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Huge crowd of shoppers welcomes opening of Raley's superstore in Galt

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:00 pm

It may have been Jan. 15, but from the crowd for the grand opening of Galt's new Raley's superstore, you would have thought residents were doing their Thanksgiving or Christmas shopping.

"We got here at 20 after 8 (a.m.), and holy cow," said Gordon DeFord, who lives near Carillion Boulevard in the heart of Galt's Northeast area. "We've been looking forward to this."

Shoppers were treated Wednesday to a store filled to the rafters with merchandise and enough free samples to make them think they were at COSTCO.

Alec Martin, 2, shakes hands with the Sacramento River Cats mascot during the grand opening ceremony Tuesday at the new Raley's Supermarket in Galt. (Jerry Tyson/News-Sentinel)

Customers feasted on doughnut holes, croissants, coffee cake, ribs, sweet potato fries, sushi, soy milk, orange juice and Java City coffee.

The 65,200-square-foot store becomes Galt's third grocery store, the others being SaveMart in Galt Plaza Shopping Center on C Street and Galt Supermarket on A Street.

"I always shopped at the Elk Grove or Lodi's Raley's," said Stacey Schwedhelm, who lives near Galt's River Oaks Elementary School.

Now she's glad to have a store so close to her home.

The Galt Raley's has some bells and whistles that most Raley's don't have including:

  • Java City cafe with 10 small tables and a few couches.
  • Ozark Grill, complete with chicken, ribs, tri-tip, pork roast, grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, grilling sauces and salad dressings.
  • Sizzling Wok Chinese food deli.
  • Full-service pharmacy.
  • Full-service Wells Fargo Bank with ATMs.
  • Play care area for children ages 2-8. A trained professional will supervise while parents shop.
  • Event center featuring several scheduled programs by Raley's personnel. It will also be available for public events.

"You need a road map for this place," said Marylou Powers, assistant director of the Galt Community Concilio.

And yes - there are maps of the store for the taking.

"It's bigger than I thought it was going to be," Schwedhelm said.

The public can even reserve the store's meeting room for their own events by completing a form on the store's Web site.

"We want (the event center) to become a community center for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, service clubs," said Bill Coyne, Raley's president and chief operating officer.

Dignitaries from Galt and the Raley's Supermarket chain gathered on Twin Cities Road for the ribbon cutting of the new Galt store. From left are Galt Vice Mayor Randy Shelton, Raley's Store Director Ron Konkel, Raley's owner and Co-Chairwoman Joyce Raley-Teel, President and Chief Operational Officer Bill Coyne, Galt Mayor Darryl Clare and Galt Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Danni Van Lone. (Jerry Tyson/News-Sentinel)

Not only was the store crammed with shoppers, there were dignitaries galore, including several executives from Raley's West Sacramento-based corporate offices, developer Mike Guttridge and shopping center developer Lux Taylor, Galt Mayor Darryl Clare and Vice Mayor Randy Shelton, virtually every department head at Galt City Hall, Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, of Galt, former Republican Assemblyman Anthony Pescetti, Galt Police Chief Doug Matthews - decked out in full uniform - and several representatives from the Galt District Chamber of Commerce.

The most unusual "creature" at the grand opening was Dinger, the mascot of the Sacramento RiverCats Triple-A baseball team.

"That's a big kitty cat," a mother said to her young daughter shortly before Dinger posed for pictures with children in front of the seafood counter.

Because Galt High School students were in finals this week, Raley's invited the Sheldon High School band from South Sacramento to entertain outside the front door.

Wednesday's grand opening even brought out residents from nearby Herald.

"This is lower Herald," quipped Larry Craig, one of Herald's more active residents.

The Galt Raley's has 145 employees, more than half of whom live in the Galt area.

In addition to traditional grocery shopping, customers will be able to get a free 10-minute massage, have their body fat tested, sample soy food, learn how to read nutrition labels and even gather information from a registered dietitian.

Raley's is the third store to open at Galt Village Shopping Center. Blockbuster Video opened in December, and Dollar Tree opened Saturday.

Other stores coming to Galt Village include Togo's, Baskin-Robbins, Lamppost Pizza and Happy Garden Chinese Food.

Comments about this story? Send mail to the News-Sentinel newsroom.


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