Raley’s is using a remodel of its Bel Air Market in Folsom, Calif., to test new foodservice concepts, including an in-store coffee shop under a partnership with Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters.
Just before the weekend, Raley’s held a soft launch of the new Chocolate Fish café and foodservice department to give customers an opportunity to sample the new offerings. The West Sacramento, Calif.-based grocer said its partnership with the coffee vendor is exclusive to Bel Air in Folsom and the first of its kind.
“As of right now, the partnership is limited to one store. But as we test and learn, we will explore more opportunities,” Raley’s spokeswoman Chelsea Minor said in an email.
Launched in 2008, Sacramento-based Chocolate Fish operates three other retail locations, all in its hometown. The café at Bel Air features trained baristas and state-of-the-art equipment and reflects the design style of Chocolate Fish’s other shops, with the coffee roasted to the vendor’s standards of sweetness and fruit acidity, the companies said.
“We are excited to bring Chocolate Fish coffee to Raley’s customers,” Edie and Andrew Baker, owners of Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, said in a statement. “We have been looking for a partner who shares our same commitment to quality products and community. We believe this partnership will enhance our brand and bring more specialty coffee to Sacramento.”
Raley’s noted that the redesigned café, with seating for about 60 to 70 people, will serve as a “hub for foodservice exploration.” New prepared items at the Bel Air store, located at 2760 East Bidwell St., include a made-to-order pizza bar, Sambazon acai bowls, fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, and what the retailer called “a modern take on traditional hot wok” offering fusion bowls, ramen bowls and Mongolian-style options made fresh to order.
Shoppers also will find expanded “behind the glass” offerings, such as a sandwich shop, sushi, a hot bar and a salad bar, Minor said, adding that these are standard features at new or remodeled Raley’s stores.
In addition, a new community room seating up to 20 people includes a conference table and video screen.
“Our busy customers are always on the hunt for time saving meal options, so this investment in our food service department is really an investment in them and their in-store experience,” according to Levi Wingo, executive director of store operations for Raley’s. “The remodel gives us the ability to better meet our customers’ needs by providing them with quick, convenient, unique, and delicious offerings.”
The opening of the new café and foodservice area mark the completion of the first phase of the Folsom Bel Air’s remodel. For the second phase, Raley’s plans to repurpose the space previously used for a pharmacy.
“We will offer a new service for our Something Extra loyalty members, where they will have access to use a kids’ play area and gym space,” Minor said. “We see this as a central place for neighbors to get together, take a yoga class or enjoy coffee while their kids play.”
Overall, Raley’s operates 129 stores in California and Nevada under the banners Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods, Food Source and Market 5-ONE-5.