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Modesto’s Raley’s and Save Mart sites will finally be filled. Who is moving?

Two long-vacant Modesto sites that previously housed popular chain stores will finally get a new tenant.

Vallarta Supermarkets, a Mexican grocery chain with 54 stores throughout California, will soon occupy the Century Center shopping center space that was once Raley’s, as well as the former Save Mart on Pelandale Avenue near Sisk Road.

Raley’s closed in 2012 after the location was deemed poor, but the company continued to pay rent in Century Center until 2018, preventing another grocer from moving.

Save Mart on Pelandale closed in early 2010, moving to a larger space less than a quarter of a mile down the road.

The sites have been vacant since each store closed. That will change by early 2025.

Save Mart Supermarket at Wood Colony Plaza on Pelandale Ave Monday January 28, 2008.Save Mart Supermarket at Wood Colony Plaza on Pelandale Ave Monday January 28, 2008.

Save Mart Supermarket at Wood Colony Plaza on Pelandale Ave Monday January 28, 2008.

Vallarta Supermarkets offers more than your average grocery store

Think Whole Foods Market meets Mexico and you get an idea of ​​what supermarket shopping in Vallarta is like.

Store cleanliness and fresh food are part of the Gonzalez family’s core values, according to a statement from Vallarta. It aims to “treat every customer like they’re the most important person in the world, because they are.”

Vallarta was founded by the Gonzalez family in 1985 as a butcher shop in Van Nuys, selling traditional cuts of meat popular in Mexico. The founders were all butchers, and as new family members come into the business, they start in the meat department to ensure that legacy, according to Vallarta’s website.

The butcher shop in Vallarta supermarkets today is run by professional butchers who prepare cut meats to order.

The store has a department called La Cocina – a ready-made hot food kitchen that offers items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including chilaquiles, tacos and meat plates. Party trays are also available.

At least one of the Modesto stores will have a tortilleria, where tortillas are made throughout the day, according to a statement from Vallarta.

Cira Campos warms up made-from-scratch tortillas at Vallarta Supermarket Taqueria in Fresno, California, November 2016.Cira Campos warms up made-from-scratch tortillas at Vallarta Supermarket Taqueria in Fresno, California, November 2016.

Cira Campos warms up made-from-scratch tortillas at Vallarta Supermarket Taqueria in Fresno, California, November 2016.

The tamales are made year-round in the shop, and customers can also buy the tamales fresh in a variety of flavors for a make-it-at-home option.

Vallarta has a juice bar, La Isla, with aguas frescas, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and wellness shots.

Cremeria, Vallarta’s version of a deli, has a wide selection of homemade creams, Latin American cheeses, homemade chorizos, pre-made or made-to-order salsas and guacamole, among other items.

Several varieties and flavors of Latin American bread, as well as sweets such as conchas and churros, are made in the bakery. Custom cakes can also be ordered for any occasion.

There will be a seafood department with eight freshly made ceviche options, a grocery, produce, flower and potted plant section and a candy store.

When will Vallarta stores open?

The Gonzalez family plans to open the Pelandale store by the end of 2024. The Century Center store, which will be the larger of the two, has a projected opening date of spring 2025.

The opening of the two stores will bring 300 to 400 jobs to Modesto, according to a statement from Vallarta. Jobs include bakers, cashiers, cooks, cake decorators, distributors and more.

Hours are generally the same chainwide, and the Gonzalez family said the Modesto stores will likely be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The kitchen and other specialty departments will not close earlier than the store.

The former Raley's grocery store at Century Center in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.The former Raley's grocery store in the Century Center in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.

The former Raley’s grocery store in the Century Center in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.