farm in neighboring Temecula.
“We buy a lot from family farms, and in
Southern California there are a lot. We concentrate on the pricing and stay competitive.
Value never goes out of style,” Shemirani says.
Barons Market’s selection is tailored to the
needs of its shoppers.
“The customer is our boss,” Shemirani says.
“We make sure that we bring them the best
product, at the best price, with the best ingredients, as much as we can. People are busy.
People have dual incomes, couples are working, everyone is on the go and people are on
their phones every second of the day. People
love to go shopping, but they hate grocery
shopping,” she says.
But that is not true at Barons Market, where
shoppers love the experience so much some
cannot stay out of the place.
“We have people who I see shop the store
for breakfast, lunch and dinner several days a
week,” Shemirani says. “Most of our custom-
ers shop between three and five times a week
at our store.”
One of those is Norma “Genie” Seymour,
Ph.D., a retired psychologist and founder of
a singles group called Grandparents Without
“Before Barons Market opened I shopped at
Albertsons and Stater Bros.,” she says. “This
store opened on Jan. 27 and it is incredible.
I’ve been back here since the 27th every single day.” She points to the fresh blueberries
and raspberries in her cart that she will make
into a fruit salad, the containers of chicken
salad and hot tomato veggie soup. “I love the
fresh chicken salad, and I like the freshness of
everything—the fruits, veggies and soups.”
AN OVERFLOW OF ORGANIC
In addition to being fresh, Barons Market’s
product selection is 96 percent natural and
organic, Shemirani says. There is a smattering of conventional products on the shelves
but they are few and far between—and getting
“Anytime we can find a replacement for
something that is conventional, we will,”
she says. “Marshmallows was a tough one,
but we were able to find vegan, all-natural
marshmallows. One of our goals for 2016 is
that we really want to get rid of the conven-
tional products and really bring in the organic
and specialty products,” Shemirani says.
Something else Barons Market shoppers
will not see are employees sitting on upended
milk crates changing the shelf price tags every
“A lot of people think that because our
stores are so pretty that we’re expensive—and
we’re not,” Shemirani says. “We really believe
that unless our costs change that our prices
don’t go up.”
At 19,000 square-feet, the Murrieta store
is the largest in the company, taking up half
of an old Ralphs space; the other half is still
vacant. Shoppers entering Barons Market are
greeted with a small selection of plants and
floral—it welcomes people, Shemirani says—
with shelves of vitamins and supplements to
the right at the very front of the store, and pro-
duce straight ahead.
One of the largest produce departments in
the company, items are arranged on traditional wall fixtures as well as tables, wicker
baskets and wood full and half barrels.
Like the rest of the store, the produce
department has an open ceiling. At the end of
the department that changes, however, to an
ivory and white tiled drop ceiling that runs
over the bread aisle, bulk food bins, olive oil
urns, refrigerated cases, meat and fresh sea-
food, ending at the Barons Kitchen sampling
station at the back of the store. “This feature
was first used in our Alpine store and we call it
the Ceiling Runway,” says Shemirani. “When
you walk in it kind of directs you back here so
you can be fed. Under this runway you have a
lot of the most exciting features in the store—
the olive oil, salad bar, soup bar.”
To the left of the Ceiling Runway, grocery
aisles run at an angle.
“It works with the flow better and takes you
right out to the register,” Shemirani says. “It
makes shopping a little more interesting too,
because every time you turn a corner you see
Beyond an aisle of artisan breads from local
bakers are four aisles of bulk bins. “This is the
largest bulk section in all of our stores and it
has been received really great,” says Shemirani.
Mother Earth-conscious Californians love
cutting down on packaging by bagging just
what they need, she says. Special twist ties
have a paper appendage where shoppers write
down the PLU number for the bulk item they
take, and the cashier types it in at the checkout. In addition to the typical granola, cereals, oats, flours and chocolate covered raisins,
there are quite a number of unusual items,