Country Base: USA
Industry/Sector/Keywords: Food, Retail Stores, Branded Environments, Shopping Experience
Below: Before and After Images in Slide Show, Summary, Credits


Industry Setting

In 2006, Save Mart Supermarkets acquired stores mostly in Northern California from Albertson’s, doubling the chain. As part of the agreement, the stores returned to the “Lucky” banner, which disappeared from California in the 1990s.


Albertson’s departure hinted at Save Mart’s competitive challenge. These traditional stores failed to grasp a rapidly growing market for food in the Bay area of Northern California. Save Mart sought a new strategic direction for its enterprise.


The brand strategy began with a recognition that multiple “Californias” exist. A deeper dive identified how Lucky could better serve the unique food culture and multicultural audience of the Bay Area.

Lucky California seeks to be a true reflection of how people eat in California, capturing the diversity of flavors and cultures.

The strategy led to a wide range of inter-related changes, including a new brand name, identity and store prototype, as well as internal culture tools and innovation programs. The new name, Lucky California, sets the tone for the brand’s identification with its marketplace. The new logo is an abstract aerial view of a California artichoke inspired by global motifs, its petals pointing inward as a symbol of coexisting cultures.

The prototype store represents a key site for brand reinvention. It embodies the future brand vision and is an innovation laboratory in a risk-averse industry. Curated, merchandised “hubs” create unique shopping experiences around specific eating occasions, while center store aisles have been re-zoned to manifest a multicultural product strategy, including integrating the “ethnic aisle” throughout the store. Expanded prepared foods embody the diverse flavors of California.


Lucky California transforms an under-performing traditional grocer into a relevant and exciting food retail brand. The prototype store has performed well and innovative thinking has energized the organization. The brand has garnered renewed attention among consumers who like the fresh look and flavors.


Client: Save Mart Supermarkets – Parent of Lucky Supermarkets –
Co-President, and Chief Strategy & Branding Officer: Nicole Piccinini Pesco
Co-President & Chief Operating Officer: Steve Junqueiro
Co-President & Chief Financial Officer: Greg Hill

Brand Strategists/Designers: Shook Kelley –

Project Team:
Principal: Kevin E. Kelley

Michelle Aitala
Jon Cairns
Meina Co
Sabrina Fan
Dynah Fojas
Kat Fon
Matt Hendon
Paula Garron Lopez
Jennifer Kim
Mokgadi Mokgobu
Michael Nicholls
Jennifer Ochoa
Giovana Pineda-Arce
Michael Powell, Ph.D.
Jacinta Tan
Yusuke Yokoyama

Other Firms Involved:

Fabricator: KRS
General Contractor: Huff Construction
Structural & MEP Engineers:
Kirkes Electric
Dehart HVAC & Plumbing
Key Refrigeration