kind of in the middle of the three stores.”
The stores deal in overstocked items, many from Costco and Walmart, on which Harrell said consumers who shop at Grocery Outlet can save from 40 percent to 60 percent compared to Safeway, just across the street.
Harrell indicated that consumers who have not been in a Grocery Outlet in a number of years may have some misconceptions about the quality of the products the stores have to offer. She said Grocery Outlet is not a “dented can warehouse.”
“People who are familiar with Grocery Outlet know what we used to be,” she said. “Twenty years ago, we didn’t have fresh produce, we didn’t have fresh meats. We were kind of a close-out, canned food store. We’re very different now.”
Fresh produce and meats come in five days a week, Harrell said, noting that the store will not sell past-date products, though there may be some “close-dated items” that she described as being, “insane bargains,” at pennies-on-the-dollar for items that families can use right away.
Harrell said she and her husband had been looking to open a store in Hollister for some time.
“There’s definitely a need in Hollister for a lower-priced grocery store,” she said. “We were eyeing this location in 2010, but Goodwill decided to extend their lease five more years. We spend a lot of time over here and everybody is just so nice. I can’t believe how welcoming everyone has been.”
Harrell said Hollister government officials had been incredibly helpful as the store has prepared to open.
“I can’t believe how easy it was to get a business license, to get our health permit,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of other Grocery Outlet operators struggle with cities in getting permits. Hollister has been above and beyond in helping us through construction and everything else.”
She said Grocery Outlet can provide up to 60 percent savings of other stores in town by taking advantage of overstocked items.
“There are a million different reasons why companies close products out,” Harrell said. “I had no idea until I worked here. When large retailers like Costco or Walmart cancel an order it’s got to go someplace. A lot of times when I get my Costco coupons in the mail, I know it’s about six weeks out and we’re going to get all of this stuff. And we always sell it cheaper than Costco.”
She said shoppers can expect to see, “bargains on brand names,” and there will not be a lot of low-end products.
“We’re not like Dollar Store,” Harrell said. “We deal in brand names.”
The jobs are mostly entry level, beginning at $10 an hour, but doesn’t expect much turn-over, except for part-time high school students who will move on to college or other jobs once they graduate.
For more information, check out the Hollister Grocery Outlet Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HollisterGroceryOutlet/.
For more information about the company: https://groceryoutlet.com/our-company.