It’s rare that a business enters a new community via the doors of a local church, but that is the route taken by South Pasadena’s Grocery Outlet, which will celebrate its grand opening on Oct. 1 on the former site of Big Lots at 1401 Huntington Drive.
On Monday morning, Ernesto Medina and his fiancee, Karina Flores-Pereyra, the independent operators of the new store, visited Holy Family Catholic Church’s Giving Bank, with which they hope to partner when the supermarket’s ribbon is cut next month.
Giving Bank provides free lunches every day for 200 guests through the generosity of the flagship Trader Joe’s store in South Pasadena. The couple was back at Holy Family on Wednesday and Thursday, screening applications from potential Grocery Outlet employees.
“We had a lot of people show up, a lot of people from South Pasadena,” said Medina. “We always look for local residents as employees. Every one of our stores hopes to hire from within the local community.”
Medina said he will investigate the possibility of forming a partnership with Giving Bank.
“Once the store opens and we are able to get involved in the community we will make a decision as to which partnerships will be most beneficial,” said Medina.
He has already reached out to the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, which he described as “very helpful.”
Mayor Bob Joe was in attendance at Giving Bank for Monday’s event.
“As mayor of South Pasadena, I am always excited to welcome a new business,” said Joe. “But I am extremely delighted to welcome the new franchise-owned Grocery Outlet. The owners, Ernesto and Karina, are taking the time to learn and engage about the South Pasadena community. I am proud to see such care for the community from a business. During this pandemic it is difficult to remain positive, but I thank [Medina and Flores-Pereyra] for all of the positives they are bringing to South Pasadena.”
Grocery Outlet is a chain of supermarkets that offer discounted, overstocked and closeout products from name-brand and private-label suppliers. The company has stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Pennsylvania.