Discount grocery store brings new life to Bluff Street shopping center vacated by Albertsons, Jo-Ann

Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – On Wednesday, Traders Discount Markets will open in the shopping center on the corner of 700 South and Bluff Street in St. George, alongside some 15 businesses ranging from chain retailers Kmart and Payless ShoeSource to “Mom and Pop” stores 1st Survival Gear and PC Innovation Computers.

Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News
Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

“I’m hoping it will increase all of the shopping center’s business,” said Marcia Moss, owner of Dandylion Wishes. “I think it will be a good thing. We’ll wait and see.”

Traders Discount Markets will occupy the building at 855 South Bluff that was vacated by Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts in the summer of 2012.

The shopping center has been short a grocery store since Albertsons closed in July 2013, citing a lack of profitability and overwhelming competition. The loss of two major retailers within a year was a tough blow to neighboring businesses.

“It did hurt everybody in the plaza,” RadioShack sales manager Kevin Vasquez said. “We didn’t have as many people shopping here that came over to look around.”

Travis J. Parry, a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield | Commerce in St. George, said that the complex is bound to benefit from the arrival of Traders Discount Markets. However, given its age (built in the mid-1980s) and lack of any recent upgrades, the probability of any larger retailer giving it the boost it really needs is slim.

“I’d say the market going to bring some foot traffic and will most likely be a positive for the shopping center,” he said. “How much it will help remains to be seen. It depends on how good they are at marketing and advertising.”

“I would definitely try it out. The name is enticing,” local resident Eric Yunker said. “I’m glad another grocery store is moving in.”

Dan Krispin, co-owner of Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News
Dan Krispin, co-owner of Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

Traders Discount Markets was created by local couples Dan and Jenny Krispin, and Hank and Mariangela Landau. Having worked in the grocery industry, Dan Krispin’s goal was to eventually own a store. He presented the idea of opening a discount market to the Landaus around Christmas, and they agreed to go into business together.

“It’s been a whirlwind. It feels like we started 20 minutes ago!” Mariangela Landau said.

The Krispins have lived in St. George since 1992 and care about the community; they want to provide their neighbors with an affordable place to shop so that every family can get what they need, Jenny Krispin said.

Their growing staff consists of 14 employees. Most previously worked at Staples on Bluff Street, and were laid off when the store closed on March 29. And while grocery chains tend to hire at minimum wage, Traders Discount Market workers will start slightly higher, as Dan Krispin believes “you get what you pay for.”

The store will carry not only grocery, but health and beauty, bakery, general merchandise, paper and plastic, cleaning and laundry, baby and kids, and pet products. Additionally, fresh produce, purchased directly from growers in southern California, will be offered in the near future.

“I would consider shopping at Traders Discount Markets,” local resident Jamie Bahlmann said. “I would check price point and quality, and then base my decision on those two things.”

Products are overstock, discontinued or defective (dented boxes, ripped packaging, etc.) that chain stores refuse to carry. Manufacturers, needing to make a profit, sell them to discount stores at greatly reduced prices, allowing the customer the same benefit.

With 40-60 percent savings on most items, Dan Krispin said there is no other store in the St. George area that can compete with Traders Discount Markets.

Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News
Traders Discount Markets, St. George, Utah, April 12, 2014 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

Frugality extends beyond the products they carry. The store’s checkstands were bought from a Kroger in South Carolina, the shelves from an Ace Hardware in Phoenix, and most of the shopping carts were discarded by Home Depot.

They have hired virtually no help outside of their own staff to renovate and prepare the store for business. Every day, the Krispin and Landau families arrive around 7 a.m. and often, don’t leave until midnight.

“That’s what it takes to make something like this happen,” Dan Krispin said.

“We’re thrilled to have the new business in here,” Cat Lofgran of Focus Eye Center said. “It’ll bring more people back to the center and hopefully, create some excitement.”

Though the store is opening for business Wednesday, Traders Discount Markets will hold a grand opening event within the next 45 days. Special deals, coupons and other announcements will be posted via Facebook.

Event details and contact information

  • What: Opening day of Traders Discount Markets | Website or Facebook
  • When: Wednesday, April 16, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: 855 South Bluff Street, St. George in the Kmart shopping center
  • Contact/more information: Traders Discount Markets – 435-714-6526435-714-6526

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  • lindalu April 16, 2014 at 10:54 am

    So excited about this store coming into town. Just wish that it was a little closer to Bloomington! We need a store where they are building the new Maverik! Good luck, and you will certainly see me shopping there. I travel across town now to Smith’s because their prices are so much better than Harmon’s, so I can’t wait to see what I get for my buck at Traders!

