LOS ANGELES — After opening the first SmartCo Foods store in Denver late last month, Smart & Final Co. here said last week it plans to open single units of the new banner in California and Arizona before the end of the year.
“We believe this concept is very strong, and when opportunities present themselves in those states, we will look for good fits,” Randall Oliver, the company's spokesman, told SN.
Asked about results at the first store, which opened June 23, he said, “We've had very high customer counts, and those continue, and we look forward to being a player in that market for years to come.”
SmartCo is a hybrid format that combines features of a supermarket, a warehouse store and a farmers' market, Oliver said — incorporating aspects of the company's expanded Smart & Final Extra stores; a broader perishables selection from the Henry's format it operates; a large bulk-bin food section; full-service delis and scratch bakeries at some locations; meat cutters on-site; and expanded offerings of vitamins and supplements.
The first SmartCo is a 57,000-square-foot store, with four more stores in the Denver area scheduled to open over the next four weeks, one per week, beginning Wednesday. Those stores — all former Albertsons units that have been closed for some time — will range from 44,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet.
Oliver declined to say where in California and Arizona the next SmartCos will be. He said they would be in new or acquired locations rather than retrofitted existing stores since the company's largest stores are 40,000 square feet, with a chainwide average of 20,000 square feet.
Smart & Final operates 290 stores, including 195 Smart & Final warehouse stores in California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico; 53 Cash & Carry stores in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho; 41 Henry's and Sun Harvest farmers' market-style stores in California and Texas; and the single SmartCo.