Food 4 Less Replacing Ralphs on La Sierra / Indiana

Update 06/05/14: I heard yesterday that the Ralph’s closure has been postponed. I had to pick up some things yesterday at Ralph’s, and confirmed this with one of the employees while I was there. The employee didn’t know how long it would be postponed, but thought that it was due to the complaints from the community.

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My neighborhood is abuzz with the news that the Ralphs in Riverside on La Sierra and Indiana will close in July, to be replaced by a Food 4 Less (both Kroger owned grocery chains). I called the Kroger customer service line this morning and was told that this is true.

I have heard from many people who have said that they will not shop at Food 4 Less, but will shop at Stater Bros. across the street instead. There is even a petition on change.org to save the Ralphs at 3350 La Sierra Ave.

I shop at this Ralphs too, and would like to keep it open. It is the closest grocery store to my home. However, I don’t know the store’s financial situation. This may be a smart move by Kroger, or it might be a horrible one because much of its customer base (present and future; there are still homes being built across the street) might shop elsewhere.

Since learning about this, I have not heard very nice things about Food 4 Less. While it is supposedly less expensive, I have heard that it is not as nice as Ralphs, has a smaller selection, and requires the customers to bag their own groceries.

I have never been inside of a Food 4 Less store, so I stopped by the Food 4 Less on McKinley in Corona yesterday to check it out.

ffl-14

(Click for larger images)
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During my visit, I saw people bagging their own groceries, so that seems to be true. This seems very inconvenient, especially for parents with small children or people who require physical assistance. Food 4 Less also looks more like a warehouse store than a grocery store, and has fewer choices than Ralphs (at least for the items I buy regularly).

Since I am not the primary shopper in my house, I wasn’t sure about the price advantage, so I decided to price shop a few items at Food 4 Less, Ralphs and Stater Bros.

I looked at four items that I thought each store would stock. The following prices were from yesterday, 04/23/14.

Food 4 Less Ralphs Stater Bros.
1 gallon 2% Milk * 3.39 3.49 3.69
18 Grade AA Eggs ** 3.39 3.39 3.49
10 oz Jack Link’s 12.89 12.99 12.99
Fuji Apples, per lb. 0.99 0.99 1.59

 
* Food 4 Less was $3.39 each if you bought two, not sure of the price for one
** Food 4 Less and Stater Bros had Grade AA Large; Ralphs had Grade AA Extra Large

Long story short, if I had bought two gallons of milk, 18 eggs, a bag of beef jerky and a pound of apples (a very possible shopping trip for me), I would have spent $24.05 at Food 4 Less, $24.35 at Ralphs and $25.45 at Stater Bros (before tax). Some of the items were on sale and I didn’t use any coupons. I assume there will always be pricing fluctuations between the stores, but these were the prices I would have paid yesterday.

Just comparing Ralphs to Food 4 Less, I would have saved $0.30 (about 1.25%), but I would have ended up with smaller eggs and would have had to bag my own groceries. Food 4 Less also has a smaller selection and is nowhere near as nice of a shopping experience. Definitely not worth it.

Stater Bros was a little more expensive, but the store is very nice inside and seems to carry a wider selection of groceries than Food 4 Less. I even found a few items that Ralphs doesn’t carry, and when I bought them, the checkers were extremely friendly.

I confirmed with a US Bank rep yesterday, that the US Bank will still be there when the new store opens. When I use the ATM, I will see what this Food 4 Less is like, but I currently have absolutely no plans to shop there. It appears that I am not alone.

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A bit more info if you would like to keep reading:

I actually looked at more items, but they all had different packaging sizes and I would have had to calculate the price per ounce or item. I didn’t think that would have been a fair comparison.

Just in case anyone thinks I’m making up the prices, here are pictures from yesterday:

The milk:

ffl-04ralphs-02stater-bros-04

The eggs:

ffl-05ralphs-04stater-bros-06

The beef jerky:

ffl-01ralphs-01stater-bros-02

The apples:

ffl-03ralphs-03stater-bros-01

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Additional pictures added 06/29/14:

I have seen some recent comments about the freshness of Food 4 Less vs. Ralph’s. When I took pictures for this post, I also got some pictures that showed the expiration dates of eggs and milk. I didn’t get pictures of every container, but the pictures I did get show the following expiration dates:

Food 4 Less (taken 04/23/14):
Eggs: 05/14/14
Milk: 05/06/14 – 05/08/14

ffl-eggs-expffl-milk-exp-2ffl-milk-exp-1

Ralph’s (taken 04/23/14):
Eggs: 05/05/14 – 05/17/14
Milk: 05/07/14

ralphs-eggs-exp-2ralphs-eggs-exp-1ralphs-milk-exp

16 comments

  • Thank you! I was hoping you’d do an article on this! Still fighting for our Ralphs!

