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July 31, 2015

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Attention shoppers: WinCo Foods opens 2 stores in Southern Nevada

Image

Steve Marcus

Joey Thomas, 3, waits to check out during the grand opening a WinCo Foods supermarket at Stephanie Street and Wigwam Parkway in Henderson Sunday, March 4, 2012. The Boise-based supermarket chain opened their 81st and 82nd stores Sunday, their first stores in Southern Nevada.

WinCo Foods Opens New Stores

A woman leaves with her purchases during the grand opening a WinCo Foods supermarket at Stephanie Street and Wigwam Parkway in Henderson Sunday, March 4, 2012. The Boise-based supermarket chain opened their 81st and 82nd stores Sunday, their first stores in Southern Nevada. Launch slideshow »

About WinCo Foods

  • WinCo was founded in 1967 by Ralph Ward and Bud Williams. The name stands for Winning Company.
  • WinCo Food stores are employee-owned. All qualifying employees — about 11,000 out of 14,000 nationally — get stock in the company at no cost to them.
  • In 2010 it was No. 65 on Forbes Magazine's List of 500 Largest Privately Held Companies.

The shoppers who flanked the building and the swarms of cars trying to park made it look like Black Friday at a big box.

Except that it wasn't. In this case, the big-box retailer is a new grocery store, and the hot items weren't TVs and iThings; they were potato chips and soda — all at discounted prices to celebrate WinCo Foods' grand opening in Southern Nevada.

“It’s like Christmas right now,” said Victor Rodarte, who was shopping with girlfriend Margie Orozco to stock up for the couple’s two children. “We’re going crazy.”

For Rodarte and Orozco, that meant giving up on a plan to stick to their coupons, which is how they found themselves with a loaded cart by the time they reached frozen foods.

“You hardly ever see Marie Callender’s lasagna in another store, especially for $8.98,” Orozco said, rationalizing the two frozen meals she popped in their cart.

The giddy shopping atmosphere brought a smile to the face of Henderson store manager Sharon Guined, who moved from Eugene, Ore., to oversee the new location.

“We’re excited to be here and be part of the community,” she said.

Henderson WinCo Foods Location

Las Vegas WinCo Foods Location

The Idaho-based grocery chain made its Southern Nevada debut Sunday with two store openings — one on Stephanie Street in Henderson and another near North Decatur Boulevard and the Las Vegas Beltway in the northern valley. WinCo Foods first entered the state in Reno, where there are two stores.

The company now has 82 locations in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, Utah and Oregon, said Robert Rhodes, district manager for WinCo Foods’ southwest region.

WinCo Foods — No. 30 on Supermarket News’ list of top 75 food retailers this year — expects to close its fiscal year with sales of $5.2 billion, according to the weekly trade publication.

Customers won't hear music pumping through the store or see employees bagging groceries. Advertising will be minimal, too. That’s all part of what Rhodes calls the company’s “bare-bones” approach to business and an attempt to keep prices lower for name brands.

“We save money that way,” he said. “That’s how we’re able to compete with the national brands.”

The stores don’t require membership and do sell some bulk items like candy, flour and pet treats in addition to normal-size offerings, Rhodes said.

“We’ve been described as a cross between, say, a Smith’s and a Costco,” Rhodes said. “Not everyone needs 45 pounds of cereal at once.”

“It’s a way to not only save money, but to get those unique items you’re not going to find on the shelf,” he said. There’s a station where customers can grind their own peanut butter, for instance.

Henderson resident Cheryl Nall, a former WinCo Foods customer in Washington, said the prices and selection lured her to the store.

“(Since) I first saw the sign that said ‘WinCo,’ I’ve been hitting their website all the time because I’ve been waiting,” she said.

The two new stores, open 24 hours, each employ about 200 full- and part-time workers, Rhodes said.

“We’ll be in these communities forever, hopefully,” he said.

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