Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Grocer has plans for new Ketchum store

Washington businessman eyes ‘value-driven’ market in LI zone

Express Staff Writer

A Washington grocer purchased the former Stock Building Supply property in Ketchum a couple of weeks ago and has announced an intention to build a "value-driven" grocery store on the 2.5-acre lot, according to spokesman Peter Buck of Seattle.

The site is at the intersection of Warm Springs Road, Tenth Street and Lewis Street, in the city's light-industrial zone. A new store would add competition into a business sector that Atkinsons' Market has had a near monopoly on for four years. In fall 2005, Williams Market closed after 12 years in business on Main Street, leaving Atkinsons' as the lone supermarket in Ketchum.

"It's just no longer viable," said Williams Market owner Chris Williams at the time.

Buck said Ketchum could use a "value-driven" store, describing the mission of such a store as a focus on providing affordable items. He said the store's products would still be high-quality and service would be satisfactory.

"Some stores go out of their way to provide a huge amount of service," he said, adding that the proposed store would put priority on value.

Buck emphasized that the proposed store is just being planned, with nothing yet set in stone.

"The client doesn't want to be making promises," Buck said. "But if we don't let people know, they'd be hearing rumors."

However, Buck said he doesn't see any "deal-breakers yet" and the owner is "seriously engaged."

He said the Washington owner—who would like to keep his identity secret—operates multiple stores in the state, with one being value-driven.

Buck said there are no outside pressures requiring a tight timeline for the project, but said the owner wants the store open as soon as possible.

Buck said he doesn't want to be "overly bold," but said construction may start in the late spring or early summer, depending on the pace of obtaining city approvals.

"The property is zoned light-industrial, but we believe a text amendment to the zoning code is possible, allowing a grocery store with community housing," Buck said.

Trevon Milliard:

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