Organic, discount groceries coming to Vancouver

IGA site to become Everyday Deals; Natural Grocers planned in Hazel Dell

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 
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A discount grocer has purchased the former St. Johns IGA in Vancouver, while at the other end of the food-selling spectrum, another organic grocer is staking its Clark County claim on Hazel Dell.

Everyday Deals Inc., a Portland-based discount food seller, has purchased the former IGA store for $795,000 from its longtime owners and operators, the Kooistra family. The Kooistras operated the IGA store from 1983 until last month when the business closed due to struggling sales.

The site's buyer expects a March opening date for an Everyday Deals food liquidation store planned for the 13,500-square-foot building at 2109 St. Johns Blvd. The chain focuses on discount produce and other food items and operates two other stores, both in Portland.

"A lot of our product is post dated or outdated, but it doesn't affect the product," said Steve Harkless, owner of Everyday Deals.

The St. Johns store's central Vancouver location has few grocery stores and its average household incomes are among the lowest in Clark County.

Harkless said demographics did not play a role in selecting the site. He said he simply followed his instincts.

"You just get a gut feeling about something and you do it," Harkless said.

By contrast, an upscale organic food chain Natural Grocers plans to open its new store this summer at 7604 N.E. Fifth St. in the Hazel Dell Square shopping center. The 12,000-square-foot store will be the first location in Washington state for the Lakewood, Colo.-based chain, which operates more than 100 stores in 13 states.

Natural Grocers' new Hazel Dell store will be in the center of a five-mile area where households earned an average income of $66,624 annually, according to statistics by SitesUSA. It will be between three and 13 miles away from organic grocers that already operate in Clark County, such as New Seasons Market, Whole Foods Market and Chuck's Produce and Street Market.

The new store will take up space formerly occupied by Hollywood Video in Hazel Dell Square, anchored by LA Fitness, Buffalo Wild Wings and Patti's Hallmark Shop, along with other shops. The site was completely redeveloped in 2006.

According to its website, Natural Grocers offers affordable foods that do not contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or hydrogenated oils. It also carries organic produce and meats, natural dietary supplements and special dietary items.

Phone and email inquiries to Natural Grocers were not returned Thursday.

The planned Everyday Deals store in the former St. Johns IGA will be less than one mile west of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s newest grocery-only Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store in the area, under construction at Fourth Plain and Grand boulevards. That store is expected to open in May.

But Harkless doesn't seem to think Wal-Mart will pose a threat to his business at Everyday Deals.

"Wal-Mart doesn't scare me even one little bit," he said. "I'm probably (priced) 50 percent lower."

Everyday Deals employs about 40 people. Harkless expects to hire about 14 people to operate the new Vancouver store.

Adam Roselli, of Eric Fuller & Associates in Vancover, negotiated the real estate transaction.