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Gelson's Markets debuted its first-ever San Diego-area store in Del Mar at 2707 Via De La Valle, which is one of three former locations it acquired from the now defunct Haggen, which filed for bankruptcy last year and subsequently imploded.
To introduce itself to new customers, Gelson's presented the first 200 customers with a gift bag valued at $20 on the Jan. 14 grand-opening day while offering a variety of product samples throughout the first week of business.
Rob McDougall, president and CEO of the Encino, Calif.-based regional grocer, was upbeat about the company's San Diego market entry and companion long-term prospects to delight "the community by providing premium-quality merchandise and exceptional customer service, while also re-employing the dedicated workforce that was subject to the Haggen crisis."
For its first San Diego store, Gelson's prioritized a fast re-opening with essential improvements to re-employ existing Haggen associates, some of whom have worked at the location for many years under previous ownership. An extensive remodeling is slated later in 2016.
In the interim, highlights of the store include salad, hot foods and antipasti bars; a carving cart within the service deli; a wellness boutique; and an enhanced juice and cut fruits counter. The store also features upgraded check stands and a customer service desk to facilitate the company's signature service offerings.
Long revered by chefs, celebrities and foodies in Los Angeles and Orange County area, Gelson's is also on track to open its two other San Diego-area stores in Carlsbad in February and Pacific Beach in late March.
Gelson's currently operates 18 full-service grocery stores in Southern California featuring the full amenities of a traditional supermarket with the local flavor of a neighborhood market. Its signature departments include produce, meat and seafood, chef-prepared signature dishes and professionally designed floral arrangements.