The population of Sacramento, more than 470,000 people per the 2011 U.S. Census, includes a diverse mix of ages, incomes and ethnic backgrounds. To meet the varied needs of its residents, the metropolitan area is home to many independent and chain grocery stores. These stores have added 700 new jobs in Sacramento during the past year, an increase of 4.2 percent according to the California Economic Development Department.

Dave Heylen, vice president of communications, California Grocers Association (photo courtesy of Dave Heylen)

Dave Heylen, vice president of communications, California Grocers Association (photo courtesy of Dave Heylen)

Dave Heylen is vice president of communications for the California Grocers Association. Heylen is well versed in the dynamics of the Sacramento metro market, as a resident and having been with the organization for more than 20 years. He says that the average grocery store needs 200 to 250 employees, which is welcome news for Sacramento job seekers.

What is contributing to the increase in local grocery jobs?

Heylen says Sacramento is an attractive market for grocery stores. While a few have closed their doors, others like WinCo, have opened new locations. According to Mike Read of WinCo, “Sacramento is absolutely a place we want to be” for even more stores. The company is geared towards serving “young, growing families on a budget,” says Reed.

How does the future look for Sacramento residents interested in grocery careers?

Heylen points to the upper-scale Fresh Market as evidence of continuing growth in this field. The company opened a new location in Roseville last year. Fresh Market spokesman Drewry Sackett says there will be two additional stores coming to the Sacramento area later this year and they are “looking forward to hiring fantastic employees from the Sacramento community.”

Overall, how are Sacramento grocers impacted by economic fluctuations?

“Regardless of the economy, people have to eat,” says Heylen, but they may use their food budget differently. “Consumers go back to grocery stores instead of to restaurants” when they have less disposable income. According to Heylen, some will return to dining out as the economy gets better, but grocery sales of higher cost and gourmet items usually go up as well.

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at


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