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Polishing Poulsbo’s Red Apple
POULSBO — Keeping the Poulsbo Red Apple Market open took more than the efforts of one man — it took three.
Russ Fernandez, Glyn Correll and Jeff Uberuaga, childhood friends and long-time coworkers, recently purchased Poulsbo’s Red Apple Market from Stan and Joann Baker, who owned it for 23 years.
“We didn’t want to see this store just all of a sudden be boarded up and then 20 more people out of work,” Uberuaga said.
He started out at the store decades ago as a box boy when the Poulsbo Red Apple Market was an IGA.
Correll, now a Bremerton resident, was raised in Poulsbo and is happy to reconnect with his hometown.
For Correll and Uberuaga, owning the store meant a return to their roots.
“I made the full circle back to the grocery store. Glyn’s made the full circle back to Poulsbo and Russ is still going in circles,” Uberuaga said.
Correll and Fernandez already owned the Red Apple Market in Bremerton and looked to Poulsbo for expansion. Fernandez also started out bagging groceries in Bremerton.
“We had the store in Bremerton, Russ and I both had worked there for over 30 years. Jeff’s been a friend of mine since grade school. The opportunity came up for this store and it was probably going to close, and we just decided that we would try to keep it open,” Correll said.
Changes are on the horizon for the Red Apple as the new owners look to expand their merchandise to satisfy current customers and attract new ones.
“(We’ll be) bringing in some different items — some newer items — and getting rid of some slower items that don’t sell today, expand the product mix, put in some new equipment, update the store. Obviously we can’t do it all at once, but over time,” Correll said.
They foresee adding an espresso stand and expanding their deli selection.
“We want to bring in some fresh blood to the store. We’ve got great help. We want to attract some of the younger clientele,” Uberuaga said.
More changes will involve the owners finding their place in the community. Smaller grocery stores are struggling in this economy and the only way to stay on top is to find your niche and work with it, the new owners said.
“Hopefully, we can find our little niche here, get our people in and out of the store faster, easy parking, a lit up parking lot and convenience. Convenience and customer service, I just can’t stress that enough,” Uberuaga said.
“Those are the two main reasons people shop this store anyways,” Fernandez said.
Red Apple Market is first and foremost a community driven-store, where returning customers — about 65 percent of the store’s business — and employees often are on a first-name basis.
With regular customers as their backbone, Uberuaga, Fernandez and Correll are ready to plant their feet in Poulsbo and see what kind of fruit the Red Apple Market can bear.
“We’re going to make a stamp in the community,” Uberuaga said. “We’re all hard workers. We’ll do what it takes to make this crazy thing work and we’re excited about it, we really are. It’s a fun adventure.”
Red Apple Market
20441 Viking Way NW, Poulsbo
Store Hours: Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.