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