Raley’s, Grocery Outlet near opening for business in Truckee; other options emerge amid crisis
Coronavirus notwithstanding, media representatives from both Raley’s and Grocery Outlet anticipate opening locations in Truckee this summer, but officials say no concrete dates have been determined.
For those who follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-in-place executive order, grocery stores symbolize the coronavirus frontline, where 6-foot distance rules are violated in the name of toilet paper — which The Atlantic referred to as “one of the last bastions of normal American life.”
Truckee’s Community Planning Manager Jenna Gatto worked to secure permits for the Raley’s project and said the town has wanted a grocery store located on the east side of town since the late ’90s. Gatto said the effects of the coronavirus highlight the town’s need for a market in that area.
“Certainly public health is part of what planners think about but it’s generally not at the forefront. The idea of having more dispersed grocery stores within Truckee is something we’ve been working on for a number years,” Gatto said.
Raley’s Director of Public Relations and Public Affairs Chelsea Minor said the company continues to adjust its operations to keep the customers and employees safe. With that in mind, Minor said Raley’s is looking forward to becoming a new food resource in the area.
“As an essential business, we are committed to conducting business under the new orders, while also staying on track to open our new store,” she said. “We recognize that the community needs food and essential items now more than ever.”
In spite of the need, the unknowns surrounding coronavirus may leave the Town of Truckee waiting a little while longer.
“We are close but still finalizing a few things before we can announce an official date,” Minor said, noting the target for opening was late June-early July — not June 17, though Gatto referred to that date, and a company spokesperson also mentioned it as the target date to open.
The introduction of Raley’s into Truckee may offset the region’s unemployment.
“We are looking to hire more than 100 team members for the new Truckee store,” Minor said.
Although the date for opening remains tentative, Raley’s will host three job fairs on May 8, May 15 and May 22 at its location in Reno on Robb Drive to staff the new store.
“For those that come for an interview, we require that everyone wears proper face coverings, there will be no shaking hands or physical contact.” Minor said. Once hired, Minor said all hourly team members and leaders will receive a weekly bonus.
LATE JUNE’ OPENING FOR GROCERY OUTLET
Owner-Operators Ryan and Shannon Parrish said Grocery Outlet will also join Truckee’s community this summer, irregardless of the status of coronavirus.
“The Truckee Grocery Outlet exact grand opening date is TDB, but is currently slated to open late June 2020,” said Ryan Parrish.
Parrish said in a statement that although he and his wife were a few months out from opening, they are looking forward to connecting with locals in a tangible way.
“As operators we have the opportunity to make a positive impact by hiring our store staff within the community, partner with local organizations to give back and provide healthy and affordable groceries,” Parrish said.
Until the new stores open, Truckee residents turn already existing grocery stores and other sources for their nutrition needs.
MORE FOOD OPTIONS EMERGE in PANDEMIC
“We have a number of restaurants that have shifted to a quazi-grocery store model where they’re selling meats produce and cheeses,” Gatto said.
Gatto said she picks up her food-filled box at the Truckee airport every week from the Tahoe Food Hub, a nine-year-old grassroots business effort that provides Truckee residents with locally grown and fermented products.
“The silver lining for them is that their business model has exploded. They’re gang busters. They’re building to-go boxes picked up at the airport, bring in regional farms and ranchers and provide a missing link,” she said.
Gatto said Tahoe Food Hub makes her proud of her community because they provide CSA-like boxes for free to locals who have lost their jobs during the most recent pandemic.
“They’re doing weekly boxes that people donate to people in the hospitality industry who lost their jobs” Gatto said.
Gatto said Tahoe Food Hub has helped build food stability into the Truckee area, “in a different way than traditional grocery stores,” working to help restaurants and individuals.
“They’re kind of a poster child for the response to the pandemic,” Gatto said.
Gatto said the business is just one way Truckee will survive a different kind of dry season.
“Truckee’s history, going back to its origin, has always faced booms and busts. It’s burned down a lot,” Gatto said. “Since its inception the community has gone through a number of tough things, we’ve survived the recession and was flourishing up until this point.
“Truckee’s DNA is one of resiliency,” Gatto said.
Rebecca O’Neil is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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