Santa Maria Sun / Biz Brief
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 17
Spotlight on: Grocery OutletDino and Timmie Donati, owners
BY JASON BANANIA
There’s always an excuse to skip on eating healthy. Kids moan that healthy foods don’t taste good, while adults complain they’re too expensive.
Grocery Outlet is getting rid of those excuses—well, at least one of them.
Owned and operated by the Donati family, Grocery Outlet in Santa Maria sells Godiva chocolates, Top Ramen, and kids’ favorite sugary cereals, but it’s also stocked with organic vegetables and boxes packaged with foods that are natural and gluten-free, just to name a couple features.
“The No. 1 reason why we’re offering organic food is because there is a growing population that is only buying organic food, and we want to be able to offer it to them at a reasonable price,” explained Allie, daughter of owners Dino and Timmie. “Organic food is that category in our world that is allowed to charge a lot because it’s a growing trend. We want to be able to offer it to people for less because groceries are one of the highest expenses in people’s lives.”
Grocery Outlet buys items from manufacturers who produce so many the market doesn’t consume them all, so the store can sell goods at a cheaper price. Manufacturers benefit as well by selling products they would otherwise have to dispose of.
Aside from cheaper prices, customers also never really know what new items they’ll find stocked on the shelves each week, making it a surprise every time they visit.
“It’s a fun place to shop,” Timmie said. “Our customers never know what they’re going to get. It’s like a treasure hunt.”
Due to the popularity of organic food and the demand from its customers, Grocery Outlet is offering healthy food at a low price.
“I think it’s a great category for customers that they usually don’t see in stores,” Dino said. “We want to offer people what they want. Some people will say that organic food tastes like rabbit food. Then there’s some who give it to their kids because it’s healthy. We’re just supplying our customers with their needs and more options.”
Goods sold at Grocery Outlet are 40 to 60 percent cheaper than the average grocery store, and they won’t buy products unless they can save the customer substantial savings, Dino added.
While the grocery store is an important place for anyone, it holds a special importance for Donati family. Timmie explained she first met Dino at the checkout line where he happened to be working. Luckily for the both of them, Timmie said, the items weren’t the only thing she was checking out.
The couple has worked and managed grocery stores for years. Dino’s first job was as a cart handler at age 16, and through the years, he pushed his way to the top of management. After their kids graduated college, Dino and Timmie used their experience in grocery stores and corporate offices to fulfill their dream of owning their own business.
One of Timmie’s favorite aspects of being an owner is being able to add her own personal touches to the store, one of which is the golden oldies music shoppers can listen to while they cruise the aisles at Grocery Outlet.
The Donatis are also wine enthusiasts, having grown Zinfandel grapes in their own backyard in Auburn, so they know a thing or two about adult fruit juice. They sell various wines, including organic name-brand wines such as Hurdy Gurdy, Montecito, Green Truck, and Leaping Lizard Peanut. Dino said he enjoys helping customers choose the best wines for the occasion.
Throughout the entire month of July, Grocery Outlet will be holding the “Independence From Hunger” food drive, where customers can donate cash and food to benefit the community.
Grocery Outlet is at 1948 S. Broadway in Santa Maria. To get coupons and up-to-date information on the newest products hitting the shelves, check out the store’s Facebook page and sign up for the e-mailing list.
For more information, call 922-0109 or visit groceryoutlet.com.
• The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced the selection of the Bay Area firm BCA Architects to plan and construct Pioneer Valley High School’s 400-seat performing arts center.
BCA, which has built theaters, gyms, and other structures for public schools throughout California, beat out 18 other firms that had submitted proposals for the project.
For more information on the company, visit bcaarchitects.com.
Intern Jason Banania wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Highlights were written and compiled by Staff Writer Jeremy Thomas. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.
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