A wholesale food distributor with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest opened its first Montana location on Saturday in Missoula, a store that represents the company’s 62nd location.
After a lengthy renovation of the former Staples building off Brooks Street, Cash & Carry opened its doors to a curious crowd looking to stock up on bulk items, from 50-pound bags of whole-wheat flower to six-pound cans of Alfredo sauce.
“Missoula is a great draw from a long distance,” said Ryan Weedon, the company’s new store marketing manager. “Oftentimes, the food-service operator is willing to drive a distance because we offer great savings, so it’s worth that time to them.”
The company is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has operated throughout the Pacific Northwest for more than 60 years. It currently operates in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho and Utah.
It can now add Montana to that list.
“We’ll open in Wenatchee (Washington) about three weeks from now, and last month, we opened up in Coeur d’Alene,” said Wheedon. “This is an area where we’re growing. We’ve already got a lot of stores in Seattle, Oregon and Nor-Cal, so these kind of areas are logical for us.”
Cash & Carry may be better compared with Costco than the local grocery store, minus the costly membership. The wholesaler caters largely to restaurateurs and those looking to feed a large number of people.
It sells most of its items in bulk.
“We really like to partner with the food service, especially that mom and pop shop – that 25-seat diner or Thai restaurant,” he said. “We carry a large selection of ethic items because we do a lot of business with Thai restaurants and Chinese restaurants. We do a ton of teriyaki business, but we’ve got everything you need to run any kind of restaurant.”
The new Cash & Carry location on Brooks Street will join Lucky’s Market as the latest additions to the Midtown district.
Lucky’s, a grocery chain specializing in organic and natural foods, will open in Southgate Mall early next year in the building formerly occupied by Sears.
Both Sears and Staples closed their Brooks Street locations in recent years. Sears shuttered its store in the spring of 2015 while Staples closed early last year.
Weedon said the company has been eyeing the Brooks Street location for years. It became available once Staples moved out.
“We put a bid on this location when Staples first moved in, but we missed out on the that,” Weedon said. “We were able to get it this time. We kind of looked on Reserve Street, but it seemed out of the way. This is centrally located and we want to make it easy for the business owner to get to us.”