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Co-op Supply opens in new building
ARLINGTON — Co-op Supply opened Monday morning in its new home, the nicely remodeled Safeway building which sat empty for many years attracting many brainstorms but no follow through.
Finally, Co-op Supply saw the virtue of acquiring the building adjacent to their property at the corner of First Street and Olympic Avenue, which was once the big orange Copeland Lumber supply store.
Co-op Supply painted that building red to jive with downtown design guidelines developed by the city.
Now, 34 employees and friends of the four-store franchise helped make the move in one day.
They closed for business at their former location Saturday afternoon and opened for business Monday morning at the new location on the other side of their storage shed.
“The tills were all working first thing this morning,” said the new general manager of the four-store chain, Rick Newman.
“Our employees worked really hard to make the move smooth.”
Newman is replacing Howard Sowards, who will will be retiring sometime in the next few months, Newman said.
Newman was manager of the Everett Co-op Supply store for more than 20 years.
Long ago, before the move to First Street, Co-op Supply was located where the new police station now stands.
The community watched enthusiastically as Co-op Supply renovated the old Safeway over the past couple of years.
“It was a real eyesore,” Newman said that now the Arlington Co-op Supply is a model for the future of his four Co-op Supply stores.
“All of our stores need some upgrading,” he said.
Along with Arlington, Co-op Supply stores are located in Marysville, Lake Stevens and Everett.
The moving day started at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, April 4 and by noon, they were already sweeping the floors.
“We expanded our product line considerable,” Newman said that they more than tripled their space, from 3,500 to 14,000-square-feet.
“Our employees have yet to be trained on the key-making machine,” he said.
“We will gradually weed out those products not accepted by our clientele,” Newman said, explaining that the store was known as Cenex Co-op Supply until Cenex partnered with Land O’Lakes.
“Cenex was on the petroleum side of things and Land O’Lakes provides grains and seeds.” The store also purchases product from True Value Hardware, Newman said.
Newman plans to make the rounds, visiting all four stores regularly.
The manager of the Arlington Co-op Supply is Zeek Maier, who manages 10 employees.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Newman said.
“We’ll be adding some people at the Arlington store.”