Business

"Albertson's expands, remodels"

"The newest grocery store in Port Orchard has been here for years.The Olney Avenue Albertson's store, the anchor tenant in Mile Hill Plaza, has commenced a 15,000-square-foot expansion and general remodeling effort expected to last until December.When completed, store capacity will swell from 40,000 to 55,000 square feet - exactly the same amount as the brand new store Albertson's opened along Sidney Avenue in January. The expansion effectively puts to rest any suspicion the Boise, Idaho-based grocery chain had plans to close the existing Olney store when the new store came on line.I can tell you that was never even considered, said store director Pete Koolis. This is a growing community and we have an established and very loyal customer base. There's easily enough business here to support both locations.The Olney store expansion required the company to purchase, and then demolish, the 15,000 structure adjacent to the Albertson's in the Mile Hill Plaza. Whenever possible, Albertson's likes to own its properties, said Dan Rush, associate broker for First Western Development, the leasing agent for the shopping center. They already owned the building that housed the grocery store itself and, to do the remodeling, they had to buy the building next door.The four retail businesses leasing space in the building, including Papa Murphy's Pizza, were relocated to other spaces in the shopping center.We didn't lose anyone, Rush said. Developers discovered they couldn't accomplish the remodel by simply knocking out a wall in the smaller building because its floors were two feet higher than the Albertson's. And the ceiling was lower.The two buildings were never intended to be joined together, Koolis said. We just decided it was more practical to demolish it and start from scratch.Koolis said the only new feature in the expanded store will be a Starbucks Coffee franchise. The expansion will also enable the store to enlarge its bakery, produce department and service deli.When completed, will the remodeled Albertson's look like the newer store on Sidney? No, we chose an even newer decor package than theirs, Koolis said. By the time we're done, we'll be the new store and they'll be the old one."

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