Payless Foods to take over Vons location

DOWNEY - Payless Foods, the nearly 30-year-old grocery store chain based in Hawthorne, which operates several locations throughout Greater Los Angeles, has just finalized plans to open a new store in Downey this spring, after securing the rights to the 28,000-square-foot building once occupied by Vons Market. "We're very excited to come to Downey," said Dan McDivitt, general manager for Payless Foods. "All our surveys say that Downey is a great place to do business, it's densely populated and the store will be on a main thoroughfare. We think it's going to be a tremendous success." After Vons announced its closure last October, Payless Foods, hoping to expand into the area, bid against nearly a half dozen other grocery store chains, all interested in leasing the vacant building, McDivitt said. "We placed the winning bid and beat out the other chains to get the location," he said. "We are always looking at opportunities to grow our company. It's no secret that the economy is tough, but we have good stores that provide great service to the communities they serve…the residents are really going to enjoy it." McDivitt acknowledges that the former Vons structure is in need of repair and ensures residents that the more than 50-year-old building will be thoroughly renovated. "Actually, we just finalized the plans last week," said McDivitt. "The store will have a full service meat department with live butchers. We're going to redo the bakery and hot foods area. We're going to build out a brand new produce department and redo the décor of course. "It'll be a 56-year-old building that looks like a brand new store," he said with a laugh. Founded in 1983 by brothers, and business partners, Bijan and Frank Rodd, Payless Foods first opened in the city of Carson and later spread throughout Los Angeles County. Today, the company has more than 700 employees and operates 10 store locations in the cities of El Monte, Carson, Los Angeles, Pacoima, Gardena, Sun Valley, San Fernando, Norwalk and Montebello. Once completed, the Downey location, located at 10001 Paramount Blvd., will become the company's eleventh store. Brian Saeki, community development director for the city of Downey, believes the new supermarket further reflects Downey's fiscal resilience throughout the economic slump. "This is just a sign of the desire of businesses to be in this town," said Saeki. "Downey has the diversity, the demographics to do anything and accommodate anyone. It's all market driven. If businesses see there's a market here - they'll come." The new Downey location will require almost 100 workers, a mixture of both new hires from the community and experienced employees from other Payless Foods locations nearby, McDivitt said. According to Payless Foods, the new, remodeled store is scheduled to open in April. McDivitt, a former resident of Downey himself, hopes members of the community will embrace the emerging supermarket chain. "It's going to be an all-new store with the finest produce and meat in town," said McDivitt. "We're going to provide great service to our customers and we welcome them to come for themselves. Once they experience it, they'll be back."