Hundreds of area residents showed up Saturday morning to be among the first to shop
RIDGEFIELD — A cold December rain didn’t dampen the spirits of around 800 people who lined up Saturday morning to be among the first to roam the well-stocked aisles of the long-awaited Rosauers Supermarket in Ridgefield.
The 53,000-square-foot store is the regional chain’s 22nd location, and the first in Western Washington. It will anchor the new Discovery Ridge shopping center on the southwest corner of Pioneer Street and South 45th Avenue, which will eventually also include Taco Bell, Mod Pizza, other restaurants, a tap room, and a dental office.
“People have the opportunity to not only shop here, but to go downtown and experience Old Town Ridgefield,” said Mayor Don Stose. “We will continue to make sure that downtown Ridgefield thrives wherever growth happens and wherever retail happens.”
The initial goal had been to open the store in August, but Rosauers President and CEO Jeff Philipps says they ran into some delays due to weather. With subcontractors taking other jobs in the region, they were forced to wait sometimes in order to get the project moving again.
So the move to December, and the drizzle falling outside, forced the ribbon cutting ceremony indoors, with people cramming into the entryway of the supermarket to watch Stose and Store Manager Eric Dean wield the ceremonial scissors, cutting the big red ribbon and marking the opening of the new store.
Philipps said he was impressed with the quality of candidates they received to work at the location. Out of around 300 applications, 110 area residents will be employed there.
“Many of your friends and neighbors are among the 110 people that are here to serve you,” Philipps told the gathered crowd.
“A supermarket, especially in a small community like this, is more than just a grocery store,” said Philipps. “We are a gathering place where friends connect, a place where neighbors serve neighbors, and a place that serves as a forum to support the growth and the activities that improve the quality of life for every single local resident.”
The Rosauers supermarket includes a full organic section, brick oven fired pizza, a bakery where everything is cooked fresh, a deli with actual butchers on duty, sushi, hot bar, salad bar, soup bar, and an olive bar.
“We have a lot of bars here,” joked Philipps. “We do have some alcohol back over there, but that’s not a bar.”
The store also features a seating area that can be used as a community room, including free public Wi-Fi, as well as a full-service florist. It also has a machine that will peel and core your pineapples before you take them home, as well as two full sections of select coffees, nut butter grinders, and much more. Online shopping and curbside pickup is expected to start in about a week, added Philipps.
“It’s taken a while to get to this point,” he said. “I hope you’ll all agree the wait has been worth it.”
Store Manager Eric Dean says he, his wife, and three girls moved from Spokane to Ridgefield when the opportunity came up to take over the first Rosauers west of the Cascades.
“The very first time my U-Haul showed up the neighbors were coming over, welcoming me to the neighborhood,” says Dean. “Walking downtown, everyone is just so friendly. It’s that small town feel.”
Dean says the community has been quick to embrace Rosauers, as evidenced by the long lines that braved the rain on a Saturday morning.
“This community has welcomed us, and we want to give back to the community as well,” said Dean, “so it’s going to be a great partnership.”
That partnership also includes ilani Casino, which set up a tent outside the store with games and activities for the children. Rally, the Ridgefield Raptors mascot was also there, slapping high fives with shoppers, young and old, and Santa Claus was also on hand to the delight of many.
Mayor Stose says they could have had their pick of grocers for the location, but it took him next to no time to settle on Rosauers.
“My mom worked for Doc Rosauers in the 1950s,” he recalled. “We were truck drivers in Spokane and we provided fresh fruits and vegetables for the Rosauers in Spokane.”
He says when City Manager Steve Stuart said Rosauers was interested in coming to Ridgefield he told him, “stop, we are going to bring Rosauers to Ridgefield.”
Stose was joined by all the other members of Ridgefield City Council, as well as Stuart, Representatives Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff from the 18th District, and officials with the Port of Ridgefield.
The arrival of Rosauers, Stose says, will bring a long list of other retailers into Ridgefield over the next year. The city has continued to be among the fastest growing in the state of Washington, but Stose promises that the small town feel that people like Dean experienced in the city is something they’re intent on preserving, through the careful selection of retailers, commercial companies, and residential developers that want to build in the city.
“That’s one of the reasons that Ridgefield has done so well,” says Stose, “is the partnerships that we have created with people like Rosauers.”