VICTORVILLE, CA—Believe it or not, until February California did not have its own Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. That changed when the national restaurant chain added its first retail location in the city of Victorville in San Bernardino County. Known for home-style Southern cooking and a range of retail offerings, the new location has already outperformed expectations, according to Breeanna Straessle, corporate communications manager with the company.
Part of that can be attributed to the County’s recent rise: A recent report from Joel Kotkin, the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, reported that Inland Empire population rose more than ten times that of Los Angeles and Orange counties, at 1.26% in 2017, and net in-migration for the Inland Empire rose by more than 80%.
GlobeSt.com caught up with Straessle to find out more about their early success in San Bernardino County, and why the County has been a magnet for retail.
GlobeSt.com: What was behind your decision to locate your first CA store in Victorville in San Bernardino County?
Breeanna Straessle: In California, there are a number of people who grew up going to Cracker Barrel but could only enjoy it when they traveled to other parts of the country. Our market research indicated that a significant portion of the population in the area would be interested in visiting Cracker Barrel if there was a store in the area. With the nearest Cracker Barrel in Las Vegas, we were excited to open our first California store in Victorville. Since opening, the response from the community, including local leaders, has been tremendous. In fact, guests started lining up at midnight for opening day. At 6 a.m., when the doors opened, there were already 150 guests in line.
GlobeSt.com: How would you describe your customer profile?
Straessle: Cracker Barrel is a destination and an experience, qualities that draw in many families who are traveling on the road and looking for a small piece of home along their journey. Cracker Barrel attracts guests who are searching for a warm, welcoming environment where they’re cared for like family. Focused on spending quality time with loved ones, guests come to Cracker Barrel to experience homestyle cooking while relaxing in a comfortable dining room.