State Foods Supermarket in Firebaugh will open by June, said Mufid Alamsi, CFO at Alamco, Inc. Photo submitted.
Written by Edward Smith
Valley grocery shoppers will have a few more options for their produce and meats this year as State Foods Supermarket eyes a suite of new locations.
The locally owned and operated grocery chain has confirmed locations coming to Firebaugh and Kingsburg, with another four acquisitions in various stages of negotiation, said Mufid Alamsi, chief financial officer for Alamco, Inc., parent company of State Foods.
Management has already posted help wanted ads for roughly 25 jobs for the Firebaugh location, slated to open by June at the latest, Alamsi said. The 13,000 square foot rehabilitation — a former 98 Cent Store — is smaller than most, but will still feature a produce section, bakery, full-service carniceria and possibly a tortilleria.
What Alamsi is really proud of, though, will be the location in Kingsburg. The design and decor will make the grocery store unlike any of the other 16 locations throughout the Valley, he said.
“As soon as you walk in, it’s going to be different,” Alamsi said. He envisions an upscale feel without the prices that go with it. Polished and stained concrete will floor the 37,000 square foot location where Kmart once operated.
When Alamsi toured Dubai, he visited a juice bar with support beams adorned with decorative fruit. Whenever Alamsi goes abroad, he gets ideas for how to better his own stores.
“If I traveled, I would go and stop at supermarkets at different spots and pay attention to what they have and what they’re doing,” said Alamsi.
State Foods will move its Sanger-based corporate headquarters and distribution center along with the Kingsburg grocery store when it opens in November, barring any unforeseen circumstances. In all, the operation will total 126 employees in the three divisions.
Along with renovating vacant spaces, State Foods also has its eye on four acquisitions in the area. One of those locations is in escrow, and Alamsi hopes the other three will open escrow in the next four to six weeks and be completed before the Kingsburg opening. He declined to name the specific locations.
While no stranger to revitalizing other grocery stores, the markets State Foods would enter if the deals go through would be larger than normal. The new locations would be in cities with populations from 70,000 to 200,000 people.
“I’ve seen their financials for the past three years and they’ve been on the decline,” said Alamsi of his targeted acquisitions. “The owner is smart enough to realize that and is probably tired and doesn’t have a way of bringing the sales back up.”
“I think once we go in, we can grab it and stop the decline,” he went on to say, forecasting that process to take about six months.
For the 159 employees currently working at the four locations, it could mean more stable employment. Alamsi said when State Foods buys a new store, he guarantees those workers their positions.
“We don’t go in there and clean house,” Alamsi said. “It’s not smart in general. When someone knows what they’re doing, why switch it?”