Note: This story was produced by the Economic Alliance of Lewis County as part of its montlhy supplement of The Chronicle.
WinCo Foods announced this summer the company has entered a real estate contract with the Port of Centralia to construct a proposed 84,000-square-feet grocery store.
The project will be located off the Alder Street and Yew Street intersection in Park 3, according to a press release.
Also planned at the development are two complementary retail pads for the shopping center. Though no deals have been made yet, likely uses for these additional storefronts are a dining establishment and multi-tenant retail shops, according to a press release from the Port of Centralia.
The Port of Centralia Board of Commissioners — Kyle Markstrom, Julie Shaffley and Peter Lahman — weighed in on the project in a joint statement.
“The Port of Centralia is excited to announce that it has recently awarded a bid to a local contractor and the Yew Street Extension project is officially underway,” the commissioners wrote. “The Yew Street Extension project is the first step to completing the Port’s third park, Centralia Station. Once completed, Centralia Station will be home to a variety of businesses and be a staple in our community for generations to come.”
They stated the Centralia Station project will increase tax revenue for the county once the project is complete.
“Though it has been a long process, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” the commissioners stated. “The Port of Centralia is excited to see this project taking shape this year, and we believe the community will be excited to see progress as well.
The 24-hour warehouse-style WinCo stores are wide open, well-stocked and known for competitively low prices. In addition to the extensive variety offered in the grocery aisles, produce, deli, bakery and meat/fish departments, every WinCo features a bulk section where customers can buy as much or as little of a product as they want, according to a press release.
The company operates lean and mean through its own distribution, warehouse and transportation network. With its close direct relationships with many farms, producers and vendors, the middle man is removed, allowing WinCo to keep its prices low for its customers.
WinCo Foods is an employee-owned company, meaning every worker has a stake in the business. As long as they have worked the minimum hours in a year, employees receive an annual gift of WinCo stock equivalent to 20% of what they make yearly.
“What makes this opening exciting for us is that we get to find new employee owners from the community of Centralia and add to our family,” said WinCo Foods Vice President of Real Estate Greg Goins. “When this store opens, the employee owners that the citizens of Centralia meet at the store will be their friends and families.”
While WinCo does not have a definitive timeline yet for the opening of its Centralia location, the company will begin advertising for open positions once the store is under construction and within a few months of opening.
“The state of Washington overall has been a very good market for WinCo,” Goins said. “Our value-based grocery business model has resonated with Washington consumers and we continue to look for opportunities to add to our stores in areas such as Centralia where the population has grown to a level to support one of our full-size stores.”
Goins said WinCo research clearly shows the Lewis County market is ready for WinCo.
“We have watched Centralia for many years hoping to find just the right site to serve this dynamic and growing market,” he said. “We are excited about the Port site and the opportunity to finally serve the Centralia/Chehalis markets.”
An outpouring of support from the community did not go unnoticed.
“WinCo heard the requests from Centralia — especially via social media, which we really love to see — that it wanted a WinCo loud and clear and we are thrilled to be joining the community,”
WinCo has a network of stores stretching across 10 states, with more than 21,000 employee owners.