Biz Beat

Modesto’s new flagship Save Mart is taking shape; hiring for 135 jobs starting soon

The walls are going up and the jobs are coming to what will be Save Mart’s new flagship store in Modesto.

The grocery store will anchor the The Marketplace shopping center at the corner of Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue, which has been under under construction since early 2018. Save Mart Companies CEO Nicole Pesco, whose grandfather was one of the Modesto-based company’s founders, said the store is on track for an early October opening.

The new 54,000-square-foot store will be the company’s flagship, bringing together all of the newest features and testing new concepts. It will replace the 34,000-square-foot existing Save Mart in The Lakes shopping center. That store will be closed when the new site, less than a block away, opens.

“This store is really going to be the best and the brightest from us,” Pesco said. “We want to bring to life an environment they’ll enjoy shopping in. This is a store being built specifically for Modesto. We were able to start from scratch and build exactly as wanted.”

As construction continues, the business of staffing the store has already begun. The new supermarket will have approximately 135 jobs, and Pesco said existing employees from other Save Mart stores are also encouraged to apply for transfers.

The first hiring event is being held this weekend at the Save Mart booth at the North Modesto Kiwanis American Graffiti Festival. The festival and car show continues until 3 p.m. Sunday at the the Muni Golf Course. Other hiring events will be held closer to the opening date, but none have been scheduled yet.

As the Save Mart rises in The Marketplace, other buildings in the complex have already finished major exterior work. They include a 10,000-square-foot building next to the Save Mart, on the southern side of the 18-acre property, as well as a strip of retail pads on the western edge of the complex.

Representatives from property owner and developer Berberian Holdings and commercial real estate company ColSol have not announced what other tenants are coming into The Marketplace yet. And, trust me, I’ve tried to get it out of them because it’s the No. 1 question I get from readers. But “for lease” signs are visible on the completed property, indicating at least some of the space may have been built on spec.

The new Save Mart store is being custom built to showcase the supermarket chain’s new “Fresh & Bright” store redesign. Everything from the chain’s logo (which has switched to a softer font with orange and green colors instead of the bold red lettering before), to remodeling the interiors and adding new programs and in-store features is included in the redesign which was announced last year.

The company, which has 81 Save Marts across northern and central California from Chico to Tehachapi, updated 17 stores last year. Another 20 will be completed this year, Pesco said. This month of June, Save Mart will unveil redesigned stores in Madera, Sonora and Angels Camp.

The company is also expanding its online shopping service ClickCart and has added home delivery through Instacart. The app-based shopping service first launched in Modesto in 2017. The Instacart delivery service launched at the end of May in the greater Modesto, Stockton and Sacramento areas.

By the end of June that will expand to the greater Fresno, Bakersfield and Reno areas. It will expand the service into more areas once Instacart enters those markets. As someone who has used both Instacart and other home delivery services for groceries, I can say definitively that a person can get used to shopping from their couch.

In addition to a new look, expect a different flow and overall environment inside the new store. Pesco said that means making it feel less like a generic grocery store and more of a friendly farmer’s market.

“It’s based on concept of having this really fresh produce market on one side of the store that reflects the agricultural community in the valley and what means to valley customers. We want it to be really vibrant,” she said. “I think what we are seeing is a real sense of people gravitating towards authenticity, what feels local and right for their communities. As part of community here, we felt we could represent that better.”

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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