New Seasons puts focus on local products, supporting community

Grocery chain will open Vancouver store Nov. 9

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter


Updated: November 2, 2011, 6:02 PM


 Photo Gallery: New Seasons Market

New Seasons Market, Vancouver

What: A Portland-based organic grocery chain opening its first Clark County store at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Where: In the former Albertsons grocery store space at Southeast 164th Avenue and McGillivray Boulevard in Vancouver.

Employees: 170.

Store manager: Danielle Halstead.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

What’s next: Continued expansion, although New Seasons has not confirmed plans to open another Clark County store.

As New Seasons Market prepares to open its first Clark County location next week, area shoppers are already getting a taste of the Portland-based organic grocery chain’s well-greased marketing machine.

The company has started touting a long list of connections made with the local community, including plans to stock the east Vancouver store with 90 products from 35 new Washington vendors. Among the suppliers, Reister Farms in Washougal will provide lamb for the New Seasons’ Fisher’s Landing store. It opens at 8 a.m. Nov. 9 in the former Albertsons at Southeast 164th Avenue and McGillivray Boulevard.

“When we support local, we strengthen the local food economy,” said Lisa Sedlar, chief executive officer of New Seasons Market, during a Wednesday tour of her company’s latest store.

That practice has strengthened the bottom line for the rapidly expanding grocery chain.

New Seasons’ $5 million Vancouver store will open just three weeks before Thanksgiving, the official start of the holiday feasting period. It represents the 12th location for the company, founded in 2000 with a single store in Raleigh Hills, an unincorporated Portland-area community.

The chain opened its 11th store in September in the newly completed Progress Ridge retail complex in Beaverton, Ore.

New Seasons’ website, store announcements and fliers (printed with soy-based ink on recycled paper) emphasize a socially and environmentally conscious mission. It’s an approach that helps customers connect the dots between buying at a higher-end grocery store and supporting the community and the green movement, said Pam Lindloff, a Vancouver real estate broker and retail expert with NAI Norris Beggs and Simpson.

“They are a very involved corporate neighbor,” Lindloff said. “That’s how you get to people’s hearts. It is a way to get away from people being entirely price focused.”

In addition to supporting local suppliers, New Seasons’ Vancouver store offers:

• A community room to host public meetings and health-related classes.

• Charitable programs that donate food and money to local nonprofits.

• Programs for recycling trash and composting food waste.

• A store design that uses less energy and collects rainwater.

• Discount days for senior citizens and military families.

The Vancouver store is located in the newly renovated Fisher’s Landing Marketplace, a retail complex owned by Tualatin, Ore.-based Gramor Development and Steve Oliva, owner of Vancouver-based Hi School Pharmacy.

Grand opening events will include a preview tour for neighborhood guests from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, and a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Nov. 9.