WinCo Foods is making plans to locate at the Lewiston Center Mall.
The Boise-based grocery chain is "under contract" for a location at the 19th Avenue shopping complex that also houses Macys, Rite Aid, and J.C. Penney.
"Were delighted to announce our interest in the market," said Michael Read, vice president of legal and public affairs for WinCo.
The retailer will likely go into the vacant space on the west end of the complex where a Gottschalks store operated until it closed about four years ago, Read said.
At 56,000 square feet, Read said the store WinCo is considering would have about the same amount of space as a Moscow WinCo, carry more than 900 bulk items and employ about 150 people.
The project still has to go through a period of due diligence where WinCo will check over details such as making sure it can get all the permits it needs, Read said. That work will take an undetermined time and be followed by a construction phase that would last about nine months.
WinCos announcement follows years of speculation that the store, which has about 100 locations, was looking in Lewiston. Last year, a spokeswoman from the Lewiston Center Mall didnt rule out WinCo as a possible tenant. The store surfaced earlier this year as a possible tenant for a new commercial area at nearby Nez Perce Plaza.
For years, most of the new stores WinCo opened were about 90,000 to 110,000 square feet, Read said, but it recently has successfully introduced the smaller format that it will use in Lewiston.
"Thats what made Lewiston a viable (option)," he said.
The WinCo announcement comes as the retailer is expanding with stores in its existing territory of Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Nevada and California, as well as two in Texas. It will add eight new stores in the fiscal year that closes in March.
A Lewiston store will come online sometime after that.
"Its nice to add something in the home state," Read said.
Read "The Rise of the WinCo Empire" from the July 23-29 edition of the Idaho Statesman's Business Insider magazine.
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