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2015 Retailer of the Year A Storied History and Big Plans Ahead


aley’s Family of Fine Stores is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, and the grocer’s colorful history, and its big plans for the future, make it the perfect selection as The Shelby Report’s 2015 West Retailer of Year. The West Sacramento, California-based grocery chain’s exact birthday? Feb. 16. That was the day, in 1935, that Thomas P. “Tom” Raley opened his first store on Main Street in Placerville and advertised it as “the nation’s first drive-in market.” Today, with more than 120 stores in Northern California and Nevada and thousands of employees, Raley’s executives say customer service remains a priority, along with providing busy, health-conscious families with delicious, easy meal ideas at an everyday value. “My family and I are proud of how the company has grown over the last eight decades, and proud that we continue to provide high-quality, fresh and local products and exceptional customer service—just like my grandfather set out to do in 1935,” says Raley’s President and CEO Mike Teel, the third-generation family member to lead the company. Additionally, Raley’s milestone anniversary coincides with a renewed company-wide commitment to wellness and sustainability. The following pages detail those efforts and take a look back at how Raley’s has grown into the greater Sacramento region’s largest family-owned company and the 17th largest private company in California.

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The Shelby Report of the West • OCTOBER 2015

2015 Retailer of the Year

‘Infusing Health and Happiness Into the Families We Serve’


Raley’s, it’s always been about the customer. Today, that focus on the guest is greater than ever. “We are very much focused on the health and happiness of the customers we serve,” says Raley’s COO Keith Knopf. “We definitely want to offer great options for our customers. “This is an amazing time at Raley’s,” he adds. “We have a great legacy and a bright future.” This future and the company’s commitment to serving its customers can be seen across all of the 124-store chain’s banners, which include Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source. It’s especially apparent in the company’s offerings at its remodeled and new stores. As company spokeswoman Chelsea Minor notes, Raley’s is aware of its customers’ needs, so it makes sure to “put in our stores what our customers want more of,” she says. As of late, that has involved more local, natural and organic offerings—as well as gourmet-like prepared food selections, particularly for those customers with busy lifestyles. In fact, Raley’s recently hired several “highly-capable chefs who are helping to ensure that our food service, our prepared foods, our bakery, are of the greatest quality, and it truly will help us differentiate in the communities that we serve,” says Knopf. “We feel we owe it to our customers to give them great food options, to be convenient and to provide them with the highest quality food made with the freshest ingredients. Those things are really important to who we are, and they line up with the values of our organization—around infusing health and happiness into the families we serve.”

“My vision is a direct reflection of our majority owner and CEO, Michael Teel. That is to serve our customers and communities, ensuring they have access to great food. We want to offer quality, fresh, organic and natural options that are available at a fair price; and to support our customers in making choices that are good for their health and happiness and that of their families—all the while doing this in the most environmentally sustainable way possible.” —Keith Knopf, COO, Raley’s Tom Raley, seated, discusses a contract with his team, including Jim Teel, second from left, and Chuck Collings, right.

Raley’s considers first urban-style store While rumors of plans for an urban-format location in downtown Sacramento have not been confirmed, a small-footprint store focused on wellness is something Raley’s has top of mind. And the notion goes back to how the grocer feels it can best serve its customers. “There’s not a lot of grocery currently in the downtown proper area, so there’s definitely a food desert that they’re experiencing downtown,” says Minor. “We haven’t confirmed any store or location, specifically, but are considering it. “We have to be agile and flexible and know that our customers are getting products from many different locations now,” she adds. “Where you might have previously gone to the grocery store and picked up Please see page 24

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The Shelby Report of the West • OCTOBER 2015

2015 Retailer of the Year Raley’s Partners with iFoster to Launch Foster Youth Hiring Program


his spring, Raley’s teamed up with iFoster to develop a new hiring program for foster youth. In May, the companies had placed seven youths in Raley’s stores in the Sacramento region, with a goal of expanding the program to other stores. The Foster Youth Hiring Program seeks to find employment opportunities for foster youths who are close to aging out of the foster system, or age 18. iFoster identifies, screens and trains both the youth candidates and Raley’s team members in order to create a successful match. “We are committed to helping our communities prosper. Our partnership will help youths gain valuable work experience and the opportunity for employment advancement,” says Mark Foley, Raley’s SVP of human resources and labor relations. “We invite other companies to join Raley’s and iFoster in considering these incredible young people when making employment choices.” Many emancipated foster youths lack a supportive network of adults. Within the first two to four years after aging out of the system, an estimated 50 percent of these young adults are unemployed and 70 percent are on public assistance. Fifty percent will experience homelessness. “We cannot thank Raley’s enough for their leadership and support of the iFoster jobs program,” says Serita Cox, executive director of iFoster. “Not only has Raley’s hired our first cohort of youths, but they are providing invaluable guidance in developing the pre-employment curriculum and assessments to develop each youth’s soft skills and job skills.” Funding for the iFoster Jobs Program is provided by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, whose mission is to help youth become successful adults by preparing them to participate fully in their education, their workplaces and their communities. There are nearly 400,000 children and youths in the foster care system. “Providing educational and employment opportunities for foster youths is absolutely critical,” says Jimmy Wayne, former foster child, country music singer and New York Times bestselling author of “Walk to Beautiful,” which recounts his life story. “Most of these children age out of the foster care system well before they are capable of taking care of themselves. It’s significant that a company like Raley’s has stepped up to provide meaningful employment opportunities that will help these young people transition into adulthood and become self-sustaining,” says Wayne. Tom Raley and his daughter Joyce ride together in the Placerville parade.

