Fresh food, fresh grocery

Market developers envision a chain catering to the health-conscious, open their prototype store Thursday in Vancouver




Grocery store newcomer Chuck’s Produce & Street Market will make its long-awaited debut Thursday, opening in Vancouver’s Columbia Square retail center off Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and 131st Avenue.

The market and specialty foods store fills about 37,000 square feet of the 70,000-square-foot space that once housed Joe’s sporting goods. The developers of Chuck’s Produce invested approximately $5 million to spruce up the exterior with wooden beams and siding and transform the store’s interior layout, according to Mike Livermore, store manager. The property is owned by 426 Mill Plain LLC, a Vancouver-based business.

Between 105 and 120 people will work at the store at 13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.

The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays and closed on Saturdays at the request of its ownership group.

“That’s what we want to do as a family day. We’ll see what happens,” Livermore said.

Chuck’s produce department takes up about 25 percent of the store. The grocery also will feature an artisan-style bakery, a gourmet coffee shop, dairy department, deli with seating for 40 patrons, floral department, ice cream shop, and a meat department stocked with locally produced meats.

The store also features kitchen classroom space for regular cooking classes taught by store personnel and outside instructors. Store developers hope Chuck’s will become the first in a chain of similar stores that will capture market share among a growing population of health-conscious food shoppers.