Spokane Journal of Business

Inland Northwest grocers ramp up remodels

Seven stores to update, add time-saving features

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At least five stores that sell groceries in Spokane County are moving forward with plans to update and remodel seven buildings in projects valued at over $14 million, public records show.

Design plans for the tenant improvements show a trend of adding spaces and services for customer convenience through self-checkout lanes and curbside pickup areas at most of the properties, according to some local grocers and design team representatives.

Chuck Horgan, associate principal at Bernardo|Wills Architects PC, says he’s noticed recent grocery store remodel projects have a dichotomy in design plans to both encourage longer shopping trips as well as add the convenience of curbside pickup and self-checkout lanes.

To encourage a longer stay, Horgan says, “The emphasis on seating areas for some of those prepared foods in the deli, or bakery, or coffee shop is to make them a little nicer for the customers. And they might end up remembering what they came in for.” 

For customer convenience, some redesign plans call for upgraded curbside pickup and self-checkout areas.

Speaking of the remodel of the Yoke’s Fresh Market in Deer Park for which Bernardo|Wills is the architect, Horgan says, “Maybe four to six of the 10 to 12 stations would be self-checkouts. I think a lot of people still like to interact with a cashier though.”

Matt Wheelwright, senior project manager for general contractor Meridian Construction & Development Inc., of Spokane, says the Deer Park Yoke’s project began in mid-April and will take about six months to complete.

Curbside pickup improvements include adding a dedicated space to hold customers’ groceries that have been purchased online or over the phone, so they can pick their orders up quickly, Horgan says.

The Deer Park Yoke’s was built in 1995, according to the Spokane County Assessor’s office.

Wheelwright says the project will cost $4.2 million. The remodel work includes updating exterior freezers, new cart storage areas near the entrance, a new seating area on a second-floor mezzanine, bakery and deli department upgrades, and new freezers and refrigeration systems.

One highly visible change at the store will be a new pharmacy addition that will relocate the existing department to an exterior wall with a drive-thru window toward the front of the store.

Wheelwright says the exterior of the building will get a new signage, fresh paint, and a new roof as well.

A representative of Yoke’s Fresh Markets declines to comment.

Cliff Rigsbee, president and CEO of Rosauers Supermarkets Inc., says, the goal of the recently remodeled Browne’s Addition location is to keep the historic look of the building while giving its customers a modern and improved shopping experience.

The updates at the store located at 1808 W. Third cost about $5 million, he adds.

The 36,000-square-foot grocery store is the oldest and longest-operating grocery store in Spokane, Rigsbee claims. The building has been a Rosauers store since 1949 and has undergone several expansions. Prior to the recent project, it was last updated in the 1990s.

Interior improvements at the Browne’s Addition store include a wall of windows in both the frozen food and produce sections and new freezers. The project also includes new self-service checkout stations; remodeled bakery, deli, and meat departments; updated heating and ventilation systems; and an enlarged storefront entrance.

The project began in February 2021 and was completed about two months ago.

Rigsbee says, “The store now just looks bigger, brighter, and airy.”

Yost Gallagher Construction LLC, of Spokane, was the general contractor for the Rosauers remodel. Mercier Architecture & Planning, of Spokane Valley, was the project architect, and Great Falls, Montana-based TD&H Engineering, provided engineering services.

The company has tentative plans to update other stores in the future, Rigsbee adds.

Rosauers has 17 total stores, including nine in Spokane County. The supermarkets are owned by URM Stores Inc., of Spokane.

Albertsons Cos., which operates four Albertsons stores in Spokane County, has remodel plans at two locations—one at 9001 N. Indian Trail Road, in northwest Spokane, and the other at 13606 E. 32nd, in Spokane Valley, permit documents show.

The estimated cost for each renovation project is about $500,000, according to the permit applications on file with the city of Spokane and Spokane County, respectively.

Tenant improvements include changing the Albertsons branding to Safeway at both locations. Both stores also will relocate the pharmacy and floral departments in addition to the Starbucks kiosks. The two locations also will receive new refrigerated cases and kitchen equipment.

A representative from Albertsons couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

Permit data shows Kirkland, Washington-based Woodman Construction Inc. is the contractor for both remodels.

According to the company website, Safeway Inc. operates as a brand of Albertsons Cos., which acquired Safeway in 2015. 

A $1 million grocery store expansion and remodel project is planned at the 154,000-square-foot Shadle Center Walmart, at 2301 W. Wellesley, permit data on file with the city of Spokane shows.

Plans for the tenant improvements don’t specifically mention the remodel of the grocery department but will include a 3,000-square-foot pickup-area addition; a relocated photo lab, electronics desk, and fitting rooms; refurbished restrooms and breakrooms; remodeled customer service and money center areas; and revised checkout lanes. 

Great Falls, Montana-based Sletten Construction Co., is the general contractor for the Walmart remodel. Architectural and engineering services are provided by Rogers, Arkansas-based pb2 architecture + engineering.

Target Corp. has plans to renovate its store in Spokane Valley, at 13724 E. Sprague, and at the Northpointe Plaza, at 9770 N. Newport Highway, in Spokane. Although tenant improvements at the stores focus outside of the grocery departments, the planned renovations align with the overall trend to offer fast and convenient shopping trips for customers.

Permits on file with the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley show the estimated cost of both remodel projects is about $3 million.

Work at Target in North Spokane will include improvements for front-of-the-store services, some exterior updates, and modern design elements throughout the interior, according to an emailed statement from Target.

Updates to the 105,800-square-foot building involve “modern décor and fixtures, additional mannequins and displays, and specialty LED lighting to create a shopping experience for guests that is hip, cool, warm, and inviting,” the company says.

Additional improvements include adding a nursing area, enlarging spaces between checkout lanes, and updated restrooms with touchless features.

Seattle-based MG2 Corp. is the project architect, and Plymouth, Minnesota-based VAA LLC is providing engineering services. A contractor isn’t listed on the permit application.

Renovations at the Target in Spokane Valley call for updating the order pickup, drive-up, and contactless pickup areas to create a more convenient and safe shopping experience, according to the company.

Swanska USA Building Inc., of Parsippany, New Jersey, is the contractor, and Minneapolis-based RSP Architects is the project architect, permits on file with Spokane Valley show.

Both Target store renovations are expected to be completed this summer.

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Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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