Low-price grocery store opens

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//img-ePDeXZV0Pv.jpg’, ‘Photo by Jon Bystrom’, ‘Come on down: The price is right at the new grocery store at North Towne, locally owned and operated by Tom and Barb Churchill. They claim Save-A-Lot could save you 30 to 40 percent—every day.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//img-nAMNyteM8X.jpg’, ‘Photo by Jon Bystrom’, ‘Save-A-Lot owners say they can offer such low prices by belonging to a 1,200-store membership of the Super Value buying group. Their new North Towne location opened Wednesday, May 5.’);

Some good economic news on the north side

A new grocery store opened this past week on Rockford’s northwest side. The North Towne Mall (W. Riverside Blvd. and North Main Sreet.) has been undergoing a renaissance in the past year and a big part of that renovation now includes a new Save-A-Lot store, 868 W. Riverside Blvd.

The owners are Tom and Barb Churchill, who moved here seven years ago from Ottawa (Illinois) to open their first Save-A-Lot at 1015 Charles St. (former Charles Street Certified site). Their family includes three daughters they are raising here. The North Towne location is their second store in Rockford.

Tom said: “Our first store was successful, so we studied the demographics in this area and discovered the count was right for an everyday, low-price store. We’re glad to give the people in north Rockford an alternative of a low-price store. More competition in the area is good.

“It’s nice to be part of the North Towne Mall renovation and rebuilding the mall. It’s such a nice new look. There’s only a couple of spaces left. I believe the mall is 45 years old, and they’re (mall managment) giving it new life again,” Tom said.

At the unofficical opening last Wednesday, May 5, the hour approached 11 a.m. as Tom and Barb made finishing touches around the store like only owners can. The bustle of suppliers stocking shelves and store personnel tidying up the shiny new market was exciting to witness.

The Save-A-Lot market is brightly lit with an appealing color scheme, well-labeled prices, easy-to-find items, and spacious aisles.

So how do they keep prices so low? Tom said: “We’re independent owners and members of a 1,200-store buying group, under the Super Value (grocery stores) umbrella. Our buying power helps drive the prices down. Our target market? People who would like to save 30-40 percent across the board over conventional grocery store prices.”

This store is bigger than the Charles Sreet Save-A-Lot. With such low prices, one might expect a no-frills approach, but the feel here is full-line. This store is big but not “warehousey.”

Tom said: “This store is 15,000 sq.ft., and we carry a full line of fresh-cut meats, produce, dairy and frozen lines. The only thing not found here is a bakery and deli.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 6, the staff of Bank One presented the Save-A-Lot owners with a plaque thanking them for their business. North Towne Mall Asset Manager Richard Fang welcomed Save-A-Lot to the mall, and Save-A-Lot District Manager Dick Koop attended the celebrated opening.

At 30-40 percent savings, shopping at Save-A-Lot makes a lot of sense in Rockford’s struggling economy.

Here’s the beginning of a comeback after the K-mart and Eagle store closings on North Main Street.

For those not on the north side, with the price of gas going through the sun-roof, the savings might well pay for the drive.

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