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Save Mart tour bridges classwork, real-life

The usual smell of baked goods was not present in the kitchen on the morning of Oct. 22, as home economics class toured Save Mart on Cedar and Herndon for a food-filled field trip. They learned the employees’ daily routine, finance management, consumer science, nutrition, and the ins and outs of the grocery business.

With most students taking eating and the availability of food for granted, most did not know that one out of every three people in the United States are involved in the food industry, from farmers to grocery store attendants.

Sharon Blakley, of Save Mart consumer relations, led the class on the tour. Blakley, a registered dietitian, has worked at Save Mart for 23 years and offered hints and suggestions for shoppers.

“The average household spends $4500 to $5000 a year on food,” Blakley said. “One shouldn’t do grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If they do, shoppers will spend, on the average, 20% more.”

While on the trip, students were encouraged to shop around and look for the most competitive prices and plan menus using the Save Mart weekly specials.

“The main reason we went to Save Mart was that we only go on one field trip a year,” Sharon Scharf, home economics teacher, said. “I thought that it would be a good experience to go to Save Mart. The students can learn the aspects of the grocery business as well as getting a good feel for how food is processed.”

According to students, the trip was both fun and enlightening. Some students’ ideas about the food industry were changed by their experiences.

“It was great at Save Mart, we learned a lot about how food is processed and how the grocery business works,” Crystal Stallings ’04, said. “Save Mart sounds like an excellent career, but I would rather not work in the food industry. At first I thought that the field trip would be boring, but I changed my mind soon after.”

Others felt that the trip to Save Mart informed them about the food business and how to shop.

“I loved the field trip,” Nick Crawford, ’04, said. “I think it was an excellent choice considering that we only go one place all year. I learned how everything was put together and distributed to the consumers. I think a job with Save Mart would be very beneficial in helping me get through college.”

According to Scharf, Save Mart will allow student employees to set work schedules that will not interfere with their class schedules.

During the tour, Blakley, a 23-year veteran in the grocery business, encouraged high school seniors to consider part-time employment at a grocery store and check out particular requirements for employment at individual stores.

For a history of the grocery business, students can go online at or for Save Mart in particular, press the California’s Central Valley feature and type in Save-Mart.

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