Albertson’s, which has the smallest Valley presence of the big national supermarket chains, is adding a frequent shopping card option for its regulars.
Albertson’s had been the lone holdout over the years as supermarkets issued the free cards that gave automatic discounts to those who took the trouble to fill out a form.
The intent is to encourage customers to patronize a single store in order to get the card-generated specials, but savvy shoppers often brandish key rings crammed with minimembership cards from every chain.
The Albertson’s card will be good for specials at all of the stand-alone Osco drugstores as well as Albertson’s supermarkets, said spokeswoman Karen Ramos. There are 48 Albertson’s, Osco or Albertson’s-Osco stores in the East Valley.
To celebrate the Preferred Savings Card launch, Albertson’s donated 74,000 pounds of food Wednesday to three Valley food banks, including United Food Bank in Mesa.
Ramos said the company is hoping to entice customers and suppliers — American Beauty Pasta already contributed 30,000 pounds of its products — to up the total to 100,000 pounds by next week.
Grease Monkey, a new-tothe Valley quick oil change shop, held its grand opening Friday at Guadalupe Road and Country Club Drive in Mesa after a few weeks of working out the kinks.
The local franchisees are also planning to open a couple of shops in Gilbert. They are expecting to open a Grease Monkey at Higley and Baseline roads within a year, and they have their eye on space near Warner and Lindsay roads but have not sealed a deal.
The shops provide the same fast service as the competition in a women-friendly environment, said Wendy Morris, partner in the business. Morris personally painted the daisies on the bathroom walls, stocked a toy area for kids and stacked up magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, "not just oil magazines," in the waiting room.
Morris said 70 percent of Grease Monkey customers nationally are women.
• Apple Spice Junction, a deli, bakery and catering operation at 7425 S. Harl Ave., near Interstate 10 and Elliot Road, in Tempe, expects to start cooking Wednesday.
• A new Ace Hardware in Ancala Village, at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Via Linda in Scottsdale, plans to start offering tools and advice early next week, possibly by Monday if all of the final prep work is completed.
• A new Native New Yorker cooked up its first batch of signature ribs a week ago at Val Vista Marketplace, on the southwest corner of Val Vista Drive and Elliot Road in Gilbert.
• Gold’s Gym, which has several south East Valley locations, opened its Scottsdale Airpark location several weeks ago. The company is planning grand opening games and giveaways Saturday at the 35,000-square-foot fitness facility at Northsight Crossing Plaza on the northeast corner of Raintree Drive and Northsight Boulevard.
If you have a new shop to tell us about or you see activity at a retail location and are wondering what’s happening, let us know.