By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Grocery Outlet opens in Cheney to much fanfare

 

Last updated 12/2/2019 at 9:21am

John McCallum

Keo Beebe holds up a $20 gift certificate she received as being one of the first 200 customers through the door at the Cheney Grocery Outlet grand opening on Nov. 21.

CHENEY – Logan Porter said he had never done anything like it before.

The Cheney resident was among a throng of over 300 people who lined up in the cold, early morning hours on Thursday, Nov. 21, to be the first through the door of the city's newest grocery store, Grocery Outlet. Porter, who was the second person in line at around 7 a.m., said he came for a chance to get a store cash card - carrying values from $5 – $200 - given to the first 200 people through the doors, but added as a that as someone who has shopped Grocery Outlet in the past, it was the attraction of the new store that also drew him.

"The prices, and good food, but especially the prices, which are sometimes better than Walmart," he said.

Grocery Outlet is the fifth grocery outlet in Cheney, four of which are located north of downtown. The Emeryville, Calif.-based franchise received city approval to combine two parcels of land along 1st Street in April, and began site preparation and eventual construction on the 11,000-square-foot building this summer.


Owner-operators Duran Slater and Cassie McManus were awarded the Cheney store after submitting a business plan and bid. The couple ran a Grocery Outlet in Modesto, Calif. for two and a half years, and said they wanted to take on the Cheney store because of their research on the city and also that they have family in the Pacific Northwest.

"We've been here a month and have got nothing but excitement, smiles and open arms," Slater told the crowd before cutting the ribbon opening the store. "We are happy to be here in Cheney and this area."

Grocery Outlet began in 1946 in the San Francisco Bay area, and has since branched out with over 300 locations throughout the West Coast, including locations in Airway Heights and Spokane. Originally started as a surplus store, the third-generation, family-owned business has maintained that model; with buyers purchasing over-stocked or phased-out goods from other grocery outlets at reduce prices.

"Everything that's left over, they say to Grocery Outlet, 'We'll give it to you at this price if you take it all," Keo Beebe said while standing in line last Thursday.

Beebe said she was part of the opening of the Airway Heights store and worked for a while for former owner-operators Dylan and Tanja Hartung.

"I'm a big fan," she added. "I love all the deals and going to the different ones (stores) too. Each one carries different stuff."

In a Nov. 14 Cheney Free Press story, Slater said part of the model is to also find out what items local customers like and attempt to stock those for them.

As part of the grand opening, Slater and McManus' store donated $1,500 to the Cheney Outreach program.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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