The Atwater community will experience a new, highly-affordable, quality shopping experience starting Thursday, November 17 with the Grand Opening of the new Grocery Outlet at 1093 Bellevue Road.
Doors open at 7 a.m. And then the fun and savings start! Get ready for lots of giveaways, including free limited-edition reusable bags decorated with Atwater themes and gift cards while supplies last, along with sign-ups to win free turkeys for Thanksgiving and grocery reward certificates.
Also, a community ribbon-cutting and donation ceremony will be held by the Old Town Atwater group at 10 a.m.
The store owners are Bobby and Ronica McGhee, and they are local residents who believe in investing in the community.
They also have a personal story that’s overflowing with serendipity.
Bobby grew up in Merced, and about 17 years ago he worked as a store manager at the Kmart in Atwater — right at the site where the new Grocery Outlet is located today.
And that’s where he met his future wife, a Modesto native who was also working at the store and going to college at the time. Ronica like Bobby so much she quit her job just to date him. They stayed together for about 14 years and finally were married in 2018.
Meanwhile they started their first Grocery Outlet store in Stockton for a couple years, and then moved to Mammoth Lakes and started another one. Eventually they decided to move back to Bobby’s hometown of Merced and open up a Grocery Outlet there at 1125 W. Main Street.
Incredibly, they opened on March 13, 2020 — right when the COVID-19 pandemic starting.
It was an incredible difficult situation, but the owners and staff struggled through it and kept the operation up until things started to flourish again.
Today the Merced store is doing very well, and when a site for a new Grocery Outlet store in Atwater came up on the company’s construction map, Bobbie McGhee said he jumped at the opportunity. He has always liked the community of Atwater, and today his children attend schools in the Atwater and McSwain area.
To help out, he recruited an old employee from Stockton to become the local store manager.
“I was 18, just out of high school, when I started at Grocery Outlet,” says Nayannah Krauland. “It was my first job out of high school.”
Krauland has moved up in the company from cashier to produce manager to now store manager. “Bobby is a great owner and he has taught me everything I know as a grocery outlet worker. He has taught how to be a good worker, a good person, and how to help out the community as well,” she says. “I have two little kids at home. It’s the environment that Grocery Outlet creates. It’s very family oriented. It’s a great career for me. It keeps me happy and positive, and I love the environment.”
Krauland moved her family to Atwater just a month ago, and she says she loves her new home.
Committed to hiring local, the McGhees also hired 22 residents straight from the Atwater area.
Bobby McGhee is sure the Atwater community is going to enjoy having a Grocery Outlet next door.
“I like to call it a treasure hunt,” he says “You will see a lot of things that you don’t normally see in a traditional grocery store. And of course, our focus is providing value to the customer. It’s a really great place to shop especially right now as we all deal with inflation. We pride ourselves on buying items at a very discounted rate, and then passing the savings on to customers.”