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Fred Meyer to close East Francis Avenue store

Thu., Oct. 4, 2012

Fred Meyer will close its store on East Francis Avenue early next year after failing to renegotiate its lease.

Fred Meyer, a division of The Kroger Co., told its 167 employees Wednesday morning of the decision to close on Jan. 31.

The workers will be absorbed into jobs at the region’s four other stores, including those on Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley, on Thor Street in the East Central neighborhood, in Wandermere and in Coeur d’Alene, spokeswoman Melinda Merrill said.

“This is a really tough thing to do,” she said.

The Fred Meyer at 525 E. Francis Ave. is on the margins of profitability and the failure to reach a satisfactory new lease would jeopardize the store’s ability to be profitable, she said. The building is owned by SMS Associates. The group’s partner listed on title records is Sheldon P. Steinberg.

“This store, right now, contributes to the company,” Merrill said. “We’ve always had to work hard to keep it that way. The employees are amazing and have kept our customers.”

The store opened at the Francis location in 1975. It’s among the few locations that are leased. The chain’s other major store buildings in the region are company-owned.

Fred Meyer is searching for a suitable location in the area for a new store but has yet to find a space to lease or land on which to build.

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