You may have seen local businesses proudly displaying their Economic Vitality Awards on their shop windows, demonstrating that they have been recognized for their contributions to our community.

Recipients of the award are nominated by the members of the general public, or the Economic Development Committee on a quarterly basis. The EVA is awarded to the member of the business community that exemplifies community values, have invested in our well-being, and make Lompoc an even more beautiful place to live, shop, and dine.

One winner of this quarter’s Economic Vitality Award, or EVA, is Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, which has been open at 316 E. Ocean Ave. since 2012. They have been selected to win the EVA because of its consistent support for our community through various contributions.

According to its website, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market as an operation has been functioning since 1946, when founder Jim Read began selling military surplus at a discount. Buyers for Grocery outlet will work with producers and manufacturers to purchase products that have surplus, like overruns or packaging changes. When they purchase surplus, they purchase at a deep discount and therefore pass low prices on to consumers.

Grocery Outlet Bargain Markets are headquartered in Northern California, and continues to be family owned and operated. Each store is a local, independently run, family business, and Lompoc is lucky to have its own GOBM.

The Lompoc Grocery Outlet Bargain Market has been a part of the Southside landscape for many years. The current owners are Alix and Aaron Crocker, who came to rescue in 2014 when Grocery Outlet was for sale.

They came to the city with a great deal of experience at GOBM as they both had been with the company since they were at (different) high schools, and Aaron worked as a bagger and Alix worked as a cashier.

Their first foray into the Central Coast was when they moved to Atascadero for a grand opening as a management team, and from there, moved to Washington state for another Grocery Outlet opening. There they were engaged and married. When Lompoc became an opportunity for ownership, these two responded. Now they’re back in the Central Coast and loving it!

The Crockers are aware that they are a quintessential part of our community and have committed themselves to it. During their time, they have hired locals, supported initiatives designed to better the lives of those in the community and have even adopted their own causes which they invite the community to which to contribute. One of them is Shadow’s Fund, a dog rescue operation; in fact, Alix will be representing this organization in the upcoming Dance Lompoc event on March 10. Alix and Aaron contribute so much to several organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club and veterans' organizations, to name a few.

We are so lucky to have a business like Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Lompoc, because GOBM is less franchise and more consignment — it’s one of Lompoc’s star small businesses which keep money local. That vested interest in the community is one that should be commended.

Want to nominate a business for an Economic Vitality Award? You can do it online by going to the City’s website, you can also nominate on paper and submit to the City of Lompoc. Want to know more about Dance Lompoc, and cheer Alix as she dances for Shadow’s Fund? Check out http://lompoc.chambermaster.com/events/details/dance-lompoc-2018-7386.

Building the Future Today is a column by the Lompoc Economic Development Committee. The column runs on the first and third Sundays of each month. To contact the committee, email lompocedc@gmail.com

Outbrain