LOS ANGELES — Smart & Final Co.  here said it plans to enter the Denver market this summer with five locations featuring a hybrid format that combines aspects of its Smart & Final Extra and Henry's stores.
The company plans to operate the Denver stores under a new banner - SmartCo Foods — with a regional office staffed with mostly local personnel, Randall Oliver, the company's director of corporate communications, told SN.
The five SmartCo units will be located in units previously owned by Albertsons LLC , Boise, Idaho, though all have been closed for some period of time. The stores, ranging in size from 40,000 square feet to 61,000 square feet, will be the largest operated by Smart & Final, whose stores generally run from 17,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet.
"We saw an opportunity in the Denver market that made it look like attractive to us," Oliver explained. It is also a market in which the Smart & Final name is not known, "so there were basically no preconceptions about us," he added.
Oliver declined to comment on whether Smart & Final has plans to expand in the region beyond the five stores. Stores openings will be staggered, beginning in late June and continuing through late July or early August, he said.
The openings will be marked by a major advertising campaign that is still in the planning stages, he added. Besides shipping merchandise to the stores through its regular distribution network, the company also plans to utilize more local suppliers at its SmartCo stores, Oliver said, "to provide added freshness and to meet local tastes."
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