If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Victoria and Dave Williams / Guest CommentaryApril 3, 2013 

Employees at Raley's in Oakhurst told us that the natural food section would be eliminated in March 2013. We were told that Raley's corporate office had made a final decision to redo the layout of all of their 130 stores. Items from the natural foods section would be relocated throughout the store: organic butter with regular butter, organic eggs with eggs, and non- GMO (verified as not genetically modified) products mixed with the regular products.

So shoppers of organic foods, instead of finding most organics in one section, would have to walk to many more sections. We were told that Raley's wanted to add many more "natural" food items.

To see what this might look like we went to several Raley's stores in Sacramento where they have already made this change. We found it confusing. The employees told us that they are still getting complaints from customers who can not find items. They also told us that changing their store layout had not generated the increased profits that were expected.

Back in Oakhurst, March 2013 has come and gone and the Oakhurst Raley's store layout remains the same. We emailed Raley's Corporate Service Center and they replied, "The integration of the natural foods section has been put on hold for now. We may revisit this change late this year." Raley's corporate office is postponing reorganizing any more stores.

We hope you are as grateful as we are. No reason to inconvenience your loyal customers if it doesn't increase your profits.

Did the letter from our community also help to slow them down? Maybe. Last December, a letter was sent to Raley's corporate office with over 350 signatures of local customers asking that they not change the layout of the Raley's store in Oakhurst. .

At Raley's the non-food items are all on the far left side. You do not have to walk through them every time you shop.

The basic layout of Raley's was set up by Tom Raley in the early 80s. There are still folks in this town who helped him do it. It was his innovative idea to have a natural foods section in his grocery stores. Currently, based on our signature gathering efforts, we found that the vast majority of Raley's customers in Oakhurst appreciate the layout of the store as it is. As the saying goes: If it ain't broke -- Don't fix it.

If you would like to let Raley's know how you feel about this issue, you can call the Raley's customer service center at (800) 925-9989 or comment on line at Raleys.com.

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