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Family Grocer to close its doors

Alaska Industrial Hardware to operate in Airport Shopping Center

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2002

Family Grocer and Super Bear, grocery stores owned by Glacier Village Supermarket Inc., will merge into one store at the Mendenhall Center in mid-January.

Glacier Village Supermarket, a locally owned company, announced Wednesday it would close the Family Grocer store in the Airport Shopping Center. Alaska Industrial Hardware, an Anchorage-based company with seven stores in Alaska and stores in Portland and Seattle, announced it will open a store in the vacated space.

"We've always looked at (merging) as a possibility, since we own both stores," said Pat Shea, vice president and general manager of Glacier Village Supermarket. "The timing seemed right. By putting both of the stores together and pooling our resources, we'll be much more efficient.

"The growth of the retail grocery market in Juneau along with national trends for businesses to create economic efficiencies were factors leading to our decision to consolidate these operations," Shea said.

Both stores received inventory from the same warehouse in Seattle, and every product offered by Family Grocer will be available at Super Bear after the merger, Shea said. All 16 employees of Family Grocer have been offered jobs at Super Bear.

"Employees that work at Family Grocer have been with us a long time, they're an asset to our company, and they will be an asset to Super Bear," Shea said.

Family Grocer will decrease its inventory over the next month and begin moving in mid-January, Shea said. The store will sell many of its shelves and fixtures, and will close by the end of January.

Jerry's Meats and Seafood, also owned by Glacier Village Supermarket and located in Family Grocer, will move to a new location as well, Shea said. The company hopes to find a location within the next month.

Family Grocer has operated at its Airport Shopping Center location since it opened in 1964, first using the name Glacier Village IGA. In 1978 a group of local shareholders bought Glacier Village Supermarket Inc. and changed the name of the store to Shop N Kart. The store was given its current name in 1991, Shea said.

While Super Bear has no plans to expand its inventory, Shea said closing Family Grocer will lower the overhead of the company and possibly mean lower costs for shoppers at Super Bear.

Family Grocer had 11 years remaining on its lease with Ricker and Associates Real Estate, the company that operates the Airport Shopping Center, but the lease was terminated by mutual agreement, said Tracy Ricker, owner of Ricker and Associates.

Alaska Industrial Hardware has been looking for a location for a Juneau store for more than a year, said Jeannie Johnson of J. Johnson Co., Properties, which found the space for AIH.

The store will take over the Family Grocer space Feb. 1.

"The way building permits and construction goes ... they're probably opening in early April," Johnson said.

AIH is an employee-owned company operating in Alaska since 1959.

"They've been determined to move to Juneau, it was just a matter of finding a location," Johnson said. "The capital-move issue never deterred them once. They're committed to this community and I think that's a really good statement about Juneau."

Dennis Watson of Juneau will manage the AIH store. Company officials couldn't be reached for comment by the Empire's deadline.

Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.



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