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Courtesy Photo

An artist’s rendering of the front of the new Stokes Fresh Food Market and Stokes True Value Hardware store.

BURLEY • The owners of Stokes Fresh Food Market have purchased the Burley Albertsons grocery store and plan to remodel the building and combine the two stores into a grocery and True Value hardware store.

Stokes will take over the Albertsons store at Main Street and Pomerelle Avenue on Feb. 6, Stokes owners said. The company expects to open in the new location by this spring to mid-summer.

The move will add 12,000 square feet to Stokes’ 32,000-square-foot store. Stokes will continue to carry the Western Family brand.

The purchase included the facility, fixtures and inventory.

“We are excited to do this and spread our wings in Burley,” said Steve Stokes, who co-owns the store and two others in Preston, Idaho, and Salem, Utah, with brother John Stokes. Another family member owns the fourth Stokes in Aberdeen.

Albertsons’ roughly 50 employees were notified Thursday of the acquisition, spokesman Dennis McCoy said.

“We felt like this was the right decision to make for the community, our company and associates,” said McCoy. “We feel like Stokes Market is the right choice for that location.”

John Stokes said his company will try to retain as many of the Albertsons employees as possible.

Stokes declined to reveal the store purchase price or cost of renovations but said they bought the building for about 30 cents on the dollar compared with what it would cost to build a new store. Grocery store renovations average $150 to $170 per square foot, he said.

“We were going to expand anyway so this was just the best option,” Stokes said. “We bought the building at the right price, and we are making a large investment in the community.”

He said the grocery-hardware combination has worked well in the company’s Utah store.

“This store will be almost a duplicate of our one in Salem,” Stokes said. “We’ve done this before.”

He said his company makes decisions quickly, a trait that sets it apart from the larger chains.

“We can tailor what we sell to the community. And if people don’t like items, we get rid of them,” Stokes said.

And as a smaller company, he said, Stokes can jump on great deals and pass them along to their customers.

Stokes said his father, John Stokes, and grandfather Eldon Stokes were butchers, and his company takes pride in the meat it sells.

“We are going to take our bakery and light it on fire,” said Steve Stokes.

John Stokes said the store is the only grocery in town that bakes goods from scratch.

The bakery will mill its own grain and bake seven varieties of bread daily, along with fresh tortillas, doughnuts and other items.

It also will feature a walk-in beer cave, treasure aisles where special deals are stocked, and organic, bulk and international foods sections.

The hardware store will have a separate entrance and check-out stand, but any grocery or hardware item can be purchased at any checkout, Stokes said.

The company will operate both stores for a while. After the move, it will lease the Overland Avenue building, he said.

Key employees are offered stock options. Employees own about 20 percent of the Stokes chain, he said.

“My job is not to create mega-millions for myself; it’s about who I can bring with me,” said John Stokes. “We have several partner-owners, and I want to make them all rich.”

The original Stokes in Burley was built in the late 1960s.The current store was erected in 1986.

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