Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003 | 11:11 a.m.
Smith's Food and Drug is closing its store at U.S. 95 and Jones Boulevard in Las Vegas on Friday and will transfer about 60 employees to a nearby Smith's and other grocery stores around the Las Vegas Valley.
As part of the closure, a former Raley's supermarket at Vegas Drive and Jones is receiving a $2.1 million facelift and will reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday.
The former Raley's at Vegas Drive was acquired during Smith's purchase of 10 Raley's supermarkets last year. Seven of those stores, including the one at Vegas and Jones, were reopened as Smith's. Three were closed and remain vacant.
Marsha Gilford, spokeswoman for Smith's, based in Salt Lake City, said the closure was due to the close proximity of the two grocery stores. Kroger Co., based in Cincinnati, is Smith's parent company.
"It doesn't make sense to have two stores a few blocks from each other," she said. "We do not want to compete with our own stores, so we chose the store with better facilities."
Both Smith's employ about 60 people. Gilford said all employees were moved to either the nearby Smith's, which was closed for four days this week for the remodeling, or at other stores around the valley.
Michael Gittings, secretary treasurer for United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 711, which represents 7,000 grocery store workers in Nevada and Utah, said it is the union's understanding the jobs have been offered to those employees.
The Smith's at Jones and U.S. 95 is at least 20 years old and is 58,240 square feet, Gilford said. The store at Jones and Vegas is more than 50,230 square feet and is not very old. She didn't have an exact age on the stores.
Gilford said the widening of U.S. 95, which runs in front of the Smith's at Jones, was one factor in the decision, but not the deciding factor.
The widening of U.S. 95 prompted the state to force the sale of land along the route to make room for the wider highway.
The Nevada State Bank branch within the Smith's at U.S. 95 and Jones will close, as will a pharmacy within the store.
All prescriptions will be transferred to the Smith's at Jones and Vegas, Gilford said.
As part of the remodel, Nevada State Bank will relocate its branch to the Jones and Vegas location. A PostNet Postal & Business Services store also will open at the remodeled store.
When the store reopens Saturday, it will have expanded dairy and frozen food areas, which will allow more selection, Gilford said. The floral and bakery departments are being updated and some of the aisles are being moved.
Gilford said Smith's will continue to invest in the Las Vegas area. As of Saturday, it will have 27 stores in Clark County.
"Las Vegas is a very important market," she said. "A lot of our capital resources have gone into store remodelings and upgrades to existing properties."
Smith's opened a store in November at Cactus Avenue and Southern Highlands Parkway, just outside the master-planned community of Southern Highlands. The company also has remodeled six Las Vegas-area stores this year, Gilford said.