BY JENNIFER BAILEY
When Ruler Foods opens Thursday, it will be only the second such grocery store in Illinois and the eighteenth store for the chain.
The discount supermarket, a subsidiary of Kroger Co., is located in the former Save-A-Lot store space at Main and Griffin streets, north of Dollar General, at 102 N. Griffin St. The first Ruler Foods to open in Illinois was in Champaign.
A ribbon cutting for the store will take place when it opens at 10 a.m. Thursday.
“Overall, I think it’s a great location for the store,” said store manager Dano Armendariz.
Armendariz said the store will be convenient for the east side. He said residents keep asking him and other store employees when the store will open.
The opening was delayed a bit due to construction issues. But plumbing, electrical and other work has been completed in the renovated space.
Aisles are filled with food products and baking items. Various sections are marked with signs, such as snacks, dairy, deli, meat and sports drinks. There are small health and beauty, baby and pet and other sections, including items such as toothpaste, aspirin, cough and cold medicine, diapers, baby food, dog food, cat food and bird seed. There also sections for cleaning supplies and “As-Seen-On–TV” items.
Ruler Foods is a discount grocery store that sells Kroger-brand food and a limited assortment of national-brand items. It is owned by JayC Food Stores, with groceries in southern Indiana and Kentucky. Kroger purchased Seymour, Ind.-based JayC in 1999, and it is one of two dozen banners under which the Cincinnati-based food company giant does business.
Armendariz said about 80 percent of the food products are Kroger brand, with the remaining national brands, such as Gatorade, Ramen noodles, some barbeque sauce and candy, etc. There are Kroger Value, Kroger and Private Selection items.
Armendariz said the store isn’t as large as a full-service grocery store and won’t have some specialty items.
However, it has a variety of about anything you need in a regular grocery shopping trip.
Mark Combs, a marketing spokesman for JayC Food stores and Ruler Foods stores, said through an e-mail that “Ruler is a store you can save 30 percent to 50 percent off your groceries. I would describe it as a store where you can get all you need for your meals but possibly not everything you want. Because it is a second generation store we have a lower overhead, giving us the opportunity to reduce the cost on groceries. We also believe that you will be treated right in our store.
“It will be a clean store, a full store, with friendly local team members who treat you with respect. Ruler will carry a large variety of Kroger brand products, choice beef, fresh fruit and vegetables and the freshest milk,” Combs added. “We are happy to be coming to Danville and look forward to serving the community.”
To help save customers money, Ruler Foods has customers pay 25 cents to unlock a grocery cart, which is then refunded with the return of the cart. Also, customers bag their own groceries.
By not having someone round up carts or bag groceries, those cost savings go to the customer in bigger savings on milk, beef, chicken, pork, fresh produce, frozen foods and other items. There isn’t a meat counter where someone cuts meat, but the store has fresh packaged meat.
Armendariz said a person can come to the store and get all his or her cookout needs, for example — a grill and charcoal if needed, along with the current seasonal items, baked beans, potato salad, chips, meat, pop, buns, etc.
If someone is looking for a specific spice, however, he or she might not find it at Ruler Foods, he said.
Armendariz said the grocery store could sell liquor if a liquor license is obtained. The store has a tobacco license already.
The store has 20 employees and two managers.
Ruler Foods received city economic development funding for its renovations.
To help with purchasing refrigeration, cold storage and other equipment and fixtures, the city provided Kroger Co. $225,000 in funding. Of that funding, $195,000 came from the city’s Community Development Block Grant funding earmarked for economic development projects and $30,000 came from the city’s revolving loan fund.
Ruler Foods, 102 N. Griffin St., will have its grand opening at 10 a.m. Thursday. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.