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Sandpoint Super 1 Foods opens June 30

by RALPH BARTHOLDT
Staff Writer | June 26, 2010 9:00 PM

SANDPOINT - Angel Raymond is in charge of checking new inventory and making sure all prices are logged into the system.

That is why the people pushing the dollies stacked with product stop at her desk.

"They call me the queen," Raymond says with a smile.

For the next few days, until Sandpoint's Super 1 Foods grand opening at 7 a.m., June 30, Angel will be as popular as ever.

Today, the store's 10 department managers from dairy to produce, baked goods and cold beverages are on their knees stocking, on ladders arranging. They are dusting, primping and preparing shelves as Super 1 Foods' latest store prepares for customers.

It is an artful undertaking, meant to please the eye and make each department user friendly.

Grocery manager Randy Wilson, who is also the store's assistant manager, joined store manager Steve Furin in moving to Sandpoint. Both men worked in different capacities at the Post Falls Super 1, and both are excited about this venture, and the new digs.

"It's open, it's airy, there is a lot of natural light," Wilson said. "It makes for a pleasant experience in my mind."

The Sandpoint Super 1 is state of the art, with 16 aisles, a salad bar, deli, pharmacy in addition to the bakery with its oven doors wafting the aroma of fresh baked.

"We bake almost everything from scratch," Furin said.

From cookies and cake to bread and rolls, the bakery is the hot spot on the building's east side.

Patrons must walk through the produce department to get there. On this day, the department is empty. Shelves are clean and aesthetic, but there is nothing on them.

The trucks will arrive shortly before the opener and by the time the first shoppers activate the sliding front doors early Wednesday, the shelves and wooden bins will be stocked, Furin said.

"Seven warehouse deliveries per week," he said.

Furin walks through the store past brimming aisles in a swift gait. He is on the phone, he points in Angle's direction as men in ball caps pulling flats ask who to see.

The 54,000-square-foot store will be open 24-7 and it employs 107 people, most of them from the immediate area, said Furin, who has worked for the grocer since 1995.

"Between 85 to 90 percent are from an area between Sagle and Bonners Ferry," he said.

The grocer broke ground on the $5 million structure at the Renova site at the corner of Larch and Boyer late last year, and had planned a July 4 opening. A mild winter assisted in expediting the work, but a snag in securing its beer and wine license prevented Super 1 from opening earlier.

Giving the store the sharp, clean look took some doing, said Wilson, who walked into the empty structure several weeks ago.

"It takes a lot of time," he said. "It's pretty labor intensive to get it done, and get it done right."

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