Grocery Outlet expanding into Hazel Dell in early 2013

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

Low-price food seller Grocery Outlet Bargain Market will go after Hazel Dell shoppers with a new store set to open early next year in a long-vacant Albertsons' space.

The retailer's third Clark County store will be in the Northgate Village Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Hazel Dell Avenue and Northeast 99th Street, said Josh Oliva of HSP Properties in Vancouver. Grocery Outlet is a Berkeley, Calif.-based chain of more than 175 independently operated stores in six Western states. Local company stores are in Camas at 3308 N.E. Third Ave. and Vancouver at 5800 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd.

With the site established by Alberstons as a grocery retail location, the Hazel Dell location should come with built-in clientele, said Bill Coyle, a vice president with the Grocery Outlet chain. "We liked the fact that it was last occupied by Albertsons, a very dominant grocery player in its day," he said.

Oliva confirmed the Grocery Outlet chain has signed a lease to take up about 22,000 square feet of the former Albertsons' store, which closed in August 2006.

"It's a good tenant and we're certainly happy to get the space leased back out," said Oliva, whose father, Steve Oliva, co-owns the retail center with Tualatin, Ore.-based Gramor Development Inc., a regional shopping center developer.

Coyle expects his company to spend between $1.5 million and $2 million to completely renovate the interior space of the store, planned to open in mid-January with about 30 employees.

Complex owners plan to make facade improvements to the existing center, which is also home to a Dollar Tree variety store in space formerly occupied by a Hi-School Pharmacy.

Steve Oliva also owns Hi-School Pharmacy Inc., which still operates about 20 stores in Oregon and Washington, and was once Clark County's dominant pharmacy store chain. Oliva sold most of the chain's Clark County stores to Walgreen Co. in 2003. He retained a number of the Hi-School chain's former retail store sites and some of the shopping centers that it anchored.

Northgate is part of those holdings, as is the Fisher's Landing Marketplace in east Vancouver, where Portland-based organic grocer New Seasons Market opened its first Clark County store in 2011 in a former Albertsons' space.

Vancouver's west-side residents had also hoped for a New Seasons Market, with some looking to Oliva's Northgate complex as a potential site for a New Seasons Market to serve Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek and north county shoppers.

Josh Oliva said discussions with Portland-based New Seasons just didn't lead to a second lease with the company.

New Seasons Market is now in the process of building its 13th store as part of a Portland superblock development on the corner of North Williams and North Vancouver avenues in Portland, near the Rose Quarter arena, said Amy Brown, the company's director of marketing.

"At one point, there was consideration of the (Hazel Dell) site," Brown said.

Lisa Sedlar, chief executive officer of the New Seasons chain, has also said the east Vancouver store won't be Clark County's only location. But she did not indicate where the next store might land.

In the meantime, Hazel Dell's new Grocery Outlet will compete head-to-head with a nearby WinCo Foods at 99th Street and Highway 99. WinCo is located just east of the 99th Street exit off Interstate 5. Grocery Outlet will be situated just west of the exit.

Although WinCo's individual stores are modeled after the larger, big-box store concept, both WinCo and Grocery Outlet operate with no frills to offer budget prices. But unlike WinCo's bulk-buying power, Grocery Outlet buys surplus inventory straight from manufacturers who sell items to the outlet chain at a reduced price, Coyle said.

Grocery Outlet also will compete with a new Chuck's Produce and Street Market planned to break ground this year at the intersection of Northeast Highway 99 and 117th Street. It will be that company's second Vancouver store.