Spokane Journal of Business

Do it Best being built in Cheney

Also, Maverik Inc. looks to build convenience store at northern end of town

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An Illinois-based hardware retailer is building a Do it Best store in Cheney, one of two new projects on tap in northern Cheney.

Brett Lucas, city of Cheney senior planner, says Vandervert Construction Inc. broke ground on the 7,200-square-foot hardware store in February on a vacant pad in the Cheney Plaza retail complex, located at the southwest corner of First Street and Betz Road. Russell C. Page Architects PS, of Spokane, designed the building, and the construction value is about $700,000.

George S. Edwards, president of D. Tepper Enterprises of Illinois Inc. , and owner of a Do it Best store in Champaign, Ill., says the corporation decided to build a hardware store in Cheney.

"We've developed models doing business here in Champaign that addressed doing business in a community that has a university," Edwards says. "We do a demographic study and say, 'Can this area support another store?' We found that Cheney could support another hardware store. I also have a son who will be attending EWU. That's not why we decided to do this, but that's how I discovered Cheney."

He says Champaign and Cheney are very similar towns. "I spent time talking to people and said, 'This is a good place.' It will be good for the community."

Snow and cold temperatures in late February delayed construction at the Cheney site.

"We hope to resume building as soon as possible," says Edwards. "We're shooting for an opening the first part of June."

He says the Cheney Do it Best Hardware will employ seven to 10 employees, about half of those being full time.

The parent hardware store in Champaign has been in business for 90 years. Do it Best Corp., based in Fort Wayne, Ind., is a hardware and building materials buying cooperative offering products and retail services to more than 4,000 independently owned hardware and home-improvement member retailers nationwide.

A separate proposed Cheney project, a Maverik convenience store, is in the planning stages for about a 4,200-square-foot building across the street, on the southeast corner of First and Betz. Lucas says a recent pre-development meeting with the city went well, although the Maverik developers are still working on final project details, such as road access off First, before returning for a building permit.

"They plan a convenience store with gas pumps, a little bigger than a 7-Eleven, with convenience foods, some fresh produce," Lucas says.

Don Lilyquist, permits manager for Maverik Inc., says the company is working on a road-access design to compensate for a railroad crossing that runs diagonally near where the store plans its entry. "We've now submitted access for a right in and right out only," Lilyquist says.

Finalizing those plans along with other requirements should take another few months, he adds.

"I anticipate a good four months before construction begins," he says.

Maverik Inc. operates from headquarters in North Salt Lake, Utah, and has 220 locations in several western states. Lilyquist says the company is just moving into Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon, and one Maverik store is under construction in Pasco.

Treva Lind
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