Ramey transitions to Price Cutter, gets remodel

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
A customer and employee get their lunch from the new salad bar, a popular new feature at the previously-known Ramey store, which in the last two weeks changed their signage to Price Cutter, and redesigned several areas of the store, offering more options and products for customers. Julia Kilmer reporter@cassville-democrat.com

More food, liquor options now available to customers

Cassville residents may have noticed Ramey Supermarket has a whole new look, starting with the name changing to Price Cutter.

Cassville is among a chain of 50 stores across Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas that have been scheduled for remodels.

Ramey recently underwent a transformation inside and out. One of those changes included a new design to their produce section. Julia Kilmer reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Included in that plan is new signage to reflect Price Cutter, which has been affiliated with Ramey for years. Inside, customers may find a new salad bar, expanded hot deli, expanded liquor section, expanded bakery, expanded organic section, more specialty cheeses, a cooler section with organic dairy, breads, breakfast and pizza items, a new visual display for the produce section, a new customer service counter and offices, an Insta-Box movie rental station and the elimination of the pharmacy.

"The changes are more consistent with a Price Cutter store," said Executive Vice President Larry Hayward, Cassville native and 23-year Price Cutter employee, who often comes to work in the store. "We're pretty hands-on. We spend a lot of time in the stores. I started working bottles and in the meat rooms. When I was in school, I worked in Washburn in the Town and Country IGA."

After high school, Hayward worked in the Monett, Webb City and Granby Ramey stores.

In the short time since the store's grand opening on March 3, the salad bar has already become very popular.

"There's not been a salad bar for residents in Cassville," Hayward said. "We also have more meal solutions, like sandwiches and fruit cups."

Mary Lyall, Ramey bookkeeper for 43 years, said she has visited the several bar several times already, and she thinks the new design makes the store feel a lot more open.

"I really like the salad bar," she said. "I've heard a lot of people say they like it, too."

"It's like working in a whole new store," said Mary Keeven, who has worked in the bakery for two years. "There are a lot more products for us compared to what we used to have. We also have single-slices of pies, bakery items and new breads."

"We're under the same umbrella," said Kevin George, store manager for seven years. "Ramey has always been affiliated with Price Cutter. Really, with the change of the name, we didn't change companies and didn't change personnel. They just decided to go with the Price Cutter name because with all the stores in Springfield and all the ads we do, it's just easier.

Along with a name change, Ramey recently made several changes to the interior of the store. One of which included expanding their liquor section. Management added about 48 square feet to the section and 28 feet of cooler space to include more choices for customers. Julia Kilmer reporter@cassville-democrat.com

"Ramey will always be a part of our company. When people see an advertisement on TV in Springfield, they don't think of Ramey, and now, they'll actually see that it is Price Cutter."

George said about 48 square feet was added to the liquor section, and around 28 feet of cooler space.

"We just tried to expand on the variety of what we had existing," he said.

The remodel took about six weeks total to complete.

"We are completely finished as far as the construction," he said.

George anticipates gaining new customers since the changes have been made, and he invites new customers to shop at the store.

"I've seen some faces I haven't seen in here before," he said. "I think that is a positive. Our price structure is the same throughout our entire company. We're willing to match local competitors' pricing. As long as it has an ad and their price listed, then we match it."

The pharmacy was removed, but management isn't concerned it will impact the store or its business.

"They decided to take the pharmacy out, I think just to make room" George said. "The square footage of the store wasn't big enough for what they wanted to do here at the store. It was put in right at seven years ago, and it just seemed like with the competition in town with pharmacies, we just weren't able to compete. I think it's one of those things we probably jumped into that we shouldn't have."

Many Price Cutter stores have a Starbucks inside, but management decided to hold off on putting one into the Cassville location, for now.

"We looked at that, and with McDonald's being pretty much in our parking lot, we figured a lot of people go there for coffee," he said.

George said he bfeels good about the changes, and he appreciates the customers and employees who make the store successful.

"The best thing is the customers and the employees because I have a really good crew," he said.

Hayward said he feels Price Cutter stores have a competitive advantage.

"I think for us, it's variety and our employees, like the specialty cheeses, and the organics and the international products we carry, and because we're employee-owned," he said. "It's like a retirement plan. After five years, employees have shares of stock that are payable to them when they retire, and it never costs them a dime.

"Our employees are more invested in their jobs, and I'd say that's why we've had some here for 45 years. We have had a lot of employees who've been here 20-plus years."

With all the changes attracting new customers, Price Cutter brass think the store may give Walmart some new competition.

"If you really shop our [temporary price reduction] tags and ads, we're really competitive with Walmart," Hayward said. "If there's a question, they can ask a manager."

While employees say they like the changes, with all change comes some adjustment, such as getting used to the name change.

"It's hard to say Price Cutter after 40 years," Lyall said.

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