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Save Mart in process of transformation
10,000 square feet being added to Ceres store
Save Mart
Metal studs are framing up the new entrance to the expanded Save Mart store on Whitmore Avenue at Mitchell Road. An extra 10,000 square feet is being added to the store with the vacancy of the adjoining Rite Aid space. The project will be done soon. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The renovation of the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center at the southwest corner of Whitmore Avenue and Mitchell Road is taking place as the anchor, Save Mart, prepares for a major expansion.

The front of the store is being remodeled while work is taking place inside to move into the adjacent space that once housed Rite Aid. Save Mart corporate spokesperson Stacia Levenfeld said the new store will debut in late May or early June but is dependent upon the weather.

"The inside is coming along really well," commented Ceres store manager Donna Lambert.

"It's a smaller version of the Oakdale store that just had their grand opening."

The improved store will include a pharmacy, expanded meat department with fresh sea food, custom grilled meats, an expanded offering of produce to include organic varieties, a bakery, ready-to-go sandwiches and meals, a soup bar, full service deli, a burrito/taco/nacho bar with tortillas and chips made fresh in the store and café seating area for in-store dining with Wi-Fi available.

Lambert believes that the bakery "is going to be huge ... because I don't have one."

The expansion means Save Mart will be adding 30 to 40 new employees to its existing 40-employee base.

About 10,000 square feet will be added to the store's existing 28,600-square-foot footprint.

"Our new Save Mart brand launched last year, and with the availability of the Rite Aid site, we thought this was a great opportunity to enlarge the store and bring a brand-new Save Mart to the Ceres community," said Levenfeld.

The Ceres store was honored with the "Legacy Award" given at the annual Ceres Chamber of Commerce's awards ceremony in late January. Emcee Eric Ingwerson said Save Mart actively supports more than 150 schools and charities.

In December the Save Mart Companies announced the appointment of Nicole Piccinini Pesco as the company's Chief Executive Officer. Most recently Pesco served as co-president and Chief Strategy and Branding Officer.

The Save Mart Companies is a family-owned, privately held company. Based in the Valley, The Save Mart Companies is committed to sourcing a wide variety of local products. The company employs nearly 16,000 team members and operates 206 traditional and price impact stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky, Lucky California, FoodMaxx, S-Mart, and MaxxValue.