Mill Valley has long been laden with grocery stores, boasting not one but two Whole Foods Markets, a pair of Safeways along with Mil Valley Market and Good Earth Natural Foods.

In recent years, Marin City shoppers have either had to head north or make due with what’s available at Target.

That dearth of options ends this week, as Grocery Outlet, a longstanding chain, has made Marin City home to its 471st location and the first to open in Marin County since the San Rafael market in 2020, according to Kate Haga, a spokesperson for owners Chantha Vath and her husband Bruce Uy, told the Marin Independent Journal. Grocery Outlet is based in Emeryville and, aside from California, has stores in Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Grocery Outlet will fill the space formerly occupied by CVS, which closed in 2021. The site used to be a Longs Drugs store.

The store at 150 Donahue St. open at 7am Thursday, March 7th. Vath told the IJ she hopes for 1,000 customers on opening day.

“We are so thrilled to be a part of the Marin City community and provide some relief with big savings on quality groceries,” Uy told the IJ. “This partnership with Grocery Outlet gives us the ability to grow our business, create new jobs and, more importantly, give back to the local community.”

The store is in the Marin Gateway Shopping Center, which has 182,000 square feet of retail space and 900 parking spots. It opened in 1997 as part of the Marin City USA economic redevelopment project in the spot of a flea market. The center is owned by the Gerrity Group, a real estate management company in San Diego County.

The community has long needed a full-service grocery store at the shopping center, the Rev. Floyd Thompkins of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church told the IJ. While the nearby Target store offers some groceries, a full-service site, especially with discount prices, will benefit the community, he said. Thompkins organized a hiring fair to staff the Grocery Outlet. Sixty-five people applied for 35 positions, and the event resulted in a “high percentage” of local hires and some who are able to walk to work, Thompkins said.

“I think the whole community is excited about having good food and produce that are affordable in the city,” he added. “This reduces the stigma of Marin City. We have a wonderful, diverse, amazing community that has incredible opportunities. It extraordinarily changes the dialogue about here.”

Felecia Gaston, a community advocate and organizer, said she is grateful for the opportunities the store will provide. “I love shopping there for many reasons, their wholesale prices are the best when feeding hundreds of children in the Performing Stars program and it’s always fresh,” she said, referring to the nonprofit organization she leads. “What I spend at large grocery stores, it’s always half the price. Most significantly, the store is close in proximity for many of the residents.”

Katie Haga, a spokesperson for the store, said community partnerships were crucial to introducing the market into the area. She said the company will make a $1,000 donation to a church backpack program for homeless people.

The Marin City store will offer gift cards for the first 100 customers at the opening event, and all new customers will receive a reusable shopping bag.


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