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SALT LAKE CITY -- In a few months, a major new player will be coming to Utah to compete for your grocery dollars. Winco Foods, based in Boise, has announced plans to expand to the Utah market, bringing with it low prices and several hundred new jobs.
Construction is moving briskly at Winco Foods initial store sites in West Valley and Midvale. These two stores, about 94,000 square feet in size, will be open this fall, and construction will begin later at a site in Roy, with a scheduled opening for spring of 2010.
Winco has been around since the mid-1960s. It currently has 66 stores in five western states. The company has been looking at Utah for some time.
"Really, it's filled with people we consider to be our core customer. Winco's core customer tends to be young, growing families, living on a budget," said Mike Read, spokesman for Winco Foods.
Winco stores carry all major brands of groceries, meats, produce and bulk food products in a warehouse-type format. The stores are open 24 hours a day.
Though not yet a household name in Utah, Winco says it's ready to play in a very competitive grocery arena. "We consider ourselves to be the area's supermarket low price leader wherever we operate," Read said.
"Utah has always been a very competitive marketplace with a good mix of chain and independents, and this is just going to stir the pot even more," said Jason Olsen, president of the Utah Food Industry Association.
Winco is employee-owned, which means each worker receives company stock as part of their pension every year. It's a system that's produced extreme loyalty among the 12,000 employees, and hundreds more will soon join them in Utah.
"Most of these stores will open with approximately 200 employees, and all of them, with the exception of store management and department management, will be hired locally," Read said.
It's yet another positive boost to Utah's economy and employment picture.