Big Lots Location | Grocery Outlet Shows Interest in Coming to South Pasadena

Major supermarket chain looks to move into former location of Big Lots on Huntington Drive in the city

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | Former Big Lots in South Pasadena

A major grocery chain, which calls its prices “nothing short of pure bliss,” has shown interest in opening a store in South Pasadena.

Grocery Outlet is looking to open one of its newest stores at the site of the former Big Lots, which recently relocated to Alhambra. The food chain now has 300-plus locations nationwide and would take over the property at 1401 Huntington Drive after meeting all the requirements to set up shop in South Pasadena.

“They submitted an application for permits which will be reviewed by the Planning Commission in either February or March,” confirmed South Pasadena City Councilmember Dr. Marina Khubesrian.

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Added Rachel McGuire, the city of South Pasadena’s interim public information officer: “The city is currently processing applications for an administrative use permit (AUP) to allow the operation of a grocery store and a conditional use permit to allow the sales of alcohol in the grocery store.”

Like Khubesrian, she said both applications are anticipated to go to Planning Commission in February or March.

According to its website, Grocery Outlet has been “helping customers save big since 1946. That’s when our founder Jim Read opened his very first store, selling military surplus at deep discount prices.”

In those days it was known as Cannery Sales as the store operated in San Francisco. Following Read’s death in 1982, his sons Peter and Steven ran the company, and five years later changed its name to Grocery Outlet.

In 2009, the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market format was born, reflecting its evolution into a neighborhood market with significant savings on meat, produce and name brand products.

Today, reads the website, the third generation of the Read family is leading the way, “with more than 1.5 million shoppers hitting the aisles each week.”

“That makes Grocery Outlet the nation’s largest extreme value retailer. A feat we’re more than proud of,” reads the site. “How do we do it? With the help of our brilliant buyers who shop the world, traveling thousands of miles each year to find the most thrilling deals on brand name groceries. Whether it’s through packaging changes, surplus inventory or product overruns, our buyers source it all – everything from fresh meat and produce to our natural and organic NOSH (acronym for natural, organic, specialty and healthy) items to the WOW deals we can hardly believe ourselves.”

The supermarket offers discount, overstocked and closeout products from name brand and private label suppliers. Company stores are in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Nearby Grocery Outlets are located in San Gabriel and Pasadena.

Although the official opening day has not been announced, traditionally Grocery Outlet provides gift cards to the first 200 customers valued at anywhere from $5 to $200 and free reusable grocery bags.

“We wouldn’t be anywhere without the hundreds of local families who own and operate their own Grocery Outlet stores, allowing us to deliver superior customer service personalized to each of the local communities we serve,” continues the message on the website.



  1. Hey Chris, I understand your point, but the city has so much to handle and to deal with, and when something like this is in its early stages, it is probably best handled from the public relations perspective. In order to process all the official paperwork and so forth, many formalities are involved. But the good news is, this type of grocery chain may come to our area!

  2. We need a paid consultant, serving as an interim public relations professional, to tell a reporter that a grocery chain has pulled permits for a store? Why can’t department heads and the city manager just TALK TO PEOPLE?

    It’s pathological. We have leaders who can’t communicate in a small town without an expensive crutch.