Three Bears coming to Chugiak

State’s eighth store could open by June


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Shelves of food are seen in the Three Bears on Knik Goose Bay Road in Wasilla. A new Three Bears store is opening in Chugiak. The company is hoping the state’s eighth store will be open by June 2014.

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE MIEROP

One-stop shopping is coming to Chugiak.

Three Bears is opening a new store off the North Birchwood exit across from The Crossing church. The store is a combination of a grocery store and a warehouse, said Steve Mierop, Three Bears vice president and chief financial officer.

Along with having a full grocery store, Chugiak’s Three Bears will sell sporting goods — including hunting, fishing and camping gear — household items, non-food merchandise, alcohol and pet supplies, he said. There will also be a gas station outside of the store, Mierop said.

Three Bears carries bulk Costco products, Mierop said, but also breaks the bulk packs down to give its customers the option of buying small or large quantities.

Mierop said Three Bears has a customer friendly layout and places complementary items, like milk and cereal, close to one another.

“We want to make it a great experience for our customers,” he said.

Chugiak’s will be the eighth store in Alaska, Mierop said. Three Bears has three stores in the Mat-Su Valley, two stores in Tok, and one in Seward and Kenai.

Each store is tailored to the community it serves, Mierop said.

“We’ll have ethnic products in one store that we won’t necessarily have in another because there’s a demand in a particular community,” he said.

Crews from Criterion General, Inc. finished clearing the lot last week and began excavation work, said Greg McDonald, commercial leasing and real estate manager for Eklutna Inc., who owns the property.

The new store is good for both Eklutna and Chugiak-Eagle River, McDonald said.

“It’s a tremendous asset for the community,” he said.

Mierop said the goal is to continue work on the 50,000-square-foot building through the winter and open by June 1, 2014.

“Right now, we’re on track to do that,” he said.

The new store will create 70 to 80 jobs in the community, Mierop said, and increase Three Bears’ total number of employees to more than 500.

Mierop said he’s excited to join the Chugiak-Eagle River community.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” he said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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