  • Matthew Sevald April 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I’m genuinely intrigued by this. At first glance I thought it was going to be a giant dollar store, but it looks like this will be worth a trip to investigate.
    A note to the owner: I worked in grocery for many years and have been shopping even longer. PLEASE have enough checkouts and cashiers working at busy times. There is nothing more absolutely INFURIATING than to have to stand in a long check out line, particularly if the cashier is slow or incompetent. A good rule of thumb is 3-5 people in line means another check out stand is opened. The whole transaction per customer should really be about 3-5 minutes long for a large cart (emptying, ringing, bagging, and paying without customer’s help). I used to meet that goal, your people can too if you push and reward them.
    You can’t stop what customers come in (several carts, coupons, food stamp/check book/separate receipts combos) but you can absolutely affect how fast people get through your lines by keeping registers open and hiring and rewarding fast, polite, competent cashiers. I personally don’t want to kibitz with the cashier, I want them to greet me, smile, and then bust their butt scanning and bagging quickly. It’s a job, not a social event. Polite and fast is all I want, not a friend. I will even help bag my own things to make the process faster. Please do not have a bunch of slow, old people like Walmart does. You can tell they hate their jobs are are simply there for 8 hours to get a paycheck, regardless of how long they make you wait.
    I know the cost of labor is one of the primary ways grocers offset Shrink loss, but I’ll pay 10 cents more an item if you pay to have enough cashiers open to handle the rushes, and pay them well to do the job they need to do.
    Best of luck! You’re at a unique turning point to set a new standard for grocers in the area. Congratulations!

    • Numbereightyfive April 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      You make a point but you forget customers can too slow a line down. As a cashier myself, I’ve had customers who swipe their card and just stand there like they’re waiting for me to punch in their pin. If you use a card enough. You’ll know that most machines ask for your pin, cash back and correct amount, time after time I get customers who’ll take forever completing a transaction. Two, speed is not always a good thing, easiest way to be overcharged for double items or an item may ring up more than you thought but missed it and end up paying for it. Another thing, most business want you to integrative with customers to get them to come back, anyway to drive sales.

  • Joanna April 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I’m so excited, and really rooting for these folks. I love shopping at our little K-Mart, and have been concerned for years that it would close. Anything that brings it more business is great. So I’ll definitely be stopping by this grocery to support the new business! (Now if we could get another Big Lots, I’d really be tickled!)

  • Kevin April 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I have personally known the owner, Dan for many years. If anyone can make this store work, he can. I even worked with him at a previous grocery store and he ran it very, very well. I am excited to see that he is opening his own store. Definetely go and check it out. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by it!!

  • My Evil Twin April 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I am also happy to see a new store opening! I do hope that when you eventually start getting your produce, that you have a produce manager who knows what he is doing! I’ve lived in a lot of places over the years, but outside of some really “backwoods” places, I’ve never seen as bad produce, as I see here in Dixie. And it really doesn’t seem to matter which store I go to, they are all less than desirable.

    • My Evil Twin April 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Oh one more thing, don’t worry about “competing” with WalMart. All you have to do is keep your shelves stocked and have polite, helpful staff!

  • Sagemoon April 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I can’t wait to go shopping here! I’ve really missed Big Lots and it sounds like some of their products will fill that gap for me plus offer even more.

  • matt April 16, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Hoping this will be more like “Food for Less”. That was my favorite grocery store. BTW some have mentioned Biglots, They closed because their rent was raised too high, they will be relocating soon. Maybe next door at the old Albertsons building.

  • Mary April 17, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I hope BigLots relocating is true. I very much miss that store. The furniture prices were AWESOME!!

  • Christine April 18, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I’ve been twice since they opened, They have lots of good deals, but watch out for the expired merchandise. I know that some things are still good after the “so-called” expiration date, but I got some pudding snacks that expired 9 months ago…

  • Jeziyo April 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Shopped there earlier today, great place to get your snacks on the cheap. Can’t beat .50 for a pack of king sized M&Ms. From the looks of it, almost everything there is expired goods but I’m sure that there are safety health guidelines that business must follow so I’m ok with. As long as they don’t start saling expired meat, they’ll be fine, lol

  • chris May 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    We just started a new site to map out these discount grocery stores. Please if you like this share it with your friends and family, also we plan to add other types of stores that will help you and your family save!

  • carina May 12, 2014 at 11:29 am

    We just moved here from Utah County and was pretty stressed about keeping enough food on the table with prices being as high as they are on groceries.
    So when I found this store, I was so super excited about it. I don’t care about expired items or damaged boxes. The price is right and I’m so happy this store is here

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