Layton continues to court WinCo

Sunday , August 03, 2014 - 8:47 AM

Standard-Examiner correspondent

LAYTON – A grocery chain described by one analyst as Walmart’s worst nightmare appears to be a step closer to coming to Davis County.

Mayor Bob Stevenson and officials from the city’s economic development department recently met with company officials from WinCo about possible expansion into Davis. The discussion included steps the company will need to take to initiate a local development. WinCo owns an 8.75-acre parcel just off Interstate 15 at the Layton Parkway not far from Layton High School.

Bill Wright, director of Community and Economic Development, said no final decisions were made in the meeting but the discussion included site plan layout, building size, exterior improvements, parking, traffic flow, on-site utilities and a submittal timeline.

He described the meeting as positive and said there was discussion about the store potentially being ready for a 2015 opening. In a best-case scenario, Wright said it will probably take nine to 12 months to build the new retail facility, so WinCo would need to initiate the review soon to meet that time frame.

Stevenson was leery of reading too much into the meeting, but said the two sides are still talking.

The meeting signals a change in momentum.

Eager to see the property developed near the new interchange, city officials have tried to prod the Boise-based chain to develop the land, so far unsuccessfully. At one point, Stevenson drove to Boise to meet with company officials to try to accelerate the process.

Stevenson said the two sides have met and talked a lot since his trip to Idaho to reopen discussions.

An employee-owned company, WinCo’s roots trace back to 1967 when Ralph Ward and Bud Williams founded a discount warehouse grocery store in Boise under the name of Waremart. The discount supermarket chain has grown since and changed its name to WinCo in 1999, which stands for Winning Company. The company now has 95 stores in eight states. There are five WinCo stores in Utah, including those in Roy and Ogden.

The company was listed by Forbes Magazine in 2011 as the 66th largest privately held company in the United States.

The company’s growth has not gone unnoticed.

Burt Flickinger III, a supermarket retailing expert for Strategic Resource Group, suggested WinCo may be the best retailer in the western U.S. and is quickly becoming Walmart’s worst nightmare.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

Related Stories