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Originally published Friday, May 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Retail Report

Kress-IGA Supermarket to stock local favorites

When Kress IGA Supermarket opens in downtown Seattle next month, it will bring bread, eggs and lettuce to a grocery-starved part of the...

Seattle Times business reporters

When Kress IGA Supermarket opens in downtown Seattle next month, it will bring bread, eggs and lettuce to a grocery-starved part of the city.

It also plans to offer chocolate, flowers, soups and pasta from local chefs and bakers who do not sell to other grocery stores.

Xai Cha's Garden in Pike Place Market doesn't have the delivery trucks or bar codes to market on a large scale.

"She hand-wraps them in paper," said Catherine Willis, Kress' assistant store director, of the owner's product. "We've added a custom register key just for her product."

Xai Cha will walk extra bouquets to Kress when necessary, Willis said. "You can't beat that for fuel conservation."

Piroshky Piroshky, also in the market, will sell its popular Russian dumplings to Kress, which is just a few blocks away at 1423 Third Ave., a space occupied by the department store S.H. Kress & Co. for 50 years until it closed in the 1970s.

In an unusual step for any grocery store, Kress will deal with each of these vendors directly, including taking separate invoices from them. Most supermarkets order from distributors who manage relationships and give them a single bill for everything.

When Willis talked to Tyler Myers, CEO of the company that owns Kress, she loved the idea of having a supermarket downtown. "He said the good outweighed the paperwork," said Willis, who left PCC Natural Markets after 14 years to join Kress.

She scouted the city for unique vendors for the store and came up with nine. Another popular name is Dahlia Bakery, which will walk about 25 loaves of bread to Kress each afternoon.

"We've been approached [by grocery stores] before and always turned it down," said restaurateur Tom Douglas, who also owns the bakery and catering services. "We can't control the product once it's in grocery stores."

With Kress, the loaves will be available for a short time each day — about 2 p.m. to closing — to keep the bread fresh, he said.

"When people get a loaf of my bread, it needs to be perfect," Douglas said. "We felt like with Kress, we're going to be neighbors."

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— Melissa Allison

Tidbits

University Village holds its fifth annual Shop to Make a Difference event today through Sunday to raise money for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Shoppers receive 20 percent discounts at participating stores and restaurants in exchange for buying $20 cards. New to the lineup this year are Buster & Sullivan, Chico's, Eileen Fisher, Johnny Rockets, Kiehl's, Land of Nod, Lucky Brand Jeans, Seattle Sun Tan and Sonrisa, bringing the number of participants to 50. Last year's event raised more than $26,000 for cancer research. — AM

Organic To Go has acquired a chain of three Seattle quick-serve restaurants from FPO called Mel's Market, Joelle's and Simon's. Terms of the cash-and-stock deal were not disclosed. — MA

Dilettante Mocha Café on Broadway will close Sunday and reopen at the new Brix Building at 530 Broadway E. in July with an expanded menu and martini bar. In other summer chocolate news, July 13 is the "first major chocolate show in the Northwest this millennium." The Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon will also include wine tastings, demonstrations, and chef talks from 11 a.m.to 5 p.m. at Bell Harbor Conference Center. — MA

Elizabeth Arden will open its first Seattle-area spa at the Bravern project off Interstate 405 in downtown Bellevue. Scheduled to open in 2009, the 6,000-square-foot Red Door Spa will include nine treatment rooms, manicure stations, pedicure thrones and a hair salon. — AM

The Moscatel family furniture business has closed It's Gotta Go and La-Z-Boy Comfort Center and will soon close Urban Interiors in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. The family is turning its attention to selling "complete designs," and expanding its selection of small-scale furniture to appeal to condo and apartment dwellers. A "consolidation sale" begins today at its remaining Belltown stores: Continental Furniture at 2111 First Ave. and Thomasville of Puget Sound at 2101 First Ave. Its Thomasville franchise stores in Bellevue and Tukwila will mark down prices over the next few weeks. — AM

Starbucks paid an average price of $1.43 a pound for the 352 million pounds of coffee it bought in fiscal 2007, according to its corporate social responsibility report released Wednesday. That's a penny higher than the year before and 15 cents above its average price in 2005. It's also above the $1 to $1.35 a pound coffee commodity price on the New York Board of Trade during the year ended Sept. 30, 2007.

— MA

Redhook Ale Brewery will ask shareholders to approve the issuance of common stock for its merger with Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland at Redhook's annual meeting at 2 p.m. on June 24 at its headquarters office in Woodinville. — MA

Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com. Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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Retail Report is a look at the trends, issues and people who makeup the dynamic and versatile retail sector throughout the Puget Sound region. Every Friday with Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez. Send tips or comments to mallison@seattletimes.com or amartinez@seattletimes.com.

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