downtown los angeles, south park

Downtown LA’s Ralphs Fresh Fare Market Begins $2.5M Remodeling Project

Ralphs Fresh Fare opened in 2007 as the first mainstream grocery store in central Downtown LA

Ralphs Fresh Fare opened in 2007 as the first mainstream grocery store in central Downtown LA

Ralphs Fresh Fare in Downtown LA is more than just a grocery store. Sure it’s one of the highest grossing Ralphs in their entire chain, but it’s also considered a major milestone in the history of Downtown LA’s urban revitalization. Before the supermarket opened in July 2007 at the corner of 9th/Flower in South Park, the small but growing population of new downtown residents really didn’t have anywhere to shop for groceries. It goes without saying that it was kind of a huge deal when Ralphs opened because it meant you could actually buy groceries without leaving downtown. That was critical for supporting the downtown population growth that allowed for more businesses to open. Now seven years later, Downtown LA is a much different place. You could say we’re finally coming to a tipping point of no return. When it comes to grocery stores, the competition is about to get heated soon. Not only did Smart & Final Extra open down the street from Ralphs last year, but next year a large 42,000 square foot Whole Foods will open just a few blocks away at 8th/Grand, and potentially a new Trader Joe’s will open at The Bloc also just up the street at 8th/Hope. As a result, Ralphs Fresh Fare is starting on an exciting $2.5 million remodeling project that will keep the grocery store attractive and competitive within downtown.

Plans for remodeling the 50,000 square foot Ralphs in Downtown LA have actually been in the works since late 2013 and only recently were the plans finalized. Construction on remodeling started on Monday this week with the tiled floors being ripped out first by the produce section, which will be replaced with laminated wood while new updated flooring will be installed throughout the rest of the store. Wallpaper were also being removed, which will be replaced with a new updated design including new sectional signs. In addition, the Coffee Bean kiosk inside the market closed permanently on Wed and will be completely demolished and removed by the end of this week allowing for more self checkout stands to be added from 6 to 10. (Don’t worry, there’s another Coffee Bean outside at 9th/Hope!)

Basically, what I gathered from speaking with the general manager of the store is that the downtown Ralphs will be completely reconfigured while adding new additions that will attract more customers. An entire new aisle will be added and all products in the store will be re-organized to be more intuitive with shoppers’ needs and expectations.

Some other exciting additions that will make its way into the new revamped store:

  • Wine tasting bar (first one of its kind in an LA Ralphs)
  • Murray’s Cheese NYC branded section
  • Custom pizza stop
  • Expanded sushi selection
  • Frozen yogurt machines
  • Expanded organic produce selection
  • New pharmacy consultation area
  • Expanded and enhanced interior seating area

Construction will last just under three months. The store will continue to operate as usual while the work is being completed. A grand reopening is scheduled for November 7, 2014.

My one request to Ralphs: Please install lights on the exterior by the front entrance to make it feel safer at night for both those who shop and walk by the store. Thank you!

The 50,000 square foot Ralphs Fresh Fare is on the ground floor of the Market Lofts mixed-use building in South Park

The 50,000 square foot Ralphs Fresh Fare is on the ground floor of the Market Lofts mixed-use building in South Park

New flooring will be installed throughout the store

New flooring will be installed throughout the store

Coffee Bean will be closed permanently and removed allowing for more self checkout stands to be added from 6 to 10

Coffee Bean will be closed permanently and removed allowing for more self checkout stands to be added from 6 to 10

The self checkout area will be expanded and reconfigured

The self checkout area will be expanded and reconfigured

The current seating area will be "brought out more" into the interior of the store

The current seating area will be “brought out more” into the interior of the store

Love the Downtown LA references in the store

Love the Downtown LA references in the store

These images are posted in the front of the store giving us an idea what’s to come.

An expanded produce section with more organic offerings

An expanded produce section with more organic offerings

New color schemes will be used

New color schemes will be used

New signs will be installed with new designs

New signs will be installed with new designs

New signs with new designs

New signs with new designs

New signs with illuminating lights

New signs with illuminating lights

31 Comments

  1. This is the best Ralphs that I have been to in LA. Great selection of fresh produce. Do they still have the homeless people outside begging for money not food?

    • Eyeful says

      Uhhh…is it the homeless beggars that make this the “best Ralphs” in LA?

      Whuuut?

    • If this is Ralphs response to Gelsons, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc………then this has got to be a joke.

      There is hardly any difference between Fresh Fare and a large well stocked Ralphs.

      Where are all of the organics, gluten free, gourmet and extra customer service. I don’t care about price if I’m getting more than a regular grocery store.

      What a waste of time.

      Same thing that Vons did with Pavillions except the original Pavillions was awesome and special before Vons homogenized it. Now, there is no difference!

  2. Topher says

    That’s awesome. While they are at it they should consider revamping the exterior as well to make it more attractive. Just my two cents.

    • Eyeful says

      Good call. The exterior – or what we used to call “the architecture” – presents a dreadful face to DTLA… like a wart.

  3. Sebastian says

    How about a Gluten free isle, nothing but Gluten free items.

    • Eyeful says

      How about a Gluten Free island for nothing but Gluten freaked-out people?

