to the hi-lo model, losing customers’ trust
and arriving at too high a price point, even
for affluent Northern California. The Great
Recession that started in late 2008 was the
final blow. Particularly in the state capital area of Sacramento, where the state of
California instituted dramatic and historic layoffs to balance its budget, the economy was rocked. Many of the shoppers who
were left jumped ship for less expensive
Teel and his team got back to good, old-
fashioned grocery retailing. First, they took
steps to motivate the workers—called team
members who number about 11,000—
throughout the chain. It also meant bringing
back the family atmosphere that the Raley
and Teel family valued for all those decades.
“It all starts with our own team members,”
Teel notes. “We recognized that they have the
biggest impact on our future because they
are the people who work with our custom-
ers on a regular basis. If they don’t believe in
the company, its values and its future, we will
never be able to convince consumers to shop
Next Raley’s redefined its relationship
with suppliers. Teel made the decision to
place the focus on what the shopper expected
from the chain and communicate that to its
vendors. “Changing the way we did business
was not an easy task,” he says. “We are still in
a learning mode five years later. But now we
know that we are on the right track, and we
are working with our vendors as partners to
give our customers’ what they want. Our job
is to fulfill our customers’ needs.”
Knowing your place in the market is
vital too. Northern California is one of the
nation’s most prosperous regions. It is also
THROUGH THE YEARS
1935: Thomas P. Raley opens his first Raley’s Market in
Placerville, Calif. He levels an empty lot next door, then
advertises his store as “the nation’s first drive-in market.”
1942: The Placerville store is destroyed by fire. Tom Raley
opens stores in Sacramento, Calif.
1947: Tom Raley opens nation’s first self-service meat
counter stocked with pre-packaged meat.
1973: Tom Raley “tears down the walls” between
supermarkets and drug stores, creating his first “superstore.”
1973: Raley’s acquires the Eagle Thrifty chain in Nevada.
1981: Mid-Valley Dairy, a fluid milk-processing plant, opens
in Fairfield, Calif. as a joint venture between the Raley’s, Bel
Air and Save Mart chains.
1984: Raley’s headquarters opens in West Sacramento, Calif.
1985: Joyce Raley Teel, Tom Raley’s only child, officially joins
Raley’s organization as director of community relations.
1986: Food For Families, a non-profit organization, is
established to help feed the hungry.
1989: Super Store Industries (SSI) is established in Stockton,
Calif., to manage distribution of dry groceries, frozen foods
and dairy products.
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 72)