Kachemak Wholesale gains new look
• Increased stock, decreased prices
By Naomi Klouda
Homer’s oldest grocery store stepped into a new era this spring, made over in shiny new floors, expanded inventory and slashed prices.
Owned by Ray Evarts, Kachemak Wholesale was established 35 years ago after he and daughter Linda came to town at the urging of Ray’s sister, Eleanor Becker.
“She wanted us to look at a grocery store for sale – it was beneath Crabbies Steak and Seafood, though none of that was there then,” Linda Carlos Osif recalled. “We owned a grocery store in Anchorage called Government Hill Grocery that he bought in 1960. My Dad was always in the grocery store business.”
They returned to Anchorage to announce the purchase of the Homer store to Linda’s mother.
“She asked, what did you do in Homer?’ We said, ‘We bought a grocery store. ‘What’s its name?’ she asked. And we couldn’t answer because we had forgotten it in the excitement,” Linda recalled.
Michael and Linda Osif now operate Kachemak Wholesale.
They bought the Kachemak Food Cache and the land around it. Ray Evart took the two acres to construct the Kachemak Center, which he has subleased to numerous businesses through the years. From there, he expanded into a major South Peninsula grocer. During the 1980s, the only other store in Homer was Proctors, where Nomar’s is now, in the years before Eagle-Carrs-Safeway moved in. Later, Save-U-More operated out of Kachemak Wholesale for a decade. Then Evart resumed operations under his own store’s name.
Osif continued the family legacy of operating retail when she moved out of Alaska to St. George, Utah. There she ran a woman’s consignment shop until recently when she put it up for sale. Called home when her father’s health declined this winter, Osif first considered selling Kachemak Wholesale.
“In fact, a sale was pending for 10 months and then it fell through. That’s when I took it over,” Osif said. She already traveled to Homer twice a year to visit parents, three children and 10 grandchildren. Moving back to Homer made sense.
The process of reorganizing inventory and shelving and updating the store’s look started in January before she returned to Homer full time. With the help of her husband, Michael, the work is just about complete.
Famed for its herbal and organic stock, as well as bulk wholesale items, the quaint grocery store also held a hardware section of inventory from when Ace’s Hardware went out of business. Mattresses and auto goods were stocked among the groceries.
Not any more.
“We’re a grocery store and that’s what we should be selling,” Osif decided. They put in the new flooring, added shelves and painted. The produce section is completely remodeled, as is the bulk foods and herbal section. Customers dropping in are impressed, say the clerks.
“We dropped the prices on a cross-range of 350 items and regrouped. Our focus is on customer service. That’s really important to us,” Osif said.
The store fills bush orders and commercial fishing boat orders as well. Look for a re-grand opening celebration in the summer months.
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Posted by Newsroom
on Apr 10th, 2013 and filed under News
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