Bleyhl Co-op plans to open new Pasco store in fall

Bleyhl Co-op plans to break ground this spring on a new 20,000-square-foot store in Pasco and share the space with True Value Hardware and Great Harvest Bread Co.

The $4.5 million to $5 million project at Road 68 and Chapel Hill Boulevard will replace the current Pasco store at 1126 W. Ainsworth St.

Russ Ward, Bleyhl’s vice president of retail, said the company has outgrown the site, which is about 4,000 square feet.

“It’s been a temporary location for almost 20 years. We rented the building with the plan to build a bigger location,” he said. “We were waiting for the right time and place and found a piece of land on Road 68.”

Along with Pasco, Bleyhl Co-op has locations in Sunnyside, Zillah and its headquarters in Grandview at 940 E. Wine Country Road. The company also operates fueling stations throughout the Yakima Valley.

Bleyhl Co-op is probably best known for its livestock feed and supplies for orchards, vineyards, lawns, gardens and pets. But Ward said the new store will be a flagship for change, and that all of the Bleyhl Co-op locations will undergo a facelift this year.

“We really want to make this a whole new customer experience. Our vision is about the true hometown farm and ranch and hardware store that we remember when we were kids. You’d visit farmers in there and see your neighbors. We want to capture that, but people want a modern store—bright with big aisles,” Ward said. “When I was brought on with the company, we were looking at building a new store and what we needed to do to grow as a co-op and grow in retail. How could we gain market share?”

A sign for the new Bleyhl Co-op store is located south of Interstate 182 and across from Maverik.

A sign for the new Bleyhl Co-op store is located south of Interstate 182 and across from Maverik.

To answer that question, the company considered the Tri-City housing market and local homeowners’ growing needs. Then Bleyhl Co-op reached out to True Value Hardware, Ace and a few other distributors as it looked at expanding the company’s hardware selection.

“And True Value was the right fit for us. They treated us like family; they’re a co-op; and we felt a connection with them,” Ward said.

All four of the Bleyhl Co-op locations will include True Value Hardware by the end of the year, said Ward, but the Pasco location also will lease space to Great Harvest Bread Co.

“We wanted something else besides just a retail experience. I reached out to the local Great Harvest franchisee in Kennewick—he has a fantastic site. And we went to him and said, ‘We want to create something new and unique.’ Maybe people want to have lunch or stop in for a sandwich, and then they can walk over and visit our retail site,” Ward said. “It’s a farm-to-table healthy brand. Everything is made fresh. We thought it was a good fit with our farming co-op.”

The retail floor that includes True Value Hardware will take up about 20,000 square feet, and the Great Harvest Bread Co. will add another 1,800 square feet to the floor plan. Ward said there will be a common area where customers walk in and possibly a coffee bar.

“We’re still deciding what to do there,” he said of the plans. “We want to make it an area for people to come in and hang out and visit.”

Collaborative Design Architects of Billings, Montana, is working with the company to finalize the layout and design, and Mountain States Construction of Sunnyside is the general contractor.

Pending weather, the company expects to break ground in March and complete the project by late fall.

“Our goal for the new Pasco store is that it will be the destination for any and all who live to roll up their sleeves and get mud on their boots, and more importantly, have fun sharing their successes—and laughing about the failures—with their neighbors,” said Bleyhl CEO Dan Morano. “(The new location) will significantly increase our capacity to offer more products and services, including a greater selection of farm supplies, animal health and pet products, workwear and True Value Hardware just to name a few.”

Ward said customers and employees are excited about the future, and the response on social media since the announcement has been positive.

Customers visiting the new Road 68 store also will be able to use a self-service dog and animal wash bay, said Ward, adding with the growth, the company plans to expand its feed and pet supplies.

A bigger store also means more employees will be needed, and Ward expects the company will need to hire about 10 to 15 people in retail, warehousing, office and potentially management positions.

Once the Pasco store is completed and the three other locations have been remodeled, Ward said the company will turn its attention on expanding to other communities.

“We don’t have anything concrete, but once this opens, we’ll start looking for the next one and keep growing,” said Ward. “It’s going to be a big year for us.”

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