LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Although company executives would not confirm it, SN has learned through an industry observer that the newest ethnic merchandising package of Los Angeles-based Ralphs Grocery Co. can be found at 3210 E. Anaheim St. here, in a store that serves Hispanic, Cambodian and Vietnamese customers.
According to SN's source, as Ralphs remodels stores, this will be the set.
When asked by SN if the new Long Beach store represents a new model, Kroger spokesman Gary Rhodes said, "This is not something we can comment about."
Ralphs, a division of Kroger, Cincinnati, has occupied this location in the Belmont shopping center for 40 years but the entire center was recently rebuilt, including the "new" supermarket.
Grand-opening sales were still taking place when SN dropped in on June 15. The 58,000-square-foot store gives an immediate bright appearance due to dozens of skylights. The Hispanic influence dominates, with a 48-foot double aisle of products up front by the bakery and deli. A frozen case in the same area had burritos and stir-frys by brands like Chef's Choice, El Monterey, Excelline taquitos and chicken flautas, right next to State Fair, Jennie-O, Foster Farms, Tyson and the Kroger brand. The regular frozens aisle was farther back in the store.
Aisles 10 and 11 contain refried beans, enchilada sauce, canned chillies, tortillas and promotional goods. In the middle of the aisle were big displays of large cans of Mexican-style hominy from Juanita's Foods, $1.89 for 105 ounces, Salsa Picante Valentina for 99 cents, and Goya Nectars, guava flavor, 33 cents a can.
Aisle 10 had salsa, Hispanic spices, religious candles and tortillas. Among the deals on the 48-foot aisle: Pico Pica Real Mexican Style Menudo, 99 cents for 29.5 ounces.
Hispanic bulk candy from Casa de Dulce was selling at $1.99 a pound.
The 17-foot Asian section began with a big endcap of Botan Calrose Rice, in 20-pound bags with Chinese language labeling, priced at $3.99. Merchandised along with it was Buena Comida Chicken Bouillon, $1.79. Additional ethnic foods were in Aisle 23, with Italian products on one side, beans and rice, Asian food and canned meat on the other. More Hispanic spices were there too, from Tadin Herb & Tea Co., located in nearby Commerce, Calif. One-gallon sized cans of soy sauce lined the bottom shelf. Other smaller soy-sauce bottles, cans of water chestnuts, chow mein noodles, bean threads, Maifun rice sticks, Lee Kum Kee rice vermicelli, Golden Dragon egg noodles, and canned and dried-packaged sauce mixes from 7 Lotus and Thai Kitchen were present. Also, spotted by SN: Kikkoman and Sun Bird dried soups, sweet and sour sauces, plum sauce, hoisin sauce and others by Weichuan and Sun Luck.