Congratulations to Family of Fine Food Stores, 80 years strong and

2015 West


This rendering shows Raley’s 36,000-s.f. Arden store, which is expected to open in 2017.

of the YeaR!

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everything—your kitty litter and your milk and your bread... we’re being realistic about the needs of our customers…” Knopf echoes that point. “We continue to look at how to create a shopping environment that is fast and convenient that offers all the choices that are relevant to our customers, and a smaller store format in certain sites makes a lot of sense for us. A smaller footprint could give a tremendously differentiated, exciting shopping experience for our customers.” Knopf reveals that any urban format likely would be in the 40,000-s.f. range, depending on the site and other factors. Though a downtown Sacramento “urban”-style store is not yet a reality, Raley’s does plan to open a smaller format store focused on health and wellness in the city’s Arden neighborhood. Construction on the 36,000-s.f. store at the corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard is slated to begin in mid-2016 with an opening targeted for the second quarter of 2017. “Raley’s takes pride operating our business in one of the richest agriculture hubs in the world,” says Raley’s President and CEO Mike Teel. “Raley’s is helping lead the way to a better food system, and our new site offers an opportunity to continue the innovation.” The state-of-the-art Arden location also will focus on sustainable features—an area of store development and operations in which Raley’s has long been on the cutting edge.

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OCTOBER 2015 • The Shelby Report of the West


2015 Retailer of the Year

Jim and Joyce Raley Teel during a special moment with Colin Powell, American statesman and retired four-star U.S. Army general.

Raley’s dominates in sustainable efforts For Raley’s, sustainability is about making a difference in its communities. The company has numerous programs in place—from composting fruits and vegetables and supporting veterans in the food and farming community to letting its lawns “go brown” as a way to reduce water usage amid California’s historic drought and working hand-in-hand with area producers to source local products. The company continues to remodel and build stores to the most environmental-friendly and energy-efficient standards possible, and it also is implementing other measures to protect the planet. Among some of the company’s most recently announced sustainable initiatives: • In mid-2014, Raley’s introduced the first electric vehicle fast charging station at a retail location in Northern California that features both industry standard fast chargers: CHAdeMO and SAE Combo. It opened at the Nob Hill supermarket in Mountain View. • In 2015, Raley’s launched its Sustainable Seafood program, which focuses on responsible sourcing and the well-being of the oceans. The grocer set a goal of 100 percent sustainable sourcing by 2017. • Raley’s this year became the first major grocery chain in the country to sell produce that might otherwise end up in the landfill. The “Real Good” produce program offers customers scarred, aesthetically challenged produce at a lower cost than unblemished products. Visit to learn more about the grocer’s sustainability efforts.

Personalized customer service In addition to unique, community-customized store offerings and innovative initiatives to make a difference for the planet, Raley’s is a leader when it comes to personalized customer service. “I think it grows out of our desire to know how to best serve each of our customers, and to do that in a way that matters most to them,” says Knopf. “Having personalized offerings for products that customers

Mike Teel has worked for Raley’s since his teens. In the 1990s, he learned the management side of the business from his mentor and coach, Chuck Collings, president and CEO of Raley’s.

Congratulations to 2015 West

retailer of the Year

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Jim and Joyce Raley Teel were strong role models and examples for Mike Teel to follow as he developed his leadership role at Raley’s. Here, Mike is joined by his parents at Raley’s corporate headquarters.

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The Shelby Report of the West • OCTOBER 2015

2015 Retailer of the Year

Through the Years


1935 Thomas P. “Tom” Raley opens his first Raley’s Market in Placerville, California. He levels an empty lot next door, then advertises his store as “the nation’s first drive-in market.”

Tom Raley opens the nation’s first self-service meat counter stocked with pre-packaged meat.

1942 The Placerville store is destroyed by fire. Tom Raley opens stores in Sacramento, California.



Mid-Valley Dairy, a fluid milk processing plant, opens in Fairfield, California, as a joint venture between the Raley’s, Bel Air and Save Mart chains.


