History of Fred Meyer Home Improvement & Garden Centers

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StoreLiker2013
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Location: Oak Grove, OR
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History of Fred Meyer Home Improvement & Garden Centers

Post by StoreLiker2013 » 15 Apr 2017 22:06

I think now I can conjure a near perfect history of Fred Meyer's Home Improvement & Garden Center concept.

I can say with near certainty that the Home Improvement & Garden Center combination was first tried out in 1968 at Fred Meyer stores in both North Salem and South Salem, as well as up in Lynnwood, WA (which, at 178,000 sq. ft., was not only the largest FM built back then but was also the first original FM built in the Seattle area, following the chain's acquisition of the Marketime Drugs stores nine years earlier). Although the South Salem store had the combo in a separate building placed just due south of the main building (that which lasted until 1979, when the two departments were moved to a new building south of Madrona), both the North Salem and Lynnwood stores had the HI/GC combo inside the main store from their geneses.

But prior to that date, Fred Meyer only had Garden Centers at some of their locations, while various Home Improvement (as well as Garden) items were stocked in the Variety section.

The Portland/Vancouver zone wouldn't see a full-on Home Improvement & Garden Center until 1971, when Fred Meyer opened a separate 30,000 sq. ft. building for the two departments in the parking lot just east of their four-year-old Tigard store. Most of their older stores often had freestanding HI/GCs, including at Southeast (82nd & Foster), Interstate, Raleigh Hills and Hazel Dell.

After that, Fred Meyer included the HI/GC combos directly inside their newly-built stores in Coos Bay (1971) and Albany (1972) and most subsequent new builds, although it is the 155,000-sq. ft. Gresham store (1976) that took the honor of being the first Freddy's in the Portland/Vancouver area built from the ground up to have the HI/GC combo inside it. Only a year earlier, the then 15-year-old Oak Grove Freddy's had the department contained in the newly-built east addition (facing Oatfield Rd east and Oak Grove Blvd south); the Glisan store was the only other pre-existing FM in the Portland area to contain an HI/GC as part of an addition (in 1977).

Of the five Valu-Mart stores in Oregon that Fred Meyer acquired from Weisfield's in Seattle, only the East Salem store had the HI/GC in a separate building (east of Lancaster Dr NE). Question for all you Seattle Fred Meyer fans: which of the eight former Valu-Mart/Leslie's stores in your area had an HI/GC combo?

Timeline:
1961: first Garden Center opens at Raleigh Hills store, in freestanding building at 4949 SW 76th Ave.
November 7, 1968 -- first freestanding Home Improvement & Garden Center opened at South Salem store in separate building in parking lot just south of main store.
November 14, 1968 -- first inside Home Improvement & Garden Center in OR opens at North Salem store.
December 4, 1968 -- first Home Improvement & Garden Center in Seattle area at Lynnwood store, inside.
May 12, 1971 -- first Home Improvement & Garden Center in Portland/Vancouver area opens in Tigard, as a freestanding store.
June 21, 1975 -- first inside Home Improvement & Garden Center in Portland/Vancouver area opens in Oak Grove, as an addition to pre-existing building.
March 17, 1976 -- first Fred Meyer built from the ground up with an inside Home Improvement & Garden Center opens in Gresham.
September 15, 1994 -- final Fred Meyer with "full on" Home Improvement & Garden Center opens in Fisher's Landing, Vancouver.

Number of Fred Meyer stores with a Home Improvement & Garden Center in the Portland/Vancouver area back in 1986: 17
Freestanding: 6 (Southeast, Interstate, Raleigh Hills, Hazel Dell, Tigard and Fourth Plain)
Inside of main building, as an addition: 2 (Oak Grove, Glisan)
Inside of main building, from the ground up: 9 (Stark, Gresham, Mill Plain, Clackamas, Beaverton, Tualatin, Oregon City, Cornelius and Division)

~Ben

Super S
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Re: History of Fred Meyer Home Improvement & Garden Centers

Post by Super S » 22 Apr 2017 18:03

I want to say that Fisher's Landing and Orchards in Vancouver opened at the same time as they are identical buildings. I used to live near the Orchards store and remember it having the home improvement area as well.

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