Business

WinCo expands to Montana, Oklahoma

Customers bag their own groceries at checkout counters at WinCo Foods on Fairview Avenue in Boise in this 2013 Idaho Statesman photo. Self-bagging is one way the chain keeps costs low.
Customers bag their own groceries at checkout counters at WinCo Foods on Fairview Avenue in Boise in this 2013 Idaho Statesman photo. Self-bagging is one way the chain keeps costs low. jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

WinCo is expanding into two new states.

WinCo Foods, based in Boise, is an employee-owned discount grocery retailer that has grown rapidly in recent years. It has stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

The first Montana WinCo store will open in Helena. It will be like other WinCo stores — about 85,000 square feet with a large parking lot, on a 10-acre property WinCo purchased, according to the Helena Independent Record.

The company chose Helena for its Big Sky debut because it is Montana’s capital city and “provides us a great opening to get into the Montana market,” said a company spokesperson, who asked not to be named because WinCo prefers not to “single anybody out ... since we all are owners of this company.”

It also is centrally located among western Montana cities like Missoula, Butte, Bozeman and Great Falls.

WinCo has not set an opening date for the Helena store.

Its new store in Moore, Oklahoma, will be the company’s first in that state as well. That store is slated to open next summer.

At the same time, WinCo is working on a smaller-scale store in Keizer, Oregon, that also does not yet have a scheduled opening date. That store will have a “Waremart by WinCo” banner, a call back to WinCo’s early years. WinCo was founded in Boise in 1967 as Waremart.

We’re bringing the Waremart name back for this special store.

WinCo spokesperson in news release

The Waremart by WinCo store will be about 40,000 square feet — roughly half the size of a typical WinCo. It will have the same selection and prices but won’t have full-scale deli and bakery offerings, the company said.

WinCo already has a Waremart store in Independence, Oregon, and plans one in Ontario, Oregon.

WinCo is looking for ways to bring its no-frills model into smaller towns, the spokesperson said.

People in Keizer had been “very vocal in their desire to have a WinCo there,” the spokesperson said.

WinCo keeps prices low partly by not taking credit cards and by requiring customers to bag their own groceries.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected on Nov. 15, 2016 to reflect that WinCo has already opened a smaller-scale Waremart story in Independence, Oregon, so the Waremart in Keizer will not be the first.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

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