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Raley's: One Plate at a Time

As a Sacramento, California, native, I have fond childhood memories of Raley’s and its family of stores: standing on the back of a shopping cart and maneuvering down the aisles, stacking Fuji apples on produce weighing scales, and staring longingly at the fresh pastries behind the glass case, just out of reach. As an adult, Raley’s Senior Director of Produce and Floral, Greg Corrigan, walks me through his story with the company, talking fruits and vegetables as he blends together his love of produce and how the game has changed for the retailer.

It’s summer, and the heat is just upon us. As a key season for fresh produce promotions at Raley’s, the company has launched a full-scale campaign to bring fruits and vegetables to the forefront of the retail space as fresh continues to be a larger and larger focus for the retail team behind the 83-year-old grocery company.

Greg Corrigan, Senior Director of Produce and Floral, Raley’s“Our summer produce push is focused on sharing our team’s passion for produce with our customers. At Raley’s, we are driven by our vision to infuse life with health and happiness, by changing the way we eat, one plate at a time,” Greg tells me. “By working with our growers to bring the best organic and conventional produce to the marketplace at affordable prices, we are staying true to that vision by offering even more fresh, healthy produce options to our customers during this push. It is an exciting time.”

Executing the effort will come with ease as Raley’s is fortunate to have many special and longstanding relationships with its growers. The produce team works closely with farmer partners to bring the best fresh products to its stores. As a grocer in Northern California and Nevada, Raley’s is expanding. Recently, the company purchased six stores in the greater Reno area. Raley’s now owns and operates 129 stores under five banners: Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods, eight Food Source stores, and a new Market 5-ONE-5 banner. Raley’s also owns and operates 13 Aisle 1 Fuel Stations throughout Northern California and Nevada.

"At Raley’s, we are driven by our vision to infuse life with health and happiness, by changing the way we eat..."

- Greg Corrigan, Senior Director of Produce and Floral, Raley’s

All Raley’s stores open their doors every day with the same sentiment in mind—to take care of their partners and the communities in which they call home.

“We strive to tell our grower stories throughout the summer because today’s consumers want to know the story behind their food,” Greg shares. “In our stores, our team members will increase the amount of sampling and create memorable floor displays. Our store team members will focus on truly knowing the produce offerings and sharing the great customer service that Raley’s has come to be known for.”

This summer push is coinciding with Raley’s multidimensional However You Eat campaign, featuring print, radio, video, social media, and in-store elements, which kicked off in the spring. The initiative supports the company’s vision to “infuse life with health and happiness.”

From left to right: Michael Schutt, Sr. Category Manager, Produce and Floral; Greg Corrigan, senior director, produce and floral; Erin Cavaletto, Procurement Analyst, Produce and floral; and Cindy Raley, Associate Category Manager Floral, in a Bel Air fresh produce section in Sacramento, California

“The main focus for the campaign is inclusivity, with the idea being that Raley’s can be the place to shop for anyone from a pescatarian or a parent with a child who’s a picky eater to a couple trying to avoid artificial ingredients,” Greg expresses. “The goal of the campaign is for all shoppers to feel welcome, comfortable, and accepted at Raley’s regardless of where they are on their individual health journey.”

The However You Eat campaign invites customers to shop at Raley’s for their nutrition and wellness needs. Recently, Raley’s has been making progressive moves to make healthy food more accessible to all of its customers, but the company also notes that customers may want to splurge on their favorite treats as well—for me that would be the entire cheese department or a dry rosé.

“We are committed to providing our customers with access to plentiful and affordable healthy food options, but we also accept the need to treat yourself,” Greg reflects. “Produce is a vital part of our customers’ baskets. The best part of summer is always access to high-quality produce favorites, including cherries, peaches, corn, and more. The However You Eat campaign aligns perfectly with our summer push program.”

The Organic department at a Bel Air location in Sacramento, California featuring local organic growers

When I ask Greg how the campaign seeks to impact Raley’s growth and the surrounding communities, he replies that the company’s customers have varied needs, and the However You Eat campaign lets them know that Raley’s is here to support them all.

“No matter how you eat, we are hoping that Raley’s is your preferred destination for the best fresh products, affordable offerings, and personalized service,” he shares.

Raley’s growth in recent years has allowed them to serve multiple communities and demographics in a host of different grocery formats. From the new fresh focus to the recently debuted new brand, Market 5-ONE-5, the company is always focused on offering the best fresh products at affordable prices.

"Produce is our passion, and the special relationships that we have with our growers enables us to offer the very best fruits and vegetables to our customers."

- Greg Corrigan

“Produce is our passion, and the special relationships that we have with our growers enable us to offer the very best fruits and vegetables to our customers,” Greg tells me. “We support local farms through our Living Local program, which gives a retail channel to local farmers and their seasonal products within 50 miles of each store. We are fortunate enough to have our stores in close proximity to some of the world’s greatest agricultural areas, which allows us to carry the largest variety and selection of organic produce of any conventional supermarket in the area.”

(top) Erin, Greg, and Michael discuss produce (middle) Greg arranges bananas; (bottom) Cindy and Erin survey fresh-cut flowersGreg’s passion for the industry is contagious to those around him. You get that sense as soon as he launches into that first thought, all the way to his last. Greg began his career in the grocery industry in 1984 working for Bel Air Market—before it was acquired by Raley’s—as he attended Sacramento State University where he achieved his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1991. And I believe we, as an industry, are all quite thankful he never left. Greg served as a produce manager at store-level for nine years and, in 1998, Greg was promoted to District Produce and Floral Supervisor overseeing the store level operations for produce and floral in the South Division for Raley’s.

In 2000, Greg was promoted to Director of Produce and Floral, where his responsibilities included overseeing all procurement and merchandising for the three company banners which include Raley’s, Bel Air Market, and Nob Hill Foods. Standing tall with more than 34 years of experience in the grocery retail business, Greg continues to oversee all the procurement and merchandising for the 119-store chain operating in Northern California and Northern Nevada, as the Senior Director of Produce and Floral for Raley’s Family of Fine Stores.

After listening to Greg’s story, I almost feel silly asking him where his passion for the industry stems from.

But he would never make anyone feel that way.

“The industry and the people in it are dynamic and passionate. And they live that every day,” he says with a smile.

“It helps me to do the same.”