Spokane Journal of Business

Yoke's Fresh Market plans new store in Tri-Cities

Planning panel approves site for Spokane company's fourth grocery outlet there

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A Richland, Wash., planning commission has approved a commercial site proposal for a new Yoke's Fresh Market in South Richland, which would be the Spokane-based company's fourth store in the Tri-Cities market.

Representatives for Yoke's Foods Inc., which operates a chain of 11 stores in the Inland Northwest, hadn't yet filed for a building permit as of early July, says Jeff Rolph, a Richland city senior planner.

The planning board approved the site plan in June, so completing the building permit process is the next step under city requirements, Rolph says.

Joe Hanson, a senior vice president for Yoke's, declines to comment on the company's plans there.

URM Stores Inc., a Spokane-based company that among its services provides supermarket site planning for its grocery store owners, submitted a site plan to the city of Richland for review that calls for a 52,000-square-foot Yoke's grocery store. Rolph says the Yoke's store is planned on almost 6 acres of a 12.6-acre neighborhood shopping center.

The shopping center also is proposed to include a multi-tenant retail strip and a restaurant, city documents say. The property is located on the north side of Keene Road, and west of Badger Mountain Community Park.

The proposed use of the property is allowed under the site's zoning as neighborhood commercial property, the planning documents say, but the land use plan required planning commission approval because the entire site exceeds 5 acres.

Yoke's has one store each in Pasco, Kennewick, and in West Richland. In the Spokane area, the company lists its locations as Airway Heights; Mead; Deer Park; Argonne Road, in Spokane Valley; Indian Trail Road, on Spokane's North Side; and North Foothills Drive, also located on the North Side. In North Idaho, it has stores in Kellogg and Sandpoint.

Marshall and Harriet Yoke founded the grocery-store enterprise in 1946, when they opened a 2,500-square-foot store here. Their son, Chuck Yoke, then guided the business for four decades.

In 1990, he sold the company to his employees, making it an employee-owned enterprise with an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, Yoke's website says.

Treva Lind
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