In January two years ago, Shopko announced it would be closing its store in West Yakima within a few months.
Less than two years after the store at 5801 Summitview Ave. closed, the property has been redeveloped for new uses.
Last year, Planet Fitness opened in part of the building, its second location in the Yakima area.
Last week, a Grocery Outlet opened in another part of the building.
Grocery Outlet has been expanding in the last few years. In 2019, Grocery Outlet opened locations in Selah and Sunnyside. The chain offers items at 40% to 70% off through its method of buying. The stores are locally owned, though they receive support and training from Grocery Outlet’s corporate headquarters.
The new West Yakima store owners are no strangers to the area; Tommy Lee previously owned the Downtown Super Foods convenience store in downtown Yakima for several years. He also ran a business in Spokane and worked as a manager for Target for several years.
Lee said he was drawn to Grocery Outlet’s concept, which would enable him and his wife, Becky, to continue to be business owners but with additional support. They lived in California briefly to receive training, which included working at other Grocery Outlet locations.
When Lee heard that Shopko was closing, he approached Grocery Outlet about whether it would be a good location.
“We really wanted to come back here,” he said. “We knew this space was going to be available.”
And the company agreed, allowing Lee and his wife the opportunity they were seeking. “We jumped on it,” he said.
The store, which employs about 40 workers, is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Wilco farm store
Meanwhile, a third retailer announced it would be opening a store in the Shopko building.
Wilco, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Oregon, announced earlier this month its plans to open a new farm store later this year.
The store will take up about 32,000 square feet of the building and will offer various products and services, including work wear and boots, paint and hardware, farm supplies, dog grooming, feed and an outdoor nursery for plants and pottery.
The store is one of several businesses for the cooperative, which has more than 3,000 farmer members. The company also has an energy supply business, a marketing arm for hazelnut growers and agronomic services.
The Yakima location will be Wilco’s first store east of the Cascades. The cooperative currently runs a half-dozen stores throughout Western Washington.
More development is to come on the vacant parts of the property, which primarily served as a parking lot. The city of Yakima planning division recently approved an application that allowed the property to be subdivided into six parcels, which provided five additional properties for development.
“That means they can move forward on looking for tenants,” said Trevor Martin, an associate planner for the city of Yakima, which oversaw the application.
Nana Kate’s closes
Nana Kate’s, a popular eatery and catering business in Selah, will not reopen and is closing for good.
Owner Catherine Platt said she made massive efforts to keep the business going, but several rounds of restrictions ultimately made it difficult to continue operating.
Platt wrote a comprehensive statement — referring to it as the eatery’s obituary — that was sent to the Herald-Republic and also published in a local newspaper in Selah.
“While substantial precautions were necessary in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prolonged shutdown and severe restrictions on small businesses — particularly restaurant establishments — took a harsh toll,” Platt wrote.
Nana Kate’s opened in 2013. It started as a café but soon expanded to other ventures, such as catering and wholesale. Platt was a finalist in the 2015 Enterprise Challenge, a local business plan competition for new and developing businesses.
Platt, who has an extensive event and catering business, felt the effect of COVID-19 immediately.
“Two-thirds of our business were catering and events,” she wrote. “I now had to figure out how to run on 30% (of the business) with the same overhead.”
Platt tried pivoting, offering meals-to-go for Thanksgiving and Christmas and prepared foods to accommodate various dietary preferences.
But the latest set of restrictions, which again prohibited indoor dining for restaurants, was the last straw. She had hoped to resume indoor dining by an optimistic date of Jan. 18. But when it became unclear when current restrictions would end, Platt decided it was time to “let go of the stress and look at something new.”
“I just turned 60,” she wrote. “I never thought I would be slowing down just yet, but with all the challenges of the pandemic and no definitive end of sight, I decided to move up the ‘retirement’ timeline.”
But even in so-called retirement, Platt will remain busy. She secured a job as a beer and wine department manager at the Selah Grocery Outlet store nearby. She is also working on a series of cookbooks.
Platt said that while she will close, she will honor any gift cards through the end of February. Those with gift cards can call 509-697-4804 for details.