Central Market looks to enter Gig Harbor market

Snohomish County-based Central Market has its eyes on Gig Harbor.

Its parent company, Town & Country Markets Inc., confirmed Friday it’s negotiating with Olympic Property Group and Powell Development to open a 35,000-square-foot store in north Gig Harbor.

If agreement is reached, the store would be the anchor tenant of an 18-acre retail center planned at Borgen Boulevard and Harbor Hill Drive.

The store would focus on fresh, perishable foods and share many features of the recently completed remodel of the Town & Country Market store on Bainbridge Island. That’s where the family-owned chain got its start 58 years ago.

The Bainbridge store has an espresso shop, expanded food service area with fresh-baked flatbreads, staffed sushi counter, beer growler station and other features.

The company operates six Central Market and Town & Country stores in the Puget Sound region, none so far in Pierce County.

“We are so excited about the possibility of becoming part of the Gig Harbor community,” Bill Weymer, Town & Country CEO said in a news release. “For years, many people have been encouraging us to consider locating a store in the area. This is a wonderful opportunity.”

The companies have talked for 18 months about the partnership and are working on the final stages of an agreement, said John Chadwell, general manager of Olympic Property Group’s Harbor Hill planned community.

The earliest the store could open would be 2018, he said.

During its market research of the area Town & Country held a series of focus groups in Gig Harbor, according to Weymer.

The Gig Harbor store would be surrounded by retail stores and restaurants. It’s the last commercial project to be built within the 235-acre forested area once owned by timber company Pope Resources.

Costco is the largest commercial anchor in the Harbor Hill area. Land clearing is underway at Heron’s Key, a senior living community that is the largest development in the city of Gig Harbor’s history.

Central Market would be within walking distance of Heron’s Key and the other residential neighborhoods under construction. It would join Albertsons as the only other mid-size grocer in the city’s north end.