Alaskan and Proud grocery store closed Saturday and reopened Monday as Foodland IGA.
Seattle-based Myers Group announced its decision to take over the lease of the grocery space at Juneau’s Foodland Center at the end of August. A week or so later the grocer opened the doors to its new space and started stocking shelves with a shipment of inventory.
“We took what should have been a six week process and condensed it into three weeks,” Tyler Myers president of Myers Group said.
Myers said Juneau has given him a great welcome so far.
“We’ve come into many communities before and we’ve never had anything like we are experiencing here,” Myers said.
Alaskan and Proud owners, Williams Inc., announced the September closure of its Juneau grocery in April. For much of the time since then it was unknown if anyone would take over the space. After months of uncertainty, the grocery space was closed for only a day.
The grocer took Sunday to stock shelves and switch over some of the electronics.
Myers said all of the employees who wanted to stay remain in their positions. Few employees, if any, decided to leave, he said.
A group of 30 locals brought their instruments by the story to play the store employees a tune, Myers said.
Customers will notice the shelves fill over the next few days.
The Foodland deli fires up Tuesday morning for its first day under new ownership. Myers said he trusts the institutional knowledge of his deli and meat counter managers to make sure customers find the products and menu to which they’ve grown accustomed. However, customers can also expect new, unique items on the shelves, coolers and hot counter from day one.
Myers said customers who had shopped for the Western Family brand can find similar products in the Equaline and IGA brand lines. Customers will find familiar products on the shelves, he said. However, over the next three to four months the store’s new manager, Jeremy Schoonover, will adjust the inventory to meet the requests of the community.
“He will listen to what people say they prefer and you will see the store evolve,” Myers said. “Every single community will have a feeling of what they want.”
Schoonover has worked with Myers Group for 18 years and has helped open several stores already. Myers said Schoonover will get the store running smooth and then return to his family down south, opening up the potential for a current employee to fill the manager position. Myers often promotes from within, he said.
Myers said he was surprised to find that some of Foodland’s new products are less expensive than similar items under previous ownership. He said he expects prices for most goods to drop some thanks to Myers Group’s supplier.
Foodland IGA customers won’t notice major aesthetic changes right off the bat. Some signage will change due to new products, but a major remodel is not expected for another six months or so, Myers said.
How was the first day open for business?
“When people show up with a band, we’ve probably had 10 people send flowers,“ Myers said, “how could you not say that the first day was anything but maybe the best day of my career?”
• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.