PHOENIX -- Southwest Supermarkets here said last week it will open its first three stores in southern California about Aug. 1.
Calif. -- David Green, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told SN.
Green, who was named president and CEO in January, added the title of chairman this month. That title had been vacated earlier this year when Jim Pack took a position with Kohlberg & Co., the New York-based investment firm that owns Southwest.
Southwest operates 38 stores catering primarily to Hispanic consumers. It has 35 stores in Arizona and three in El Paso, Texas.
Green said the company is seeking additional locations in southern California -- close to the three stores -- that will open later this summer, "and we eventually hope to move into the San Diego area."
Besides the three California stores, Green said Southwest plans to open a new store in Douglas, Ariz., in late August.
New stores -- all of which have been vacated by other operators -- will average 30,000 square feet, Green said, compared with Southwest's current average of 22,500 square feet, and will include an expanded emphasis on Hispanic products, a farmer's market-style produce department and full-service meat, seafood, cheese and hot-foods sections.
Green said the company has completed remodeling two of its older stores, which included expanding the produce and bakery sections and installing full-service meat, seafood, cheese and hot foods, plus a new decor package, "in a more focused effort to serve the needs of the Hispanic community."
He said the two remodels will become the impetus for an aggressive modernization program that will encompass 10 more stores this year and the balance of 23 Arizona stores in 1998, at a cost of about $250,000 per store.