storewanderer wrote: ↑April 14th, 2021, 11:34 pm
The only canned fruit I see is 11oz Mandarin Oranges for 0.79 on sale regularly 0.89 (Wal Mart is .88 for that but also has a 15oz for .98 so I guess you could say they are cheaper). The other store brand canned fruits are 1.29 (those are 1.12 at Wal Mart). I see the fuji, gala, braeburn, and golden delicious apples at 0.98/lb (Wal Mart mostly at 1.28/lb) but it does not specify what size- if those are small apples that is a typical price. Not real clear on the romaine hearts comparing what they have to other stores since it does not show a brand or anything but it is 2.69 here for the 3 count (Wal Mart at 3.10). They don't sell any cake slices here to my knowledge unless there is some defrost and sell item not on the website.
Maybe their prices look competitive there in SoCal compared to a Vons or Ralphs but they are not competitive in Nevada and I don't think they'd be competitive to a Food 4 Less or WinCo in SoCal either on any of these items, or to various hispanic operators on the produce. Maybe I'd have a different opinion about their prices if my only choices were Vons, Ralphs, or Smart & Final. But adding in the various options I have to the mix here around Reno- Safeway (with a price cut program that is very good), Smiths, Raleys even (runs promos like .97/lb honeycrisp or Opal apples multiple times so far this year), WinCo, Wal Mart, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Scolaris (had Honeycrisp .99/lb last week, has Cosmic Crisp .99/lb this week), and others I'm forgetting- this store's pricing is no draw and add to it an unsafe parking lot and lousy service due to not enough staffing in the store and it is just a completely undesirable place to shop. But the store does well so obviously some people like it (the nearby competitor Save Mart isn't great... but I'd find a way to like Save Mart better if I had to pick between the two).
But - I did shop their Smart Foodservice most weeks back when they owned that... there were some items there at prices I found acceptable. Mostly different supply chain from Smart & Final there, definitely higher quality items. So despite my dislike for Smart & Final in general I did give them quite a bit of business at the Smart Foodservice unit.
In the late 2000s, S&F developed its "SmartCo" concept, which was a full-service traditional grocery store that emphasized / featured an expanded produce selection, as well as bulk goods. The goal was to appeal toward individuals AND local businesses. They built several prototype locations in the Denver area; at launch, they heavily discussed how much lower their pricing was vs. King Soopers and Safeway. Additional porotype's opened, including one near me in Lake Forest.
Allegedly, these were intended to be show pieces for S&F to attract investor funds; S&F was rumored to be interested in acquiring in select Albertsons territories from both SuperValu and Cerberus. But the SmartCo concept failed miserably and the Denver locations closed within months. The bakery/deli in Lake Forest was quickly converted into a central kitchen/commissary of sorts for other local S&F, which began carrying house made products.
Even before the Albertsons-Vons merger was announced, S&F had acquired a few closed Ralphs/Vons/Albertsons (and even outbid Ralphs on renewal of one store), in attempts to reboot the SmartCo. concept under the S&F Extra! banner. As I've written on here many times, they did indeed offer quality produce and better pricing than its peers. But it failed to market this well.
While we don't discuss S&F much on these forums, I've noticed that they've closed several stores (mostly ex-Vons/Albertsons) in the past few years. You're correct -- with tremendous competition and new ownership that raised prices while lowering perishable quality, there's little reason to shop at S&F today. But in the past, they were definitely an underrated option.