The Crawford Bay Store started a new chapter in June when it expanded and reopened as the Crawford Bay Market, and the public is invited to celebrate its grand opening. A trade fair, dunk tank, bouncy castle, food and door prizes will be part of the event that runs on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
At 6,000 square feet, the market is more than three times bigger than the original, a converted home that stands next door and has been owned by John Stocker and his sons, Darren, Greg and Wade, since 1983.
“It was a tremendous amount of business planning and forecasting,” said general manager Jamie Cox.
The idea came about a year after the Marysville native became manager in 2008, wanting a quieter lifestyle than he had had in the ski industry.
“It got very corporate in the ski world,” he said. “This was a place to step back.”
He soon found that the old store was too cramped to fully serve the community, not to mention difficult to work in — when a truck would arrive with, for example, liquor, 16,000 pounds would be delivered through a residential door down to storage in the basement, and then carried upstairs as needed. The problem is solved now, as the new location has proper loading doors and a walk-in cooler.
In addition, the store has 13 doors of freezer space, room for fresh meat (which is cut daily) and a deli, which will soon expand to offer breakfast sandwiches and rotisserie chickens.
And that’s not the end of Cox’s plans. One of his goals is to develop a delivery system to take groceries to East Shore seniors, and another would see the old store become an Internet café and bakery to supply the market, and also house a Laundromat and post office.
The expansion of the store, which opened less than a week before the end of June, was a welcome surprise for tourists.
“They say they’re not going to stock up in Cranbrook or Creston anymore,” Cox said.
He’s proud of the store’s staff of 10, which has risen to the challenge of working in a store that has actual departments and aisles — and the community’s response has been exactly what he was hoping for.
“This community is just overwhelmed by it,” Cox said. “Anytime I speak to the community about it, I say this is their market. They just wrapped their arms around that.”