Story last updated at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, December 12, 2002

Fred Meyer considering opening store in Homer
by Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

Putting to rest a longstanding rumor, a spokesman for Fred Meyer has confirmed that the chain is looking into opening a store in Homer.

The organization, which is based in Portland, Ore., but is owned by national grocery giant Kroger, is negotiating with Cook Inlet Region Inc. for property near the corner of Main Street and the Sterling Highway.

If an agreement can be reached, the chain will begin a feasibility study to see whether a Fred Meyer store would be financially tenable, or even something the community would want, said Rob Boley, vice president of public relations for the chain.

The feasibility study would also determine whether local agencies would be receptive to such a store, he said.

The Homer City Council on Monday introduced a six-month moratorium on permit applications for retail and wholesale buildings larger than 30,000-square feet, which would directly affect Fred Meyer. (See related story, Page 1.)

If a Fred Meyer store were to be built in Homer, it would be a Fred Meyer Marketplace store, Boley said, which is about two-thirds the size of the Soldotna superstore.

"The marketplace stores are full-service food markets, with a limited selection of other nonfood items," he said. "We can't carry everything we carry at the full-size stores."

Such a store would be about 95,000 square feet, he said, or almost three times the size of Eagle Quality Center, and would employ from 100 to 150 people.

Fred Meyer operates nine stores in Alaska, employing more than 2,400 workers statewide.

Boley refused to speculate on how soon Homer might actually see a Fred Meyer store.

"It's still premature to say whether we are going to go forward with this, but we thought it was time to confirm that we are in fact having conversations with CIRI about that parcel of land," Boley said.

He said the chain would only purchase about an 8-acre section of the lot.

"Fred Meyer would be an ideal anchor, which would then lend itself to a number of other developments on that site," Boley said.

Chris Bernard can be reached at cbernard@homer news.com.

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