Myers IGA will take over A & P

Two checkers ring up orders for customers at A&P on Aug. 31

Two checkers ring up orders for customers at A&P on Aug. 31.(Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

A lease has been signed with the Myers Group to open Foodland IGA on Sept. 9, the day after Alaskan and Proud closes its doors.

Myers Group, LLC president, Tyler Myers, has signed a 10-year lease with options, says Gary Rosenberger, President of Foodland, Inc.

“People from outside that know the Myers Group have nothing but good things to say about the Myers Group, and so we’re happy. We’re also just happy to have somebody,” Rosenberger says. “I was worried that it might go dark down there at Foodland and I’d be down there mopping up floors from thawed out freezers, but that isn’t going to happen, so yeah, I’m thrilled.”

Rosenberger says he met with Tyler Myers and a representative from the wholesale company Super Value, when they visited Juneau a couple months ago.

“He told me that he tries to set the store up by looking at the people who live in the area,” Rosenberger says. “He wants to go a little more top end, I think, and he wants to pretty it up inside. He’ll spend some money and we might have to, too, in order to get it up to what he needs. The salesman that was with him sells groceries all the way from Kenai to South America and he says that Myers stores are beautiful and they’re run real nice, so that was enough for me.”

John Williams of Juneau Real Estate brokered the deal. Rosenberger says Williams had his “feelers out” for some time to find the right company. Williams would not be interviewed, but in a news release he said Alaska Marine Lines played an important role in getting Foodland, Inc and the Myers Group together. “AML gave us numerous names and phone numbers of businesses in the Pacific Northwest, and one of those calls lead us to the Myers Group. We think they are the best possible choice we could have made.”

Rosenberger says the next step is to find a retailer to fill the empty space next to the supermarket. The 6,000 square foot space was once part of Foodland Super Drug, which shrunk several years ago to a small pharmacy and gift shop. The pharmacy in the store recently moved to WalMart.

“Hopefully we can get another drug store in there,” Rosenberger says.

He says it wasn’t clear if Myers Group would need more space, so they decided not to market the empty store until the grocery deal was signed. He says once Foodland IGA gets set up, he will talk with Myers about additional space requirements.

According to Rosenberger, Tyler Myers told him he would like to have a drug store in Foodland IGA, but “he didn’t say he would go forth and try to find one. But if he doesn’t we may shop around,” Rosenberger says.

The Whidbey Island-based Myers Group operates five IGA stores in western Washington, including markets in downtown Seattle and Tacoma. Myers says the Juneau store is great opportunity to grow his business, which also includes gas stations and hardware stores.

“I was asked to come up about two months ago to come up and take a look at the store and see if we had an interest, and absolutely, positively fell in love with the community and what I saw, he says.”

Myers says he’ll retain all the A & P employees. He also expects to undertake an extensive remodel sometime in the next year, essentially modernizing the inside of the store. Myers says he’s planning to put his own money into the upgrades, and keep the store open throughout the process.

He says he’ll seek customer input before making any changes.

“We’re not a company that is cookie cutter, every store is exactly the same like you might see with a chain store. If we have a customer that comes in and says, ‘Hey we’re looking for a certain kind of ethnic food,’ then we have a lot of suppliers and we are able to go out and find that item. And that’s really how our stores are merchandised and that’s what dictates how we go to business,” Myers says.

Details of the agreement signed by the Myers Group and Foodland, Inc. were not released. The Foodland Shopping Center is on the market for $13.5 million, but Myers declined to say if the agreement includes a right of first refusal on any sale. The Foodland center’s assessed value is $15.3. The Myers Group is in the business of shopping center development, and Myers says he might be interested in buying the complex at some point — just not right now.