Point Loma Grocery Outlet
3948 W. Point Loma Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110
You know a place is successful when you cannot find a parking space at 1:30 in the afternoon. I am one of the patrons that missed LONGS DRUG STORE when it closed and became CVS. I still miss LONGS and seldom shop CVS. I still go to that shopping center because there are several stores that I like to patronize, but with the opening of the “Point Loma Grocery Outlet” I think I will be there often.
What an exciting store. There is an array of merchandise, from fresh meat to fresh produce, to fresh flowers, wine, beer, health foods, to almost every canned item a person would want. And, contrary to what someone told me when the word went out that the Grocery Outlet was opening, I found no out-dated food; no dented cans.
The store is truly a family-run enterprise. Mark and Stephanie Baldwin are the husband/wife owners of this particular store. Along with the 30+ employees, mostly full-time – their daughter, Alex, Spencer, her fiance, all work there. An added feature was the youngest daughter – Faith – who “works” with the family on a part-time basis while going to school in Mission Hills.
Mark worked for Safeway for over 29 years and Stephanie owned her own pastry business in Humboldt County. As time went on, Mark became disillusioned with the emphasis on stock market profits at the expense of quality and personalization and decided it was time to move on.
Stephanie found that she was “burning out” because most of her business was in wedding cakes and people only tend to get married on the weekends. She found that she was cramming 6 days of work into 3 days because all of her products were freshly baked and it took its toll on this mother of six.
The grocery outlet works similar to the big box stores like CostCo. Large companies find themselves with too much stock and sell it to stores that can offer discounts to their customers. And, like the big box store, what you find at the Grocery Outlet today may not be there tomorrow. If you find something there today and you like it, there is a good chance that others liked it also, and it will be gone tomorrow. Although it may happen, if a product comes close to a “sell by” date, the Baldwin’s will run super sales to sell that product before it expires. They pointed out to me that many “seasonal” items have “sell-by” dates, but are still good for months to come.
The corporate office likes to have husband/wife teams working their stores. It brings a unity to the family, and encourages support from each other. Although the couple have all the employees they need right now, it is fair to say that in another few months they may be looking for more employees. Many of their employees are full-time, although about 25% of the workers are part-time students.
One of the organizations that my husband belonged to is “Veteran’s for Peace.” Frequently I get an e-mail from them telling me of a great buy on fruit at one of the local markets. We are encouraged to purchase these items, and they are given out to the homeless, veterans, etc. I asked Mark and Stephanie if this was also available from their store. I was assured there are “no limits” on anything, and, if in stock at the warehouse, more of those items can be ordered for almost immediate arrival. That goes for large party items also. If you need it – if it’s available – they can order it for you.
They order fresh meat cut to order from options that are offered to them from the warehouse. They want to sell the meat quickly and do not want any waste.
Likewise, the produce is fresh 4 times a week. I noticed their prices for oranges and bananas were below any price I had seen at Ralphs or Vons this week, and looked very tasty. Dairy products are also delivered fresh 4 times a week.
I want to point out that there was nothing I looked for that I didn’t find. I did purchase two bags of doggie treats for Buddy, and saved a whopping $12. All of their items show prices that you might pay at other markets. My advice? Try this new concept. I think you’ll like it!