Because he lived just a few blocks away from the former Fresh & Easy store on the corner of Verdugo Avenue and Reese Place, Burbank resident Bob Factor used to frequent the grocery retailer before its demise in 2015.
More than a year later, Factor found himself in that same store, this time branded as Grocery Outlet, an Emeryville-based company that opened its 19th store in Southern California on Thursday.
"I kept waiting for something to open here and now we got a discount place," Factor said as he pushed around a cart filled with fresh produce and bread. "I go to Trader Joe's and Smart & Final, but this place is a block away from me, so it's very convenient. Plus, the prices look like they're going to be good."
Dozens of residents flocked on opening day to the new supermarket, which boasts items discounted from 40% to 70%, said Todd Pruitt, owner of the Burbank Grocery Outlet store.
"I have fruit shakes everyday, and the bananas are cheaper here than most places," Factor said.
Pruitt, who has been in the grocery industry for more than 35 years, said that Grocery Outlet is able to sell the items at such a discount because it mainly purchases its products, which are typically excess inventory for suppliers, at a discount. The savings are then passed on to shoppers.
"The company started in 1946, so we've built relationships over the years with major suppliers that come to us because maybe they have items that they're overstocked on," he said. "In turn, we can help them move that product. They trust us as a partner to put their products in a clean, wholesome environment."
Burbank resident Jessica Ferstand said she liked how clean and well organized the new store is and said it reminded her of Smart & Final.
Ferstand said she mostly shops at Ralphs, purely out of convenience. However, she said she had been waiting for a Grocery Outlet to open in Burbank after first learning about it about a month ago.
"I think their prices are pretty good," she said. "There's some stuff that isn't worth it, but you just have to be [conscientious] and be a smart shopper."
Anthony Clark Carpio, firstname.lastname@example.org