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New Grocery store opens its doors

Travis Jenkins
October 14, 2010

The building that once housed Winn-Dixie is open for business as a grocery store again.
On Thursday, Save-A-Lot officially opened its doors in Chester. On Monday, Steve Antonetti, a Save-A-Lot representative, addressed Chester City Council.

"We're glad to be part of this community," Antonetti said. "Chester is a beautiful place."

Save-A-Lot has 1,200 stores nationwide and is based in St. Louis, Mo. Chon Tomlin, Save-A-Lot's external communications manager, said the store focuses on providing items that customers need without a lot of frills.

"Our concept is that we're an extremely discounted retailer with limited assortment," Tomlin said. "There is no bakery, no seafood and no floral department. We boil it down to the needs of our customers."

Save-A-Lot does stock the normal foods and household items folks expect to find in the grocery store, Tomlin said, including fresh produce and meat. The company buys in bulk to keep prices down, she said. There aren't a lot of competing national brands in the store. Instead of having 10 different varieties and brand names of mustard, there will be two kinds of mustard at the store; yellow and brown. About 85 percent of the items the store stocks are exclusive label products, sold only by Save-A-Lot. Many of the products are actually named after company employees. Not paying for the brand name on the box is another way of saving customers money, Tomlin said.

Save-A-Lot is designed to get customers in and out quickly, according to Tomlin. Items stay in the same place and are grouped in a way that makes them easy to find. Prices don't change either, Tomlin said, meaning shoppers can go in knowing how much their grocery bill will be.

The company has real estate teams look for property in areas where the Save-A-Lot model will work, Tomlin said, which led the store to Chester.

The Chester Save-A-Lot is corporately owned.

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