West Sacramento-based Raley's said today that it plans to build a new Raley's Supermarket on Freeport Boulevard.
Exactly when and where that new store will be built is up in the air.
Raley's spokesman John Segale issued this statement via email: "A decision has been made to build a new store at our Freeport site in the coming years, but we have no specific time frame or start date. Until the new store is constructed, we will improve our existing store to continue to provide our customers with the best shopping experience."
Early this afternoon, Raley's said the new store would be constructed at the former Capital Nursery site it purchased last year at 4700 Freeport Blvd. Currently, Raley's operates a 61,000-square-foot Raley's Supermarket at nearby 4850 Freeport Blvd., a store dating back to the late 1950s.
Raley's subsequently pulled back from that, saying a decision has not been made whether to build the new store at the Capital Nursery site or on the site of the existing store.
The current store site is on about 4.5 acres, and the former Capital Nursery site is on a little more than 9 acres.
Raley's officials apparently were caught off guard by handbills being distributed to Raley's customers at the existing Freeport Boulevard store. The handbills implied that plans for a "replacement store" at the Capital Nursery site were moving along: " ... the process for plans, zoning and permits has officially begun. While we do not have a target completion date at this point, we are making every effort to move as quickly as the process allows."
Segale said the handbill was "long on the future but short on the specifics ... You might think things are happening much quicker than they will be. I know it's not going to happen Oct. 1."
The customer handbills, which had the name of Store Director Ron Konkel at the bottom, noted that the current Raley's store is undergoing enhancements that include new paint, graphics and paving.
Raley's bought Capital Nursery's property on Freeport Boulevard for an undisclosed price in June last year, a move that was intended to boost the nursery's shaky finances while protecting Raley's turf from competitive grocers.
But just two months later, Capital Nursery announced that its financial struggles were too great and it would close the outlet on Freeport Boulevard. And by the end of 2012, the other two Capital Nursery stores in Citrus Heights and Elk Grove had likewise closed their doors.
Raley's insisted that the Capital Nursery property purchase served as a buffer against a competitor building at the site. The West Sacramento grocer has seen scores of competitors move onto its Northern California turf in recent years, eroding market share in highly competitive supermarket segment.
Raley's said the nursery site purchase would enable it to preserve jobs at one of its oldest and best locations.
Read more Thursday in The Sacramento Bee and at Sacbee.com.
Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.