Big stores, big things afoot

Raley’s gets a makeover; Penneys jumps into appliance market

It had been a while since I stepped foot in a Raley’s, so when I heard about the recent remodel at the store on Notre Dame Boulevard, I was intrigued. I do most of my grocery shopping at Safeway, which I happen to live closest to. But I’ll often wander into other stores—Winco if I’m in the neighborhood and need to stock up on food staples; New Earth Market for cheese; S&S Produce for bacon …

So, my boyfriend and I were at Home Depot recently and, since we were in the neighborhood, stopped into Raley’s to check out the new look. It’s impressive. The aisles are wide and the décor is modern while feeling warm and welcoming. Frankly, it reminded me of homier markets like New Earth or Holiday in Paradise.

One of the coolest features was in the cold cases. Our visit was late at night, around 10 or so, so there weren’t a lot of shoppers. As we walked to the rear of the store, looking for salami to pair with our cheese, the cases, which were dark, began to light up. Gone are the days of turning off the lights on every other aisle to preserve electricity—just put in motion sensors! Genius!

The appliance game For those who frequent the Chico Mall, you’ve always known you could stop into Sears and check out major appliances. Now you can do the same at JC Penney. Starting last month, the department store chain began selling refrigerators, washing machines, etc., at about 500 stores, including Chico’s.

Apparently the added merchandise is all part of the company’s new strategy announced late last year, which also includes an upgraded mobile app that allows shoppers to upload coupons as well as order online for in-store pickup or delivery. The store is also working to increase its clothing options for plus-size, petite and big-and-tall customers.

Happy birthday! I didn’t realize it because Evans Furniture Galleries’ Chico store has been open only since 2010 (it took over the space vacated by Ashley Furniture HomeStore), but the business got its start 50 years ago in Yuba City. That’s quite a milestone. The family-owned business, which also has a location in Redding, celebrated this week. Congrats!

Big time I recently wrote about a local app company called Pocket Points, which rewards students for turning their cellphones off while they’re in class. Well, co-founder Mitch Gardner emailed me recently to let me know that the company has formed a partnership with Office Depot, which has become the “exclusive, national school supply retailer on Pocket Points.” Not too shabby.