MOSES LAKE — Celebrity sighting or grocery store opening? It was hard to tell inside and outside of WinCo Foods in Moses Lake Thursday morning, as the grocery store’s long awaited opening was met with fanfare galore, long lines and, of course, loads of groceries flying off the shelves.
Situated between North Stratford Road and Central Drive, next door to the Moses Lake Town Center and across the road from competitor Walmart, Moses Lake’s newest grocery store boasts 58,000 square feet and is the 21st WinCo in Washington. The opening of the store was a breath of fresh air for several of the locals who walked through the doors during Thursday morning’s grand opening.
“Moses Lake really needed this in my opinion. WinCo has a proven track record and is good to their customers and employees,” Moses Lake resident Tamara Owens remarked. “I have friends in places like Wenatchee who have told me they will make the drive just to shop here at WinCo.”
WinCo Foods, Inc. is a privately held, majority employee-owned chain based out of Boise, Idaho with stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. WinCo stores are open 24/7 and specialize in discounted groceries and bulk foods. WinCo employees and higher-ups politely declined requests for comment from the Columbia Basin Herald on the store’s opening, opting to stay out of spotlight and let the store and all that it offers speak for itself.
“It’s crazy that this is even here. It really makes Moses (Lake) a lot more attractive for tourists and people looking to move here,” Ephrata local Ted Harrison stated.
The erecting of the building itself was a process that took considerably more time and hoops for WinCo officials to jump through than normal store builds. Donna Anderson, Peggy Vines, and a group that called themselves “A Stronger Moses Lake” appealed a Moses Lake Planning Commission decision all the way to Grant County Superior Court, alleging planning was not done to take into account potential traffic and environmental impacts.
The appeal boiled down to potential traffic issues created by the store, including potential problems at the North Stratford Road/West Valley Road intersection and the North Stratford Road/Broadway Avenue intersection.
Speculation swirled in Moses Lake that the attempt to block WinCo from coming to Moses Lake was the work of a local food and commercial workers’ union, as Vines was a vice-president with the United Food and Commercial Workers 1439 and Anderson was a shop steward up until 2010, according to a previous Herald report.
Grant County Superior Court Judge John Knodell dismissed the case in April 2016, allowing the company to start with construction and plan for Thursday’s opening.