By next spring, the Longview Fred Meyer will have an expanded Starbucks, updated service departments, new deli options and a “scan and go” smartphone self-checkout system as a result of a $10 million expansion and upgrade.
And it also will have 100 additional employees.
The extensive remodeling, which started July 23 and has large swaths of the store draped in plastic, should be finished by the end of February, assistant store manager Katie Randall said Monday.
“This is a wall-to-wall remodel,” Randall said Monday. “Every department.”
Randall said the additional workers will be hired across many departments, but the grocery section in particular is growing “immensely.”
“The Asian food section (alone) probably went from about four feet to about 24 feet,” she said. “The expansion of items is humongous.”
Western Construction Services, a Vancouver-based general contractor, is overseeing the remodel, which was valued at $3 million at the time its permit was issued but has a current budget of $10 million, said Jeffery Temple, director of corporate affairs for the Fred Meyer chain.
The store will also be rolling out “Scan, Bag, Go,” a smartphone app that allows users to scan and bag each item as they pick it up and pay with a single barcode scan at checkout.
Fresh food departments such as the deli, bakery, meat and seafood sections will get refreshed as well, and may move around as the remodel nears completion. The store will also receive a new floral desk and florist and a larger Starbucks with a new menu, Temple said.
Shopping aisles will be widened across the store, Randall said, based on customer complaints that they were difficult to move through. And in those aisles, “natural foods” are now integrated with other foods and displayed with a green stripe rather than kept in their own section.
About 12 to 14 more self checkout stands are planned, Temple said, owing to the store’s research showing that approximately half of customers prefer to use self-scan checkout.
Other changes are a response to changing customer needs. The photo department has already downsized and moved, Randall said, due to declining demand. The project’s city permit indicates that the apparel, home and electronic sections will be reduced in size as well to make room for the expanded grocery section.
The expansion comes after the exodus of several household-name retail stores from the area. Macy’s left the Three Rivers Malls in 2017, leaving JC Penney as the mall’s sole remaining anchor store. Nationwide, large retail chains have struggled to compete against Amazon and other e-commerce businesses.
Fred Meyer locations in Vancouver and Portland have seen similar remodels in recent years, and Temple said Longview’s was due for its own. The store was last remodeled in 2003 in a $16 million construction project which added the new service, meat, fish and deli departments, as well as the in-store Starbucks.