Geoff Pickle
Web Editor
Springfield Business Journal

Save-A-Lot grocery store entered the Springfield market today under management by licensee Ozarks Value Food Stores Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Summer Fresh Supermarkets Inc.

The 17,000-square-foot store, located within the Northview Shopping Center at 1117 E. Commercial St., cost roughly $1 million for renovations, fixtures, infill and other work, according to Brent Brown, president and CEO of Summer Fresh and Ozarks Value Food Stores.

Brown said Springfield is ripe for the value store concept, as people are watching their money closely, including their grocery dollars.

"I feel like we can service a need not just in this neighborhood but in this market," he said, noting that the company may add one or two more Save-A-Lot stores in Springfield.

Brown added that the store's focus on fresh goods - including an in-store butcher - makes the store stand out among competitors.

"We bring the fresh meat, we bring the fresh produce, and along with that, we bring affordable groceries up and down the aisle," he said.

Ozarks Value Food Stores chose Matthew Bailey of Bailey Co. as general contractor for the project and Brian Kubik of Buxton Kubik Dodd Creative as architect.

The company's only other Save-A-Lot franchise store opened June 30 in Baxter Springs, Kan.

Save-A-Lot operates more than 1,200 stores nationwide under the banner of Minneapolis-based SuperValu Inc. It also provides licenses to other store owners. As a licensee, Ozarks Value Foods gains the right to use the Save-A-Lot name and its warehouse and distribution facilities, and about 50 private-label product lines.

Ozarks Value Foods leases the store location from Robert Stoeppelmann. The company has the option to buy the space, which Brown said is under discussion.

Save-A-Lot represents a re-entry into the market for Summer Fresh Supermarkets Inc., which sold its sole Springfield store at 220 W. Plainview Road to Community Blood Center of the Ozarks in the fall of 2007.

The space at Northview Shopping Center previously housed Majestic Flea Market. Brown said its owners closed that store and reopened on the west side of the center as John's Furniture and Antiques.