Second Chuck's Produce to open in August

Salmon Creek-area organic grocery store begins chain expansion

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Organic grocer Chuck's Produce & Street Market is set to open its new Salmon Creek-area venue, which duplicates its existing store in east Vancouver, by the third week of August.

"Our proposed date is between the 15th and 19th," said Mike Livermore, Chuck's general manager. The new store is at 2302 N.E. 117th St., at Highway 99 and 117th Street.

The expansion launches company plans to expand the chain throughout the Portland-Vancouver area, and possibly head north to the Puget Sound region and south to Salem, according to Livermore. Additional stores will resemble the company's flagship store in east Vancouver and its new Salmon Creek venue.

The new Chuck's features organic produce, local meats and packaged specialty foods. Departments include an in-store bakery and deli and a nursery stocked with potted plants. "It (the new store) is a wider store, but very close to the same square footage," at about 43,000 square feet, Livermore said.

Chuck's Produce is owned by Bart Colson, a partner in Vancouver-based Hawthorn Retirement Group, a family-owned business that operates a string of more than 40 senior living facilities in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The family's Salem, Ore.-based construction firm, Colson & Colson General Contractors, is building the new Chuck's, according to Livermore.

Green design elements were included in the new $10 million store, which contains low-energy lighting and refrigeration systems. The development also includes a permeable parking surface to help filter out stormwater pollutants.

Livermore said the company saved costs by constructing the store on a vacant site. The first Chuck's store occupies a converted space that was once a Joe's sporting goods store.

As it looks to expand, the company will seek vacant, ready-to-build sites, Livermore said.

"It doesn't mean we would close our eyes to an existing building," he said.

Chuck's has hired 135 full- and part-time employees to work at the new store and is in the process of training the new employees, Livermore said.

"Approximately 25 (people) are already on board and training," he said. "Approximately 30 (people) are working at our Mill Plain store and will transfer."

Some are on the job filling the new store's shelves.

"We're stocking the grocery aisles," Livermore said.

Perishables will be brought in just before the store's opening. Livermore said product selection and price at Chuck's appeals to a wide variety of consumers.

"We've found Chuck's seems to fit all molds, from young families to seniors," he said.

Livermore said the company's biggest grocery competitors are New Seasons Market, Whole Foods, Safeway and Fred Meyer.