Store opens in the new West Linn Central Village
by: Vern Uyetake, 
From left, Michael Babbitt; his daughter, Kyla; wife, Carolee; and daughter, Justine, sample cheese served by Michael Scott, the new cheese manager at Market of Choice in Bolton.

After an invitation-only 'Sneak Peek' Tuesday evening, the new Market of Choice in the West Linn Central Village was scheduled to open to the general public at 7 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.

West Linn Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Closson, who attended Tuesday's event at the market, said she was impressed.

'This signals a new phase in the development of the Bolton district,' Closson said. 'I see Market of Choice stepping into a role as a true corporate citizen of West Linn. They're already involved in the schools and the chamber, and I know they want to become even more heavily involved in the community.'

The store has more than 100 employees. At least one-half of the staff are Clackamas County residents, and most of that group live in West Linn. Store Manager Greg Kruse said he is still hiring, and suggests checking the store for openings.

The store's unique interior was the result of an interior designer's efforts, said Kruse. Market visitors will see a variety of warm colors and art adorning the walls as well as painted slogans.

'This is not just a big box with groceries in it,' Kruse said. 'It's pleasing to the eye; the aisles are 6½ feet wide; and the check-out areas are state-of-the-art. We also are proud of having Hi-School Pharmacy inside our store.'

The 33,000-square-foot brick building includes a community meeting room as well as a hot-meat carving station, stone pizza oven, delicatessen, Mongolian grill, scratch bakery, inside and outside dining areas as well as cheese and wine stewards. There also are several kitchens where chefs prepare what Kruse called 'gourmet foods.'

Kruse says the chefs are willing to talk with people about meal planning and share their recipes so that customers can find the scratch ingredients in the store to prepare a home-cooked meal.

Market of Choice offers a full spectrum of foods, the store manager said, from 100 percent organic to natural and conventional.

'We have the best of both worlds,' he said.

Store buyers go to great efforts, he said, to find quality local food products in all categories.

'We have the highest quality standards in every department,' Kruse said, 'as well as the cutting-edge of prepared foods and the equipment we use to prepare them.'

Neighborhood oriented means the store and its employees are involved in the community; for example, getting involved with local organizations, allowing meetings to be held in the store's conference room, giving donations to charitable groups or allowing school children to use the store in various ways for fund-raising.

'All they have to do is call me,' Kruse said, 'and we'll go that extra mile to help them out.'

Closson said she expects the market, which is the anchor store for the Central Village, to be a good neighbor.

'I see a community-building aspect to this area,' Closson said. 'Market of Choice has a community room on their mezzanine level that is open for community groups.

'I envision people shopping there, sitting down at their café for a cup of coffee and enjoying their friends in the community as well as everything that Central Village offers.'

As the anchor store of Central Village, Market of Choice and its more than 130 large parking spaces surrounding the store are located north of Garden Street, east of Hood Street and south of the post office. Store hours are from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The store will be closed only on Christmas day, and will close early Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve.

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