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All signs point to supermarket’s closure

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A liquidation sale is underway at Food Pavilion, a supermarket in north Wenatchee’s Olds Station. The store is set to close.

WENATCHEE — Say farewell to Food Pavilion in north Wenatchee’s Olds Station.

One of the region’s largest grocery stores, the 56,000-square-foot supermarket will close in coming weeks as its parent company focuses on operating smaller, more customer-friendly stores.

A liquidation sale of the store’s merchandise began Saturday.

Its sister store, the Food Pavilion in East Wenatchee, remains open.

Food Pavilion’s Bellingham-based parent company, The Markets LLC, announced the closure Wednesday to store employees. “Store closing” banners and “everything must go” window signs soon followed.

No closure date has been set, said Sue Cole, spokeswoman for The Markets. But store employees said the store would likely be shuttered by mid-March.

According to Cole, the store space was subleased from a Seattle grocery cooperative which had been in legal discussions with the company that owns the building. With those legal issues resolved, said Cole, The Markets chose not to renew Food Pavilion’s lease with the property owner.

Closure of Wenatchee’s Food Pavilion is part of a changing strategy for The Markets LLC, which two weeks ago shuttered its last store in Bellingham, its hometown. Just over two years ago, the company had four stores in the city.

It is simply a matter of directing (The Markets LLC) resources to more profitable opportunities. Like all businesses, it continually reassesses its portfolio of real estate holdings and divests under-performing assets,” said a company news release on the Bellingham closure.

The Markets, then known as Brown & Cole Stores, acquired the Wenatchee store in 1999 when it bought Ennen Food Stores, a five-store chain. At the time, the Olds Station store was named The Fair Market, but the name soon changed when it joined the new owner’s list of stores named Food Pavilion, CostCutter, Save-On Foods, Food Depot and others.

The Markets currently has 12 supermarkets in central and northwest Washington.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.