Editor's note: Natural Grocers' projected opening date has been pushed back to Sept. 6 due to construction delays, according to Natural Grocers officials. The story has been updated.
A growing organic and natural foods chain is gearing up to open a new grocery store Sept. 6 in Kennewick.
Natural Grocers is remodeling the 15,597-square-foot building at 751 N. Columbia Center Blvd. It used to be home to Joann Fabric and Craft, which recently opened a store at Columbia Center mall.
Construction delays have twice pushed the projected opening date back. The store was originally set to open Aug. 2.
The new grocery store, which will employ 16 people, will sell organic produce, body care, books, bulk foods, dairy products, dietary supplements, frozen products, grab-and-go items, household and organic pet products, meat and seafood.
The family-operated company has 166 stores in 21 states, including four others in Washington.
“Natural Grocers is thrilled to be opening a new location in Kennewick. We’ve been serving communities in Washington since 2014, when we came to Vancouver. We currently have four stores in Washington: two in Spokane and two in Vancouver. Kennewick is the perfect place to bridge the gap in south-central Washington — something many locals have been asking us to do for years,” said Katie Macarelli, spokeswoman for Natural Grocers, in an email to the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.
The store's parent company, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc., which trades under the symbol “NGVC,” reported in May that it had signed leases for an additional five new stores it plans to open in fiscal year 2023 and beyond. It opened 26 new stores over the five-year period ending Sept. 30, 2022.
The company’s net sales were $283.2 million for the three months ending March 31, 2023, an increase of $11.4 million, or 4.2%, compared to net sales of $271.8 million for the same period a year ago, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company leases most of its stores, a bulk food repackaging facility and distribution center and its administrative offices. Lease terms generally range from 10 to 25 years, according to financial documents.
Each store costs the company an average of $2.4 million to open, with a five-year expected return on investment.
BCCM Construction Group of Kansas City, Missouri, is the general contractor for the tenant remodel, valued at $812,400, according to the building permit filed with the city of Kennewick.
The Kennewick store plans to partner with the nonprofit Second Harvest. Whenever customers bring in their own reusable bag, Natural Grocers donates 5 cents to its local food bank partner. Stores also hold additional fundraisers and food drives throughout the year.
Natural Grocers got its start in 1955 in Colorado. It operates a bulk food repackaging facility and distribution center in Golden, Colorado.
“We are here to fuel your outdoor adventures, support your community through outreach and education, and provide your day-to-day grocery needs. We look forward to empowering the health and wellness of the Kennewick customers and your surrounding communities by offering the highest-quality products at always affordable prices, environmentally-friendly practices and by providing our employees with great jobs that pay well,” Macarelli said.
Freebies, sweepstakes and discounts are planned during the store’s grand opening.
Store hours will be from 8:30 a.m.-8:36 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-7:35 p.m. Sunday. The unusual store closure hours are correct.
“Our closing hours might seem a little odd to some (i.e., 9:06 p.m., 8:35 p.m.), but we did that on purpose — to remind customers that they are always welcome and that they shouldn’t feel rushed when shopping with us," according to a blog on its website.
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