By Winston Ross The Register-Guard
YACHATS, Ore. — There is once again a place to buy groceries in Yachats. A gleaming revamp of the once-shuttered Clark’s Market has swung open its doors under the banner of C&K Market.
The best part, says Mayor Ron Brean, is that the new store is way better than the old one, which closed a little over three months ago.
“They went in and gutted it, put new floors down, cleaned it up, new fixtures,” Brean said. “It’s stocked with stuff. That old store had a whole row full of Styrofoam coolers. Now it has stuff you might actually want to buy.”
Forgive Brean for laying it on a little thick. He’s more proud of how quickly a critical problem got solved than he is critical of the old shop, which served loyal customers for 30 years before a Bend developer bought it in 2007 — and then shuttered it at the beginning of this year.
People in Yachats banded together immediately after the store closed to get groceries to residents who couldn’t drive to nearby Waldport, Brean noted, setting up a hot line for those who needed help. But there was never much doubt that something would come along to take Clark’s place, he said.
“This is a very resilient town,” Brean said.
C&K is a family-owned company based in Brookings that operates Ray’s Food Place, Shop Smart and Price Less Foods stores across the region. The Yachats store is its 60th, CEO Doug Nidiffer said.
“We like being the major grocery in a small town,” Nidiffer said. As for the Yachats venture, “We’re quite proud of it,” he said. “It turned out pretty good.”
C&K had most of the inventory and equipment it installed in the Yachats store in stock already. So most of the work — after a lease was negotiated with property owner Jerry Clark — had to do with refurbishing the inside and figuring out how to stock the shelves.
“It mirrors what we do in other markets, but it’s a small store in terms of the footprint size and square footage,” Nidiffer said. “There’s a little less selection, so we try to pick the best-selling items from our bigger stores.”
Brean isn’t the only one impressed with the new digs. So is Clark, who was heartbroken to see his family legacy shut down after selling the business in 2007.
“They did what needed to be done to that store that only somebody like C&K, with their capital, could do,” Clark said. “It looks absolutely fabulous.”
The sour spot for him was the legal battle involved in wresting the store back from Bend-based Audia Moore Properties LLC, whose owner, Jay Audia, committed suicide in July 2008 in his Bend home, leaving tens of millions of dollars in debt behind.
Clark said Audia Moore’s current managers agreed to turn the Yachats store and sister outfit in Waldport over to him again, which allowed him to lease both properties to C&K.
The Waldport store should reopen in June, Nidiffer said.