Bringing the Economy Home

Super 1 Foods to Hire 80 for its Bonners Ferry, Idaho Store

Super 1 Foods opened a new store in Sandpoint, Idaho back in 2010

The Idaho Business Review reports a small north Idaho town is getting a new grocery store and about 80 new jobs.  In November, Super 1 Foods broke ground on a 50,000 square foot grocery store that’s scheduled to open in Bonners Ferry in June. reports the new store will lower Boundary County’s unemployment rate of 14.6 percent two points. Here’s more from the Business Review:

Ryan Wilson, Super 1 Store Director, said the Bonners Ferry store will include a pharmacy as well as a section of organic and gluten-free products.

This will be the twelfth Super 1 Foods store owned by the McIntire family of Hayden. Randy McIntire, son of founder Ron McIntire, is now running the business. He said the choice of Bonners Ferry seemed obvious.

“We are from Idaho. We have several stores in Idaho, and (Bonners Ferry) is the county seat,” said Randy McIntire.

According to 2010 census data, the population of Bonners Ferry is 2,543 people, up only 1.1 percent from the year 2000.

When complete, Super 1 will be competing with two other grocery stores, Safeway and Akins Harvest Foods, both located within the city limits. But McIntire said his store is sure to create an additional draw for people from outside the area.

“The Canadian business is getting better and better,” he said, adding that Super 1 will have much larger meat and produce departments than those of his competitors.

And because the town does not have chain stores such as Home Depot and Staples, this Super 1 store will have an expanded hardware and school supply section.

The unemployment rate in Boundary County is14.6 percent. These 80 jobs will lower that level by about 2 percent, said Mike Sloan, director of economic development for the county.

The construction of a new U.S. Border Patrol station and a manufacturing company’s recent purchase of land are also expected to create new jobs.

Sloan said many people travel to Sandpoint to shop at at Super 1, Yoke’s and Wal-Mart. If its prices are competive, the Bonners Ferry Super 1 store will reduce the number of people leaving Bonners Ferry to shop elsewhere, he said.

“Super 1 will need to be aggressive in the market not just in pricing but becoming a part of the community,” Sloan said. “There are a lot of locals that have a bad taste in their mouth over the high prices at Safeway and are looking for some relief.”

To see if Bonners Ferry could support another grocery store, McIntire used a market research company that surveyed county residents.

“The economy is struggling in Bonners Ferry right now but after meeting with city officials and commissioners there, I feel there is a good atmosphere for future growth of the town,” said McIntire.

The building process involves more than just constructing a building and paving a parking lot. At a cost of about a half million dollars, Highway 95 had to be widened. A new access road was built, and two different water systems had to be linked to one another.

But if the community grows over the next two decades, McIntire said he believes they will be able to recover some of that cost through the Urban Renewal Agency.

The general contractor for the store is Bonners Ferry Builders, Inc.. Wilson said that Super 1 has always tried to use local general contractors whenever possible.

“And we’ve been very lucky to have almost all local sub-contractors (in Bonners Ferry), “said McIntire. “It helps get the job done a lot quicker.”

In addition to the half million dollars spent on preparing the infrastructure, the land was purchased for $900,000; the cost of constructing the building is slightly over $4 million; and the cost of equipment in the store McIntire estimates to be approximately $3 million.

Super 1 Foods has five Idaho stores, seven Montana stores and four locations in Washington.


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