1984 Raley’s headquarters opens in West Sacramento.

Joyce Raley Teel, Tom Raley’s only child, officially joins the Raley’s organization as director of community relations.

Joyce Raley Teel and her husband, Jim Teel, become co-chairs of Raley’s board of directors.

1992 Raley’s purchases the Bel Air chain.

WestPac, a dry grocery distribution center, opens in Lathrop, California, a joint venture with Raley’s, Bel Air Markets and Save Mart.

1994 The first Food Source, a warehouse-format store, opens in Folsom, California.

Raley’s opens a distribution center in North Natomas.

Dec. 27: Tom Raley dies. Joyce Raley Teel becomes Raley’s sole owner.

2008 Raley’s becomes the first retailer in California to use new truck filter system and operate the cleanestburning class 8 diesel truck fleet in the world used in day-to-day operation.

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2010 2009 Raley’s becomes the first and only retailer in California—and just second in the nation—to achieve the highest honor from the U.S. EPA’s GreenChill Partnership. Gold-Level Certification recognizes retailers for innovative green refrigeration technology.

Raley’s receives its resolution for its 75th anniversary.

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OCTOBER 2015 • The Shelby Report of the West


2015 Retailer of the Year 1950


Jim Teel joins Raley’s as one of Tom Raley’s most trusted employees.

Raley’s continues its growth in the region. Tom Raley at a 1960sera groundbreaking ceremony for a new Raley’s location.

1973 Tom Raley “tears down the walls” between supermarkets and drug stores, creating his first “Superstore.” Raley’s acquires the Eagle Thrifty chain in Nevada.

Jim Teel showcases Raley’s Feb. 12, 1958, ad that appeared in The Sacramento Bee.

1986 Food For Families, a nonprofit organization, is established to help feed the hungry.

1988 Mid-Valley Dairy opens a second operation in Turlock, California, to process ice cream and yogurt.

1989 Ozark Trucking, a familyowned subsidiary of Raley’s, is established. Super Store Industries is established in Stockton, California, to manage distribution of dry groceries, frozen foods and dairy products.

1997 Raley’s launches the first fleet of liquefied natural gaspowered trucks in the nation.

2003 The Raley’s store in Benicia, California, is the first to offer e-cart, Raley’s exclusive online shopping service.

2012 Raley’s launches its “Something Extra” shopper loyalty program.

2004 Raley’s opens its first Aisle 1, a full-service fuel station, in Galt, California.

2015 2014 Raley’s TV commercials win 24 Telly Awards.

Raley’s begins its third generation of family ownership as Mike Teel becomes majority owner.

Mike Teel, right, pictured with his parents—Jim and Joyce Raley Teel—on March 23 as the Teels received the highest honor from the California Grocers Association (CGA)— induction into the CGA Educational Foundation Hall of Achievement.

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The Shelby Report of the West • OCTOBER 2015

2015 Retailer of the Year From page 25

want at a price that they believe is fair is really important to how we serve. And there are many forms of marketing and advertising that help us connect who we are and what we do to the customer.” The company’s loyalty and rewards program, “Something Extra,” for example, is “very important in our ability to know what our customer expects of us and how to serve that customer and their family,” according to Knopf. Additionally, the company is actively involved on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. “Every one of our stores has and supports a Facebook page that is locally driven by the store team leader and members within the store,” says Knopf, who’s experienced in omnichannel retail. “We, of course, have our company-wide digital campaigns, but more and more of those are becoming personalized to the individual and not just general in nature so that we meet that customer’s expectation of us. And then we have our more traditional messaging that helps people understand who we are, why our people are so important to us, why the communities we serve and the neighborhoods we operate in are so important to Raley’s as a family-owned business. That is very much about our brand and who we are, as much as it is about how we do business.”


Joyce Raley Teel has always been a caring supporter of Raley’s employees and regularly toured stores to keep in touch with them.

In 1979, Tom Raley received the Grocer’s Hall of Fame Award. Pictured are Mike Teel, Joyce Raley Teel, Tom Raley, Frank McMinn, Chuck Collings and Jim Teel.

Tom Raley in the mid-1930s, shortly before opening his first store.

Here’s to you

A 1980s groundbreaking ceremony for a new Raley’s location; Jim Teel and Tom Raley are pictured.

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OCTOBER 2015 • The Shelby Report of the West


2015 Retailer of the Year

In 2000, Raley Field, home of the River Cats, brought baseball back to the Sacramento area. Chuck Collings and Mike Teel are pictured shortly before the field’s opening. Father and daughter in a special photo.

Jim and Joyce Raley Teel in an early 1990s portrait.

Three generations of Raley’s leadership in 1998: Chuck Collings with his wife Frances, Joyce Raley Teel, Mike Teel and Jim Teel.

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Raleys 2015 Retailer of the Year  

Raleys 2015 Retailer of the Year