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Two Years Ago: Downtown's Ralphs Opens

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, July 20, 2009, at 11:20AM
Ribbon Cutting Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Elected officials, business leaders and Ralphs representatives cut a ribbon outside the new Downtown store on July 20, 2007.

A few minutes after 11:30am on July 20, 2007, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Councilwoman Jan Perry joined a host of dignitaries to cut the ribbon as Ralphs opened its 50,000 square foot Fresh Fare store at 9th and Flower.

Downtown's first new grocery store in 50 years, the opening was the year's biggest story.

The store blew through initial sales projections, becoming one of the highest performers in the Ralphs chain. The store featured the chain's first catering department, and the deli immediately did a stellar number with lunch specials.

Two years in, it's almost hard to remember Downtown life pre-Ralphs. While it was hard to believe the hype the opening received before it opened, it would be easy to argue that it has lived up to it.

At the same time, though, Downtowners continue to clamor for more options. Ralphs' prices, particularly at the deli, are certainly high. Residents have looked toward the planned Fig Central and Grand Avenue Projects, as well as open space at 7+Fig, as sites for a potential alternative like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

It's hard to believe that the crowds and festivities that surrounded the Ralphs opening were really two years ago. When we look back and put together a timeline of Downtown's rebirth, July 20, 2007, will certainly get a circle.


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