As the holidays come to a close, Davis residents can look forward to the opening of a new grocery store.
Westlake IGA Market is a community-focused store expecting to open Jan. 15 at the Westlake Plaza Shopping Center in West Davis. The market will sell local products to financially stimulate the community and reduce the environmental impact from long-distance transportation.
“As far as competition goes, at 12,000 items, I believe that we can cater to most needs for the community,” said DeLano Retail Partners President Dennis DeLano in a Nov. 2009 interview with Davis Advocates for Neighborhood Groceries (DANG). “Let’s face it – changing shopping habits is very hard to do, so we’re relying on convenience as much as anything, plus customer service and selection. For those times when you don’t want to fight the traffic [at some other area stores] we’re going to be there for you, and we’re gong to have everything that we think you want.”
With other stores located in San Francisco and Fairfax, each market offers five percent discounts to senior citizens on Tuesdays and Saturdays, as well as five percent discounts to police officers and firefighters daily. UCD students can expect to receive an “Everyday 5 Percent Discount” on all purchases, including sale items. Students can also use Aggie Cash, which allows students to put money on their registration cards to spend at various local and on-campus locations, toward groceries or takeout food in the store.
“The DeLanos are very much aware of the student population,” said Eric Nelson, consultant for Westlake IGA Market. “The store is striving to provide items that are fast, but good in the merchandise mix and that are popular to the students. Westlake Market is great if you live on this side of Highway 113 and you want to avoid the hassle of getting into your car, biking to Safeway or going to the Co-Op. It is all about time, convenience and the environmental issue.”
The size of the market is only 12,000 square feet, but owner Harley DeLano believes that the small space will force fast product turnover, keeping food fresh. Basing their supply on customer requests, the market will offer popular brand names and is considering introducing their own store brand, as well. Customers also have the opportunity to shop the deli or bakery section, sushi venue or take-out options. Due to a high demand for locally-produced foods and high-quality meat and fish, the store will contain over 50 organic food products distributed from local cultivators.
Seeking to be environmentally friendly, Westlake has bright tiles on the floor to reduce the store’s need for excess lighting. The market also installed a state-of-the-art refrigeration system that is 20 to 50 percent more efficient than those used by other stores.
DeLano said in his DANG interview that the store has created a reusable plastic bag to help people transport their groceries in a less environmentally-damaging way.
“We talked about paper bags versus plastic bags. And, frankly, we really don’t know what is the right thing for the environment,” said DeLano.
“We’re introducing a new bag that we have put in a few of our other stores to see how the community reacts to it. It’s been recycled once, and it can be recycled again.”
The Davis City Council approved the opening of Westlake IGA Market in July of last year, but the 10-year lease was not finalized until late August. With the building vacant since 2006, DANG has tried to bring a nearby grocery outlet to the 11,000 Davis residents on the west side of Highway 113.
“Depending on the demographics of the neighborhood, they aren’t a cookie cutter operation,” said Nelson. “They are very community oriented with an outreach program that works with the schools, and it is important for kids to know where good food comes from.”
Westlake Market’s opening was delayed due to trouble securing a liquor permit from the State Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC). One third of the total offenses committed in Davis in the last year have occurred in the store’s district, so the ABC is deciding whether it will grant the permit or not.
Deemed a higher than normal crime area, the City Planning Commission will now hold a public hearing Jan. 6 to decide if the store can obtain a liquor permit. Nelson believes the store will not have any problems getting approval from the city.
“This is not an area fraught with a significant amount of crime of the nature generally associated with liquor licensees,” said Davis Police Chief Landy Black to the Davis Vanguard.
As for plans for the grand opening, DeLano commented that he plans to start things slowly to make sure items are priced to scale and that business runs smoothly. The store is looking into possibly providing a wine-tasting or concert in the parking lot to encourage shoppers to come and visit the new market.
SAMANTHA BOSIO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.