Okie's: 'We're still here, but please excuse our dust'

<I>Contributed photo</I><BR>A switch from Sentry to Thriftway won't mean a change in ownership in Ocean Park.

OCEAN PARK - Big changes are on the way at Okie's in Ocean Park - including "a fairly major remodel over the next couple of months" - but one thing that won't be different is the store's commitment to delivering the best products and service to Peninsula customers.

The change that will perhaps set the most people talking is that Okie's is switching from being a Sentry market to Thriftway, as indicated by a change in signs. This definitely does not mean the store is going "big city," but only that Okie's will now be able to give customers the benefits of a better weekly advertising product.

Store manager Rich Schisler explains:

"No, we haven't sold out or been taken over by the big chain stores. We are still your hometown, locally owned and operated favorite place to shop.

"The biggest difference the customer will see other than the cosmetic makeover is that we will be changing from the Sentry to the Thriftway advertising group. Thriftway, just like Sentry, is not a franchise, or a corporation. They are an advertising group managed by independent retailers like ourselves to create cost savings in advertising, so we can deliver our customers a better weekly ad. "The other advantage is buying power as a group, which allows us to compete with the Walmarts, WinCos, and even Fred Meyer and Safeway. As much as possible, our customers' dollars that are spent locally, stay right here in the local economy. Keep an eye out for increased savings opportunities happening throughout the store in every department."

Here is a list of what changes are coming to Okie's by the end of September.

? New interior paint and colors.

? New exterior paint and colors.

? New canopy to cover the entire sidewalk area in front of the store.

? All new flooring throughout the entire sales floor.

? New exterior signs on the building and at the road.

? A completely redesigned wine department.

? New lighting throughout the entire store.

? New display cases in the Service Deli Department.

? New refrigeration cases throughout the store.

? New shopping carts, kid carts and mini carts for customer convenience.

? Several new display fixtures.

Customers have already noticed the new entry doors and entry-mat system installed, as well as having the parking lot re-surfaced and re-striped.

One of the biggest projects is happening behind the scenes. Okie's is having a new compressor system installed called a "parallel rack." This will enable the entire store to keep all of its refrigeration and freezer cases running with just seven compressors, instead of the 17 required now. It is a major expense, but the energy savings will be significant. Along with the new refrigeration system, all of the store's new display cases will be utilizing the most energy efficient components. New lighting will also help save energy.

"It feels good to be taking an active role in trying to cut back our energy consumption," Schisler said.

"I hope you will pardon our dust, we will try to keep the mess to a minimum during the transition," Schisler concluded. "Thank you everyone for your patronage over the years. Stop on in and see what's happening."

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