  • Wendy

    I don’t want a food 4 less in my neighborhood . Please don’t close our Ralph’s

  • Jay

    Food 4 Less has far more competitive prices hands down to any other competitors. Customers bag their own grocery because that’s where the a
    savings comes from. Less overhead more savings for the customers.

  • Angelica

    The last time i went to a food 4 less about 6 months ago i didnt see any organic foods at all.

  • Paka. Haase

    Sad that Ralph it’s bring replaced. . Not happy):

  • Cindy

    It’s hard to fathom why they would put another food for less when one is within two miles off McKinley and one within three miles off van buren. It is horrible store that many people from that area will not shop in. You would think the company would research that better. Maybe that’s why they have financial trouble because of bad decisions

  • Tricia

    I will not shop at FFL ever. I’m disgusted. I loved Ralph’s.

  • I live in Victoria Grove and prefer to shop at Ralphs, I love Ralphs! Please don’t close it.!

  • Krysta Gross

    I am completely appalled that our neighborhood Ralph’s is being replaced by a Food 4 Less. Some people spend years working on a degree, to achieve a high paying career, work hard everyday to provide a beautiful home for their family, a great school for their children, and live in a classy desirable neighborhood, and then you want to lower our property value by placing a Food 4 Less down the street??? I would rather spend more money and shop in a CLEAN store, with excellent meat, dairy, fish and produce, etc….than step foot in a Food 4 Less to get a bargain, not to mention after working all day have to bag my own groceries. I am VERY displeased and will not be shopping in your Food 4 Less. Wrong move Kroger…. Thanks a lot. Our community really appreciates the downgrade.

  • John Feko

    It looks like the apple display is half empty at Food For Less. A lot of second rate qaulity produce from the stores I have seen!

  • Jayne

    I agree with Krysta wholeheartedly. My family has lived in the Orchards for almost 20 years. We can remember when Doi Farms had a little stand to buy produce and nuts. We were delighted when the shopping area that Ralph’s is located was built and love the stores there. They are very convenient and we love the Ralph’s Supermarket. I will not set foot in a Food4Less. I am not a snob but the clientele is less than desirable. We will definitely take our business elsewhere. I prefer a relaxed shopping atmosphere and do not want to be on guard constantly while shopping.

  • Kay

    They are closing the Food 4 Less on McKinley and moving all of the employees from that store to the new one. Also a lot of the Ralph’s employees will not have a job anymore once it gets shut down. Even those who have seniority may be losing their job as well. I also heard that if they were a Ralph’s employee who gets hired at the Food 4 Less the employees may get a pay cut as well.

    • ole

      I heard yesterday that the Ralph’s closure has been postponed. I had to pick up some things yesterday at Ralph’s, and confirmed this with one of the employees while I was there. The employee didn’t know how long it would be postponed, but thought that it was due to the complaints from the community.

  • robert

    Not only did the owner of the Ralphs keep it a secret by not notifying the neighborhoods, this change has been in place for 4 years and the owner kept it secret from the employees – how unfair is that – impacts to some of those employees would be extreme, some would have to move or retire. Why, because Food 4 Less hires minimum wage workers. Nothing wrong with that – people have to start somewhere, however its not conducive to for a career or high quality service without good leadership, which Ralphs employees have. A nice store with a great selection of items and great customer service is a plus when people are marking these nice neighborhoods. Four years ago the economy was worse off and maybe the profits were lower – you don’t have to have a Masters in Business as I do to see the potential with all the new housing development in the area – which is picking up again. This is an owner that may have been intimidated with the economy as we all have been four years ago. Why now? Once the owner got word of the protest – the employees were instructed not to talk about it with the customers or get fired! Nice – guess what – it did not stop the customers from sharing their feelings about this dumb decision. If it is true, that the change was postponed as the person above wrote – then maybe, just maybe there is some hope to keep our Ralphs as it is! Just don’t expect the owner to notify anyone.

  • art

    Better produce, better meats, better selections of all products. I cook in my home and Italian selection of products are stocked in Ralphs. Other markets in area do not meet my needs, higher prices they charge for lower quality produce. If special cut meat ham is needed they will cut full ham in slices for pan cooking. Ralphs needs to look at what and how this will impact or area.

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