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Volume 17, Issue 9
September 2019


Bales Cedar Mill nears closure
by Virginia Bruce

Empty shelves, dwindling staff, and unpaid suppliers all point to the inevitable conclusion that Signature NW, the company that owns the Cedar Mill and Aloha Bales Marketplace stores, is winding down Cedar Mill operations.

The meat counter is empty. Meat is located in a different case.
The meat counter is empty. Meat is located in a different case.

In December 2004, Ken Findley sold the stores in Cedar Mill and Aloha that made up the Bales’ family grocery business to Miller Family Holdings LLC, a Private Equity Investment Company. Signature NW was formed to manage the stores. Mark Miller, son of Robert Miller of the Albertsons chain, is the CEO, but it’s recently been managed by his brother Barry. We can’t get any information from Signature NW, so we have to observe what’s happening in the stores. Rumors are flying, but here’s what we know:

None of the remaining employees, including those in the Post Office, know anything about how long the store will stay open. The manager, Lyle Blow, said there’s nothing he can share. There’s no indication that the business has been sold.

Bales case
Refrigerated bins have been turned off and the contents moved, presumably to save money on power.

At least one supplier told us that they haven’t been paid for their products for months. That could explain the empty shelves. The refrigerated meat and dairy display bins at the back of the store have been emptied and turned off. Much of the stock that remains on shelves appears to have come from overstock from the back room. Some shoppers have noted, on NextDoor and other social sites, that there’s outdated food on the shelves.

The Post Office is a contract store, and the employees work for Bales. We spoke to the Beaverton Post Office, who told us that if it closes, PO Box holders could transfer their accounts to Aloha or Beaverton Post Offices, or get a refund, although it’s unclear how much that might be. The private businesses nearby that offer PO Boxes charge two to three times as much as the USPS. The other option will be for box holders to have their mail forwarded to homes or other locations.

Bales freezer

Ryan Egge runs Bales Findley Property Management, which owns the building. He says that he will try to find a new space for the Post Office, either in the new Milltowner Center that’s under construction across the street, or into whatever business succeeds Thriftway in the current location. “It’s not feasible to keep it open in the current location if the store closes,” he says.

Rumors that the building will be demolished to make way for housing are incorrect. Based on a listing on Neville & Butler Commercial Real Estate, Bales-Findley is looking for a new tenant. No date is listed for availability, but we understand that the existing lease expires in October.

Bales refrigerated section

Nobody is happy about this! Bales has been a hub of community activity since the original store opened across the street in 1961. Whether it’s the changing grocery scene, mis-management and lack of vision, or other factors, we’ll miss the friendly staff, wonderful fish, meat and produce, the variety of local specialty products, great beer and wine selection, or just running into our friends and neighbors during the spectacular food and wine shows, it will leave a hole in the community. We hope it can be replaced by something new and wonderful.


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