Rite Aid aims for Feb. 21 opening

The grand opening of the new Rite Aid store in Kingston, at the corner of Miller Bay Road and State Route 104, is set for Feb. 21. It’s expected corporate managers and local dignitaries will be on hand for a ribbon cutting. Now that the groundwork is laid at Odell’s Corner, other developments there are gaining momentum.

The 18,187-square-foot Rite Aid building is being touted as one of the retail giant’s prototype “customer-world” stores with a design “based entirely off customer feedback and what they’re looking for in a drugstore,” according to company spokeswoman Ashley Flowers.

“The pharmacy is the core business. The design gives customers a direct path to highlight and focus on the pharmacy, emphasizing a one-to-one, patient-pharmacist relationship,” she said. Other features include wider, clutter-free aisles, an easier-to-navigate floor plan, drive-through pharmacy, the latest in digital and one-hour photo processing all aimed at its core shoppers: females.

The store already has a manager, about 20 employees, and two full-time pharmacists, the majority of whom live in the greater Kingston area.

Rite Aid has more than 5,000 stores nationwide and is the third-largest drugstore chain in the U.S. The Rite Aid Foundation offers health and wellness grants to non-profit organizations and works to be a meaningful member of the community, Flowers added.

Jana Kramberger, president of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, said she hopes people “will choose to stay in town more and do their shopping in Kingston” once the store opens.

“My sense is nobody has any beef about it; it’s just the way things go,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to have a negative effect on other businesses here. It’s all good. That’s my motto.”

A long haul to

the ribbon cutting

It’s been a long haul for the Pennsylvania-based company to reach opening day. Plans for the store and development on the two lots adjoining the Rite Aid site were introduced to the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council in July 2005. Groundbreaking took place in March 2007.

Since then, there was a change in the construction firm from Millennium Building Company of Edmonds to Generation Construction of Pacific. Ingress and egress access points to the major North End intersection were constructed by Ace Paving and work was completed on landscaping and stormwater drainage. There were also delays in getting approval on county permit requirements, according to Kevin Broderick of Seattle-based Broderick Architects, the third contracted consultant, who managed to take the project to completion.

The 2.17-acre site is owned by St. Louis, Mo.-based Gunna Development LLC, and zoned as neighborhood commercial.

Road improvements, landscaping, signage, building construction and the fire marshal’s approval have been signed off on and the occupancy permit was expected to be issued Feb. 15, according to Kitsap County Department of Community Development Senior Planner Jeff Smith. Doug Frick of the county’s DCD development engineering division concurred and said the project was almost “wrapped up” with late revisions to the approved construction plans.

“The landscaping looks great. They did a good job on the building, meeting the intent of design standards on the rural character,” Smith said. The building follows the Kingston Design Standards and requirements of the Local Area of More Intensive Rural Development (LAMIRD), a planning tool of the state’s Growth Management Act used in rural development. The Kingston Crossing development across SR 104, which includes Albertsons, follows these same design requirements. On the Rite Aid store what looks like cedar shingles are actually concrete, Smith said.

The only part of the project yet to be completed, but which won’t stop the store from opening, is bonding for work to improve the traffic signals at the intersection, including new light poles and a little bit of “tweaking,” Smith said.

Other developments at Odell’s Corner

Odell’s Corner, site of Rite Aid, joins the other nicknames at the four-way intersection including George’s Corner (also known as Kountry Korner) and Kingston Crossing. Odell’s Corner was named after the Richard K. Odell II who with his wife Nellie Allen, grandniece of the Revolutionary War’s Green Mountain Boy Ethan Allen, built a home there in the early 1920s. Some of Odell’s descendents still live in Kingston.

Currently, two other lots adjoining the Rite Aid site, also zoned neighborhood commercial, are under contract to be purchased by Mike Brooks, owner of Mike’s Car Wash and Detail of Poulsbo. One lot is 1.31 acres and also owned by the Gunna Corporation LLC; the second lot is 1.31 acres, owned by North Sound Bank, according to the County Assessor’s Office.

The lot next to Rite Aid currently has a site development activity permit under review, Smith said, and development on the two lots may include a car wash, small restaurant or coffee shop and additional retail.

Brooks said Craig Steinlicht, certified commercial investment member and associate broker with John L. Scott in Poulsbo, is handling development of retail on the site. Specific details on future development of the two lots is not yet confirmed or available.

Residents have expressed hopes for services, in addition to a car wash, such as a dry-cleaner and family-style diner to fill their needs and keep running errands to Poulsbo at a minimum. The Kingston Historical Society would also like an Odell’s Corner signboard erected there to serve as not only a historical marker, but also to provide a place to announce community events.

Contact the Kingston Rite Aid store at (360) 297-5200.

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