McDowell Fams

The McDowell family snips the ribbon for Grocery Outlet’s opening Friday.

Builder says he made sure of a quality approach

LYNDEN ­— The opening of Grocery Outlet was so successful the checkout line circled around the inside of the store.

Indeed, the hundreds of shoppers with their carts full were willing to wait in the long line hoping also to get lucky on one of the promotional deals being offered at checkout.

Even getting into the new store at 9 a.m. meant Grocery Outlet gift cards ranging from $5 to $200 for the first 200 lined up at the entrance.

It was a festive atmosphere Thursday as this Guide Plaza location of Grocery Outlet, officially 144 Bay-Lyn Dr., brought together many locals with connections to proprietors Monty and Heidi McDowell, returning “home” to Whatcom County after 13 years in grocery operations in California. Store corporate, city and Lynden Chamber of Commerce representatives spoke before the McDowell family snipped a ceremonial ribbon.

The community’s Project Hope and Backpack Buddies programs will benefit from Grocery Outlet’s generosity, said Mayor Scott Korthuis.

About 33 jobs are created by the deep-discount food retailer here, said Monty McDowell later.

Parents of the McDowell couple are Jerry and Sarah McDowell and Joe and Kathy Cramer, all of Lynden, and they were pressed into duty on the busy opening day as well.

Gary Honcoop, whose construction company did the building, said he insisted on many details of “little things you don’t see” to ensure that the structure fits well for Lynden and will last a long time. 

He took electricians and project managers to six other locations to point out what he did and did not want on the Lynden Grocery Outlet, Honcoop said.

Areas of special attention included data and security cabling, energy-efficient lighting, recapture of refrigeration heat, masonry detail and signing. He could have gone cheap, but didn’t, Honcoop said.

  “It’s truly a community project. From the get-go, that’s been true,” he said.