  4. Great news. I wish they’d find an aesthetically pleasing solution for their price tags. What with three or four different prices for each item, the place is a forest of confusing numbers. And while I’m at it, I wish they’d place all items within one category together. Right now, if you want to choose a chocolate, you have to go like to three different places in the store. #pickypicky

  5. Stop the construction prior to 7am please! It wakes the residents upstairs and is against a city Noise Ordinance.

  6. Julian says

    They really should do something about the atrocious cell service in the store

    • Eyeful says

      I know! It’s a travesty! How can we shop without our cellies!?!

  7. Whole pay check is way to much for me and I think others. Trader Joe’s is a much better value.

  8. Wynn says

    I’m with Julian, better cell service would be great.

  9. wildstar says

    The design is fine, the bigger issue is stocking. Half the time they’re out of whatever I’m looking for. Example – last week they were out of lemons! How do you run out of lemons in southern california?? The organic produce section is kinda weak (they’ve barely had any apples all summer long and have been out of various berries often). The worst part is the prices – unless it’s on sale, you might as well shop at whole foods. I buy basically the same things all the time, and I spend the same if I go to the pasadena WF, with a much better shopping experience and prepared food section.

  10. Ralphs does have lights outside – but 90% of them are burned out. Maybe they have stopped replacing them because they are also going to update the front facade.

    • Icebrg says

      Ralphs is a tenant. Lamp replacement is a building owner issue.

      • Eyeful says

        Reallly? That’s Ralphs’ excuse for blowing out the lights on their “brand?!”

  11. Icebrg says

    RiteAid at 7th and Hope has been renovating its store to their “Wellness” concept. It is a nice change with better lighting, super graphic nature images and nicer finishes (it is looking more like the Walgreens on Hollywood & Sunset), but some suburban store planner has blocked out all of the windows on Hope Street for what looks like a store room. Not to mention the flooring although nicer in look than the previous is showing every little scuff mark. Not an appropriate color selection for a downtown store.

  12. Andrew W. says

    I don’t know how closing The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (in place of more checkout stands) will be an improvement for the store, given that many people enjoy the convenience/luxury of grabbing a coffee when shopping at this store. But we shall see.

  13. T Mattson says

    It’s surprising how the housekeeping on the part of either Ralph’s or the property owner, or both, is quite negligent if no one has bothered replacing or complaining about burnt-out lights in the front entrance area. What’s that all about?!

    One grocery supplier near Ralph’s downtown store was omitted from the list: The food section in the Target at Fig at 7th.

    The addition of Whole Foods and, most definitely, Trader Joe’s should heat up competition enough that Ralph’s will hopefully moderate their prices. If the cost of their merchandise on 9th Street is higher than in other Ralph’s, is that due to what? Because they’ve monopolized the area until now and felt they could get away with squeezing their customers? Or it is due to the higher cost of Ralph’s lease in downtown, greater shrinkage, bigger expenses related to employees in central LA, more problems dealing with local bureaucracy?

    A hint of some or all of that could be related to problems in keeping their store well stocked. Even truckers making deliveries to Ralph’s downtown may be an issue, since they must dread having to deal with crowded streets and nearby freeways, meandering pedestrians and narrow passageways.

    • Tanesha says

      All great points T. I didn’t want to be the one to mention how utterly disappointed I am in this Ralphs or their outrageous prices for fairly low-quality items. I am glad they are making improvements and I have an appreciation for the unique issues they may have at the downtown location, but I am still counting the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds until Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s open.

  14. carter says

    I live in Sherman Oaks, near the new and HUGE Ralphs @ Ventura & Hazeltine, and the look of this store is being used as a proto-type for other remodels to come. The prices are high, the look is dark, even though facing west and south, meaning all the shelving is black. Neon signs abound. Strange product placement, meaning paper goods in 3 different places. Not as welcoming as the locals were expecting.

  15. RWags says

    This store is garbage. Nothing will fix their poor quality.

    • Eyeful says

      I spent 3 days in DTLA, looking for a place to relocate from Chicago. Although I was thrilled to find Ralphs – like a little beacon of urbanity in an otherwise BLEAK fcukin area – I remember thinking, “really? Is THIS what passes for quality food shopping here?” Mediocre in every way, from food to (especially) service…a trip to downtown Kansas City would have offered better options….

      Improve it, Ralph, or lose it.

      • carter says

        Your assessment is 100%.
        Ralphs I have renamed Riff-Ralphs.
        Gelson’s, not in DTLA, yet in Franklin Village or Los Feliz, has good produce and service.
        You will notice that most grocery stores here in LA do not have much in the way of service – it is all about the bottom line, regardless of how it is achieved, yet service is seldom mentioned as a way of getting it.
        Thus many prefer produce from the local Farmer’s Markets available all over the LA area.
        And the meat and seafood – don’t get me started!

  16. DT resident says

    Fix the light outside now, its too dark at night.

  17. Although this is a nice Ralph’s I avoided it because years after the opening, the staff became rude and generally unhelpful. Especially at the deli. Now when you walk in everyone is nice and greets you. Funny how a little bit of competition in the marketplace will make you straighten up your act.

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