Months of anticipation were rewarded with the grand opening of the
Fred Meyer store. Oh, sure, there were some who were skeptical, even angry,
that Fred Meyer built a store in their community. But, judging by the hundreds
of people who visited the new store on opening day, it is fair to say that Fred
Meyer got a very warm welcome from its new community.
paragraph could have been written about 40 years ago, when Fred Meyer opened a
store in my original hometown of Longview. At that time, the early ‘70s, the
company still had most of its stores in Oregon and was just beginning to
venture north. I make this obscure reference because then, as now, Fred Meyer
had its supporters and detractors. But, mostly, it has a solid business model
and loyal customers.
opening of the Maple Valley Fred Meyer, which anchors the new Maple Valley Town
Center at Four Corners, was impressive. The store seems familiar, not unlike
other Fred Meyer outlets. Yet it offers a few new features not yet seen at
other locations. But what is most impressive is the can-do attitude of the
store’s managers and staff, who seem to be genuinely pleased and proud to be
part of Maple Valley’s newest store. Many of the staff members are Maple Valley
or Black Diamond residents, who now can live AND work in their own community.
It is an example of what the Greater Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of
Commerce is working to bring more of to this community: jobs.
representing Maple Valley, which included representatives of the Chamber, City
of Maple Valley and local business people, just got back from the RECON in Las
Vegas, one of the largest gatherings of retail developers in the nation. The
delegation’s mission is to promote Maple Valley-Black Diamond as being open to
new business. Fred Meyer’s decision to build here will help this promotional
has a well-earned reputation as a great place to live, especially for families.
It is the goal of the Chamber of Commerce to ensure that the community soon can
be described as a great place to live, work and play. Living-wage jobs and more
shopping, dining and entertainment choices will result from the economic
development emphasis that is being promoted by the Chamber and the City of
With growth come adjustments. For all the good things that are
happening with the opening of Fred Meyer and Maple Valley Town Center, there
also are questions about the impact it is having on established businesses. The
Chamber of Commerce is sensitive to this issue; we want all local businesses to
be successful and we believe that is possible. We will continue to work on
behalf of our members and to remind our community that there are even more
reasons now to shop locally and to patronize the businesses that support their
So, how did
Fred Meyer work out after opening in Longview four decades ago? It’s still going strong. On a recent visit to
my parents in my old hometown, I could not find a parking place at Freddy’s
because it was so busy. So I went across the street to the other grocery store,
which also was busy but still had a few open parking spots, and got what I
needed that day. It too, was a well-run
store with loyal customers. I expect the same will be true here - the store
across the street will not only survive but thrive as more shoppers remain in
town instead of taking their dollars to neighboring communities. I have the
same expectation for Johnsons Home & Garden, also across the street from
Fred Meyer and also a well-run business with loyal customers. There will be
changes as existing businesses adapt to meet customers’ needs and wants, but
there is room for everyone. We are beginning to see the kind of economic
development that will benefit our entire community. More is coming.
will be working diligently to attract solid new members of the business
community as well as to ensure that the ones who are here now can remain part
of the community for many years to come.
Added on 05/29/2012
President's Message by Chamber blog