New owners of local Grocery Outlet glad they came to Carson Country
When Sean and Renee Blocker made the decision to move to Carson Country they “made a good choice,” and the couple, along with 11-month-old son Dusty, moved from Phoenix, Ariz., rather quickly.
“We sold our Phoenix store on Jan. 12 and bought the one in Carson City on Jan. 20,” said Renee as we began our visit. “We packed up, U-Hauled our way north and right now we’re renting and living in Dayton. We’re in the market for a home to buy in Carson City.”
I told them Carson City real-estate agents will be glad to hear that. Sean and Renee both laughed and said that’s OK with them.
The store they sold was a Grocery Outlet, and the one they bought is the Grocery Outlet on North Carson Street.
Before we get to how they acquired the local store and what their plans for it are, a little about the couple who have been together 10 years and married for 4 1/2 years.
Sean is 28 and was born in Redding, Calif. Renee is 38 and was born in Iron Mountain, Mich. “That’s the upper peninsula of Michigan,” she added cheerfully. “I’m an upper.”
She said people from that area will know what that means.
“We were married in Coloma in the wine country of California at a historic church that had no electricity and was built in 1854,” said Sean. “We had 150 friends and family attend. Dusty was born in Phoenix.”
The couple met at a Burger King in Anderson, Calif.
“We were both managers there,” said Sean. “We even graduated from the same high school – Anderson Union – but 10 years apart.”
Renee quickly added, “We were friends until Cupid shot his arrow.”
They spent a lot of years working for Burger King, including five in Placerville.
“I was promoted to district manager in Sacramento and did that before leaving,” said Renee. “After working for Burger King for 19 years I needed something new.”
That’s when the couple started working in the grocery field.
“We had friends with connections who owned a Grocery Outlet in Placerville, and they pointed us in the right direction,” said Sean. “We went to work for Grocery Outlet three years ago in Washington State. To make a long story short, we worked at eight different stores, including one in Honolulu, before we bought our first store in North Phoenix. Before that we were a management team for Canned Foods Inc. They have Grocery Outlet stores all over the West Coast.”
Sean did note that “all stores are individually owned” and not franchised.
“Our store is family owned and operated and we were tired of moving around,” added Sean. “This is home now. Once we get our home we’ll be here. It’s a breath of fresh air coming here … We like small town living.”
Sean’s parents, Richard and Marette, have been married 32 years and live in Shasta Lake City, Calif.
“My dad and mom work together,” said Sean. “They own an ice cream wagon and travel to fairs, swap meets and other places like that and they sell jewelry and knives and things like that also. But the ice cream wagon is their main business.
“I’m the second of three. Shane is 30 and is in the intelligence division of the U.S. Air Force. He’s stationed in Lompac (Calif.) and has been in the Air Force 12 years. Stacy is 27 and lives in Sacramento.”
Renee’s parents, Phyliss and Clyo, have been married 51 years and live in Anderson.
“Dad was an electrician for 45 years and he’s retired now,” said Renee. “I’m also the middle child of three. My older sister, Christelle, lives in Redding and Becky lives in Missoula, Montana.”
LET’S TALK FOOD
Where does Grocery Outlet get its food and other merchandise?
“The food comes from manufacturers’ excess inventory and we carry lots of things no one else has,” replied Sean. “But sometimes we only have a product one time and never again. Our stock changes almost daily. That makes our work fun and interesting. We have everything from soup to nuts and we price all our merchandise right at the store. It’s a different kind of store and a total change for us … We like it.”
“We don’t have fresh meat or milk, but that will change soon,” answered a grinning Renee. “We’ll have milk starting in April.”
I do want to note that Sean and Renee kept all the employees already working at the local store. All are “local people,” plus they’ve added four new employees.
“We’ve increased the store’s inventory and done some remodeling, too,” said Sean. “Everything we sell is 100-percent guaranteed. When our customers are happy, we’re happy.”
And for those of you who wondered, they will continue “Senior Day” at the store. That’s for those age 55 and up, who get an extra 10-percent discount on the third of every month.
Renee said her husband is a “four-wheel drive nut” and Sean agreed. “He loves to go booty bouncin’ and he likes to go exploring in caves,” she said..
“I also collect crystal eggs and I’m a diehard Chicago Bears fan,” added a laughing Sean. “Da Bears are my team. We’ve even flown to Chicago for Bears games.”
They also like to travel and camp out and they are planning one more child.
“Maybe even this year,” said Renee as she played with Dusty. “We’re living a fun life and it got even better now that we’re here. This lifestyle is quiet and the people here are so nice and friendly. We’re happy we came here.”
Sean echoed those thoughts.
“We’re ecstatic. We made a good choice in buying the store here and a good move in coming here to live. We’re very happy.”
With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I had one last question for Sean before I departed their Dayton home. With that name are you Irish?
“Only my name,” he laughed. “My mom is a big Sean Connery fan and I was named after him.”
— Tonight on our Street talk TV Show on CAT-10 we’ll air our annual St. Patrick’s Day show and we’ll take you to Dublin, Ireland, where we’ll visit with Diedre Gogarty and her mom and show you around a little. The show starts at 6 p.m. Repeats Monday at 8 a.m.
ALAN ROGERS is a Nevada Appeal columnist. His message phone is 887-2430, ext. 402.