Garrettsville -Garfield Plaza at the west end of Garrettsville has been a quiet place since the Giant Eagle grocery store closed November 29, 2008. But that’s about to change. Alliance Foods out of Coldwater Michigan has contracted with owners Richard and Karen Wanders to lease the vacant grocery store space and open a Save-A-Lot Food Store. Save-A-Lot Food Stores bring discount groceries to neighborhoods across the US. The Garrettsville location will be joining a family of more than 1,300 Save-a-Lot stores nationwide in urban, suburban and rural areas.
According to Mayor Rick Patrick, construction should start soon for the new store. He also said that Richard and Karen Wanders, the owners of the retail space have plans to remodel the façade of the building and repair the parking lot. Mayor Patrick said that the target opening date is the beginning of December of this year.
Loren Doty, Director of Retail Operations for Alliance Foods said that a December 1, 2012 opening date had been discussed, but that there were too many variables to confirm that date at this time. Alliance Foods is a food retailing organization owning and operating extreme-value food stores under license from Save-A-Lot, Ltd.
Long-time residents will remember a time when Garrettsville supported three different grocery stores: Nolan’s Golden Dawn was located at the front of Garfield Plaza where Advanced Auto now sits. Value King, which in the mid 1990’s became Giant Eagle, in the back of Garfield Plaza, and the IGA, now known as Sky Plaza IGA on the east end of town. All three offered variety and the healthy competition benefitted the community, drawing shoppers from neighboring areas.
Richard Everett of Garrettsville Hardware says filling the vacant space next to his store may be a very positive thing for his family business. He hopes the increased traffic will equate to more shoppers for the hardware store as well. Everett also spoke of plans to paint the front façade and entrance of the hardware store and update the inside displays.
Hiram Resident Lori Hurd said she had no idea a Save-A-Lot was coming into town. “It will be really nice to have another option [for grocery shopping].”
Local resident Kim Burrows said, “I do shop at Save-A-Lot!” She went on to say, “I think it will be an awesome addition to the community, possibly some competition to bring down prices. Yes, I will be shopping there!”
Patricia Magyarics, a Mantua resident, said that since the Giant Eagle closed she has avoided shopping for groceries in Garrettsville, however this may change with the coming of the new store. “I do use some [of the] businesses in Garrettsville. I love the hardware, use the library, the bookstore and have breakfast with my widowed friend at Millers a couple times a month. I will probably [grocery] shop there when I am in town and need something.”
Save-A-Lot advertises an “up to 40% price savings” over conventional supermarkets. Their use of a limited assortment selection and store brands pass saving directly to consumers. Though the stores generally offer strictly private label product, Save-A-Lot does offer national brands from time to time, including Coca-Cola, Little Debbie, Banquet Foods, Chef Boyardee, Pringles, Oscar Mayer and others.
Founded in 1977 by Bill Moran as an alternative to larger supermarkets, the Save-A-Lot philosophy is to “help their customers to live richer, fuller lives by saving them money and time”. Alliance Foods, which owns the store coming to Garrettsville, also owns and operates Save-A-Lot Food Stores in Michigan, Indiana, and other parts of Ohio including the store in Middlefield. The company values its shoppers by operating stores that are “Full, Fresh, Clean, Bright, and Quick.”
Resident Vicky Paul stated, “Absolutely, I [will] shop there! I do a lot of business at the IGA, however, the prices could be more competitive. Now, they will have to be.”
Hiram Resident Pam Auble said she would certainly try a new grocery store. “I really love to have good, fresh produce that I can count on, which is why I drive to Aurora sometimes. I also like to find good prices, which is why I go to Marc’s at other times. But, I also want to support our local grocers, which is why I go to IGA. I would try to do the same for a new Save-A-Lot.”