Save Mart rings up new territory

RIVERBANK — Modesto-based Save Mart is moving into a new neighborhood with the opening of a 57,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art supermarket here today.

The store in the Crossroads at Riverbank shopping center will employ 140. It will have such features as a kiosk for cooking demonstrations, meat and seafood counters, full bakery and deli, and pharmacy.

Company officials noted that the store was built with energy-saving features, including extensive use of skylights to maximize natural lighting.

"The energy bill is about half as much as in a regular store," said Ray Agah, Save Mart's vice president of engineering.

He said the store will use chilled water, not Freon, for refrigeration units, and use heat from compressors to keep the store warm and to heat water.

Such features, he said, would earn the store about $50,000 in onetime rebates from the California Energy Commission.

Alicia Rockwell, a spokeswoman for Save Mart, said Riverbank's store will have single-serving desserts, expanded natural and organic food selections, a large wine section, and a vending machine for DVD rentals.

Customers can use the Internet to place DVD movie orders that they pick up from the machine, Rockwell said.

Save Mart's Riverbank store is the second full-service grocery store in the city. O'Brien's Market opened a store in Riverbank in 1992.

The new Save Mart is expected to draw from not only Riverbank but also Escalon, Oakdale and northeastern Modesto.

Save Mart officials have announced plans to close a store near Briggsmore Avenue and Oakdale Road later this month. Officials said they expected sales to drop there after the Riverbank store opened.

The new store's opening today will be marked with comments from top Save Mart executives.

There will be a grand opening Saturday with a variety of activities, including a story time for children from 10 to 10:30 a.m., and appearances by Oakland Raiders Raiderette cheerleaders from noon to 2 p.m.

Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer can be reached at or 578-2331.