Albertsons turning into Save Mart: Three Carson City stores will reopen under new name by middle of next week
CARSON CITY — Albertsons shoppers can start cutting up their preferred savings cards and key tags now.
The three local Albertsons locations are part of a February transaction in which the grocery chain agreed to sell 132 of its Northern California and Northern Nevada stores to Save Mart Supermarkets.
Save Mart, a Modesto, Calif.-based chain that more than doubled its size after the acquisition, has spent the last week giving local stores sign changes and price reductions in anticipation of “re-opening.”
Save Mart is a privately held corporation which also has S-MART, FoodMaxx and Lucky stores under its 254-store, 23,000-employee umbrella.
The transaction ends Albertsons presence in most of Northern Nevada.
“We have never participated in a savings card program,” said Alicia Rockwell, spokeswoman for Save Mart. “That’s why we’re being so visual about what pricing says. When people walk into the stores they’re going to see instant savings on the same items.”
Those who still want to shop at Albertsons can drive to Winnemucca — the single store in Northern Nevada not included in the transaction.
In Carson on Wednesday, Save Mart executives were on hand to cut the ribbon on the Highway 50 store. The North Carson store will re-open Friday. The South Carson location will be shut down Monday and Tuesday, to re-open Wednesday.
“It was important for our top people that they attend every (re-opening),” Rockwell said.
Carson Albertsons shoppers had mixed feelings about the Save Mart brand Wednesday.
Jim Brant, who frequents the Highway 50 store because, “it’s on the way to the golf course” said he was “a little confused” by his first Save Mart experience.
“I found everything eventually,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad.”
Minden resident Jean Andrews was nonplused Wednesday when she heard her “favorite store” was going to undergo changes.
“I really like Albertsons produce. It always seemed a little higher-end,” she said.
“The people are friendly. I like Albertsons.”
The commitment to quality produce will carry on, Save Mart spokeswoman Rockwell said.
“We actually have always put our reputation on produce,” she said. “We originated in the Central Valley and have exclusive relationships with Central Valley growers to ensure the highest-quality produce.”
Service will also be a priority for the chain. Beginning with the signature “three’s a crowd” system, which opens up a new checkout every time a line grows more than three long.
Save Mart plans to retain Albertsons’ 13,000 employees affected by the transaction, including those in Northern Nevada.
“I know the higher-ups say that every time there’s a change like this, it’s a good thing,” said Albany, Ore., resident Anne Adams, a patron of the North Carson store during extended family visits to the area. “But I don’t know if that’s always the case.”
“From everything I’ve heard they’re going to maintain their employee (base), and continue the same good tradition of providing a wide variety of groceries,” said Joe McCarthy, manager of the Carson City office of business development.