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Volume 17, Issue 6
June 2019


Bales for sale

no garden center at bales
Many customers miss the Garden Center

Many people have noticed and remarked on the decline of Bales Marketplace over the last year. The popular garden store closed last year, with no replacement. Promised upgrades, such as remodeling the bathrooms, were never done. Now some shelves and bulk containers stand empty. Managers have come and gone in rapid succession. Our favorite checkers have left, many to Market of Choice. Open hours have been cut back, and even basic maintenance, such as frequent floor polishing, seems to have fallen off. They have canceled their ad in this publication—it’s been running since December 2003.

We have learned that Signature NW, the company that purchased the business in 2004, has had four of its grocery stores, including this one, up for sale for several years. Now it seems they have stopped even trying to keep up the illusion of a thriving business.

I spoke to the latest manager a few weeks ago to ask, “Is this store going out of business?”

He replied, “Not if we do everything right.”

It’s extremely hard to succeed in the grocery business. Thousands of items with very low margin, dozens of suppliers to juggle, and the business itself is changing rapidly. Online ordering with doorstep delivery drains away customers. And a recent study showed that people are now spending more on eating out than they are at grocery stores. A handful of large corporations owns most of the grocery businesses in the US, as we learned in this 2015 article.

We hope that a buyer can be found and that this business, which has been at the heart of the community since it opened in 1961, can continue to serve us with great products, a post office annex, and a friendly place to socialize.


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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2018