For Larry Brown, opening Whatcom County’s second Grocery Outlet store is a bit of a homecoming.
A ribbon-cutting will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at 1750 LaBounty Drive. The store also will have a grand opening event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 25. The grand opening will include a chance to receive a shopping bag, gift certificates and win prizes.
Brown originally planned on being a teacher when he was attending Western Washington University, but enjoyed the work culture of the Grocery Outlet when he started working at the Bellingham store in 1993.
“Bellingham became home to me and retail was in my blood,” Brown said.
Brown eventually moved on to other positions in the company, including operating the Lynnwood store. When he heard about the opportunity to start a store in Ferndale, he jumped at it.
“It (Ferndale) has grown, but it still has a family feel,” Brown said, adding that it’s been great seeing so many people excited and stopping by wondering when the store would open.
The store will take up about 20,000 square feet of the former Cost Cutter building. It’s been a significant remodeling project that’s gone well, said Jamie Lemire, retail marketing manager for Grocery Outlet. The new store has several departments, including beer/wine, NOSH (which stands for Natural, Organic, Specialty and Healthy), dairy, fresh meat and home products. It will have 40 employees.
For those who haven’t been in a Grocery Outlet store before, it offers products at up to 60 percent less than conventional retailers because it buys surplus items from wholesalers. The store will regularly stock the food staples, like milk and peanut butter, but many times the store will bring in different items based on what buyers can get a good deal on, Lemire said. Because of the deals negotiated with wholesalers to get a lower price, the store doesn’t accept manufacturer’s coupons.
Sometimes it means adjusting your shopping list, but customers usually appreciate the deals they find and can swing by a different store if the Grocery Outlet doesn’t have an item, Brown said.
Once the store opens, the focus is on making sure customers are treated well, whether that means taking requests to track down certain products or bagging groceries, Brown said.
“Customer service shouldn’t cost anything,” Brown said.
The grand opening on July 25 will include gift certificates for the first 100 customers, and customers can enter to win door prizes that include a television, bikes from Lenny's Bike Shop and free groceries for a year ($600 value). The grand prize drawing will take place on Aug. 29. The Grocery Outlet also will be donating $1,000 of food to the Ferndale Food Bank.
Other grand opening attractions include face painting and games. Also dropping in are the “Frugal Friends” puppets Lois Prices and Ben Saven.
Once open, hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Details about the company can be found at Groceryoutlet.com.
Reach Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.