Hundreds welcome new store at grand opening

District Sales Manager Karen Stark, left, and Owner/Operators Kari and Shawn Maloney welcome each and every new customer into the store Thursday morning.

YUCCA VALLEY — “I’ve been here since 2 o’clock,” said Richard Menzie. He was the first person in a very long line of people waiting for the opening of the new Grocery Outlet Thursday morning. He was referring to 2 p.m. the previous afternoon.

Menzie was hoping to win one of the gift-certificate prizes on offer to the first customers of the Yucca Valley shop. “I’m hoping to win the $100-per-month prize. It’s every month for a year so it’s worth $1,200 total,” he said.

The next person in line wanted to be known only as Rachel. “I’ve been here since 5 p.m. It was a neat experience talking to other people,” she said.

Joyce Milstead was No. 3 in line. “I got here at 5:30. I saw my friend Richard, so I stopped too.”

Behind her, Delores Johnson was excited. “I’ve been watching this store since they started building it. I’m excited to see the ribbon being cut,” she said. “I’m more motivated to be living in Yucca Valley now they’re rebuilding it.”

Gail Wenzel was one of the few who had already been inside the store. “I was on the tour. It’s so beautiful inside and the deals are awesome,” she said. “It’s exactly what this community needed.”

Owner-operators Shawn and Kari Maloney were on hand to welcome the community at Thursday’s grand opening. “We’re extremely happy to be in the community and we appreciate all the well wishes we’ve received,” said Kari. The pair have moved to the area to open the new store. “We are originally from Wisconsin, but moved here from Hawaii,” she said.

The store’s district sales manager, Karen Stark, explained that the 34 new jobs created by the opening are almost all full-time positions with just a couple of part-time people. She did the honors of opening the festivities with a shout into a microphone, “Welcome Yucca Valley!” Stark went on to explain to the crowd that the first 200 guests would receive gift cards valued between $5 and $200.

Mayor Robert Lombardo welcomed the store’s new owners. “We are excited to welcome the new Grocery Outlet to our community. We’re glad they see the potential of our town and we thank them for being willing to take the risk of opening a new business,” he said. “The 34 new jobs are a great addition and mean a better life for those people in our community.”

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Drozd also made an appearance. “I think it’s a great asset for Yucca Valley. Especially being near the senior apartments,” he said. “It’s nice that this building didn’t sit empty for long. They did a great job. It’s never been more beautiful.”

During the opening festivities, Kari Maloney presented a giant check in the amount of $1,500 to The Way Station founder and director Steve Cook and assistant director Dennis Potter. The Way Station ministry provides food giveaways daily in Joshua Tree.

Patti Brown of the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce said a few words of welcome. “The prices are nothing short of bliss. Thank you so much for choosing Yucca Valley.”

The new store employees were then asked to stand behind the owners for the actual ribbon cutting, done by Shawn Maloney. Then the Maloneys, Stark and the rest of the staff took their places inside the entrance to cheer and welcome all the people who had been so patiently waiting to shop. Each person upon entering the store was handed a gift card.

The big $1,200 prize mentioned by Menzie was a raffle. The winning name will be drawn Aug. 15.

(5) comments


Including the address would make this something other than a pointless promotional feel good piece. I assume you would like to encourage patronage. Tell us where it is.


Close but no cigar. I walked into this place expecting some kind of reincarnation of Food For Less but instead found out that Vons and the 99 cent store had a baby and named it Grocery Outlet. I know Avocados are high right now, but $2 a piece is ridiculous. $4 strawberries are no bargain either. Everyone sells $2 potatoes too. Most of the prices were much higher than Wal-Mart's grocery. I was surprised that no real deals were catching my eye. A lot of the brands of items were unknown, off-the-wall ones. No fresh meat department either. It's sort of like the food section of a dollar store, only bigger and more expensive. Maybe they're just trying to pay off that million dollar overhaul on the front entrance. I predict abject failure unless they give Stater's and Vons and yes, Wal-Mart a real run for their money. In this town's present economy, price is everything. It all reminds me of the 29 Palms Ranch Market's last tenant- a similar themed supermarket with lots of fringe brands and moderate pricing. They went under fast. Why? Americans will buy lower quality items here and there, but we're all spoiled and want the good stuff too and at a cheap price. It's a delicate mix. Food For Less had it down cold and I still miss them.


Sorry, but not impressed. The prices are high and it really isn't as nice as the 99 cents store. It is also really small. I might go back for something from the organic section but otherwise I will stick with 99. I was disappointed really, I was hoping it would be more like a Trader Joes.


All that remodeling on the outside and when you walk in and turn to the right the floor is cement.... like an old warehouse. It's small too. According to above comments the prices are really high ( I didn't even look at the prices myself). Reminds me of the huge opening for Food For Less. Balloons, flood lights, bells and whistles.... and the food was outdated and rotten. Just like this place. We want an Albertsons or Ralf's or a Trader JOE's. Not another .99 cent store.


It appears as though they may have spent all their money on the remodel. Went once , not going back.

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