http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/09/02/grocery-shopping-gets-even-better


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - September 2, 2011

Grocery shopping gets even better

Grocery shopping for those home-cooked meals this Labor Day weekend couldn't get much better in Pleasanton where nine supermarkets are vying for customers and more are coming. Safeway will open its new Lifestyle supermarket Nov. 17 at Bernal and Valley avenues, next to I-680 and across from the Fairgrounds, adding another store to the Safeway market at Santa Rita Road and Valley. Wal-Mart is seeking a Pleasanton city permit to open one of its new "Neighborhood Market" grocery stores in the vacant 33,000-square-foot supermarket space once occupied by Nob Hill. This week, Santa Cruz-based New Leaf Community Market announced it plans to open its first East Bay store in the long-empty old Romley's supermarket in the Vintage Hills shopping center.

These will add to the stores both well established and new as the grocery business becomes very competitive in Pleasanton.

Besides the two Safeways, here's what shoppers can also find:

Lucky -- Located on West Las Positas and Hopyard roads, this Lucky was renamed when Albertson's bought it, and then became Lucky again when purchased by Save Mart Supermarkets of Modesto, which found the name better liked by customers.

Raley's - -With an extensive makeover just completed, Raley's now features an "e-cart" shopping service, four self-checkout stands, an expanded and updated pharmacy and a Peet's Coffee & Tea.

Fresh & Easy -- This is a 10,000-square-foot British owned market in the Rosewood Pavilion, part of a rapidly expanding group of stores being added in the U.S. by Tesco.

Gene's Fine Foods -- This local independent market opened at Hopyard Road and Valley Avenue in the 1990s, where an Alpha Beta grocery store was formerly located. It is owned and operated by the Giomi family, which also has a location in Saratoga.

Trader Joe's -- Shoppers of Trader Joe's enjoy the quaint "corner market" feel of the grocery store. And similar to Gene's, customers who frequent the store, located at Santa Rita Road and Pimlico Avenue, can satisfy their appetite for imported cheeses, organic produce and other specialty products, but in a downsized setting.

Cole's Market -- For a nostalgic experience, downtown residents forgo the supermarket experience and instead frequent Cole's Market in the vintage Pleasanton Plaza shopping center on First Street.

99 Ranch Market -- This Asian American supermarket is one of Pleasanton's newest and by far its most ethnic, offering Asian food with a wide variety of fresh fish as its specialty. Located in the Rose Pavilion at Santa Rita Road and Rosewood Drive, it is one of 28 similar stores owned by Asian American supermarket chain Tawa, based in Southern California.

Smart & Final -- Located in the Pleasanton Square Shopping Center, across from In-N-Out Burger's fast food restaurant , Smart & Final is part of a 248-store chain headquartered in Los Angeles. Although it looks much like a typical supermarket, Smart & Final promotes itself as having the prices and bulk-purchase advantages of the big box membership stores, but with smaller, often single-product-focused inventory.

Only Whole Foods and Kroger have yet to open stores here. At one time, Whole Foods, which has a market in San Ramon, had signed on as an anchor tenant in an open-air shopping center planned across from Hacienda Crossings in Dublin, but that deal fell apart. Kroger, which owns Ralph's Supermarkets and is a dominant grocer in the eastern U.S., so far has not expanded further into California.

Enjoy these shopping opportunities for a great Labor Day weekend.

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