A once vacant building for several years, the former Summit Trading grocery store at 10409 E. Canyon Rd. in Puyallup will soon be occupied by Wilco, the largest farm- and ranch-owned agricultural supply cooperative in the Pacific Northwest.
Wilco will open a 43,000-square-foot store on the property on March 24, the company’s fifth retail location in Washington state and 17th overall.
“Puyallup is an area of Washington we’re excited to serve,” marketing director Jake Wilson said. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the community support for the new Washington stores these past years and are excited to open in Puyallup. We’re pleased to find a facility so convenient for customers and look forward to the grand opening.”
Other Washington locations include Battle Ground, Kelso, Gig Harbor and Vancouver. The remaining 12 stores are located in Oregon. Wilco is based in Mt. Angel, Oregon.
Wilco had been looking at the Puyallup area for some time because of its closeness to urban centers but also the high concentration of people living in more rural areas and on larger properties, Wilson said.
“Our stores focus on the farm lifestyle,” he said.
Customers who frequent Wilco stores tend to live on a large plot of land of a half-acre or more. Customers may also live in a more urban setting but with a desire to garden in raised beds. Wilco’s average customer also owns a dog and other pets.
The 43,000-square-foot store on Canyon Road will include 22,000 square feet of retail space and a 5,000-square-foot covered garden and landscaping center.
Customers will find fencing products, posts, gates and livestock equipment outside. Other features will include a full-service pet grooming center for dogs, a full pet food department, animal health and livestock supplies, workwear clothing, hardware and paint.
Wilco’s opening day in Puyallup will be at the onset of spring. With that in mind, Wilson said customers this time of year are interested in planting flowers and preparing their garden.
They’re also — believe it or not — interested in purchasing a few baby chicks. On opening day at the Puyallup store, Wilson said Wilco will have about 500 baby chicks in stock for purchase.
The new store will also employ more than 30 people at any given time, depending on the season. Wilson said many of Wilco’s employees were initially loyal customers. Since Wilco is customer-owned, Wilson said a big focus is on bringing good value to the customer daily.
“We’ve been very fortunate employee-wise,” he said.
In each of the last four years, The Oregonian newspaper has named Wilco in the top 10 Top Oregonian workplace list across Oregon and southwest Washington.
Wilco is committed to being a valued community partner in Puyallup, Wilson said. The company gave back more than $250,000 to communities in 2015, including more than $160,000 to Future Farmers of America organizations in Oregon and Washington.
Wilco has already reached out to the Puyallup community, including the Washington State Fair and Events Center.
“The local Puyallup fair has a great reputation,” he said.
Promoting and sponsoring agricultural-related events at the Fair like youth livestock auctions would be an example of Wilco’s outreach.
The grand opening celebration of events and promotions will run from March 31 through April 3.