Grocery Outlet's future home at the Cascade Shopping Center in White City. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]

Grocery Outlet coming to White City

Discount chain Grocery Outlet is gearing up to open in the former Shop Smart location at Cascade Shopping Center in early November.

Grocery Outlet, based in Emeryville, California, has been on a growth binge in recent years and operates about 280 stores in Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Owner-operators Paul Gray, 29, and Kyle Walker, 25, will provide full-scale grocery operations to the community for the first time since Shop Smart was shuttered four years ago when C&K Market went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The duo trained seven months at the Grocery Outlet store in Roseville, California, in preparation for the new venture.

Gray was previously a manager for Holiday Market, an independent grocer in Cottonwood, California, while Walker managed the Safeway deli in Anderson, California.

This week they've been interviewing dozens of prospective employees, while construction crews have been remodeling the 21,000-square-foot store.

"The turnout was better than we expected," Gray said. "The community really came out, it was really positive. Everyone was excited about having a new grocery option."

Gray expects to begin stocking the shelves the third week of October.

"We've gutted and reframed the building," he said. "Essentially the entire inside has been rebuilt. It will look brand new when we're done."

The tentative opening date is Thursday, Nov. 2.

Grocery Outlet has heavily invested in Southern California, Gray said, especially in the Los Angeles and San Diego markets. At the same time, the company has back-filled in Oregon and Washington.

"There are smaller markets where they see potential," Gray said.

The company, which surpassed $1 billion in sales in 2011, has been operating in the Medford area for nearly 40 years, the past 22 on Stewart Avenue. More recently, Grocery Outlet has added stores in Grants Pass and Klamath Falls.

Grocery Outlet's longtime model is to purchase closeouts and discontinued lines.

"We partner with brands to clean up their inventory," Gray said. "It's a specific niche."

It's a niche that allows the chain to mark down products 40 to 70 percent below traditional chains.

"We've certainly found a spot where we can be successful," he said.

The store will operate 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter at, and on Facebook at

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