It’s been a long wait, but North Albany is on the verge of getting its own grocery store again. Not only that, but as I get the story, the grocery will be paired with a hardware store.
The main anchor space in the North Albany Village shopping center has been vacant since Ray’s, which had operated there since the center opened, closed in December 2013. I’ve been trying to keep track of efforts by the Deacon Corp., the shopping center’s developer, to find a new tenant for the space since then, and now it looks as though those efforts have been crowned with success.
The prospective new tenant is The Myers Group, a company based in Clinton, in Washington state’s Puget Sound. The company intends to open a grocery combined with an Ace hardware store at North Albany Village. Two-thirds of the space inside the old Ray’s would become the new grocery, with the hardware section, in the other third. An outside addition would be built for sales of equipment such as yard machines. The operation would likely be ready to open this coming summer or fall.
I haven’t had a chance to speak with the principals yet, but the company was described to me as one that goes to great lengths to run its stores based on the needs of their neighborhoods. One time, during a power failure, I was told, it brought in generators to run one of its stores and invited the neighbors to come and spend the night to stay warm.
The Myers Group owns and operates grocery stores, hardware stores, and gas stations in Washington, Montana and Alaska. The Albany store would be its first in Oregon. According to its website, the group also oversees shopping center development and provides management services for other business owners. “In the past ten years,” it says, “we’ve won recognition as both the global International IGA Retailer of the Year and the Washington Food Industry Retailer of the Year — but what we’re most proud of is our reputation for trustworthiness and integrity among our satisfied clients and partners.”
The company began in 1978 when Kent Myers opened Casey’s, a single grocery store on Whidbey Island. Since then, according to the website, it has grown from a family business of 25 people to a company of 550.
At an auction, the group bought some equipment from a former Haggen supermarket and is about to start moving it into the North Albany space. So if you happen to catch sight of that activity, now you know what’s going on. (hh)