Business

Garguiles have another 'baby'

"Grocery stores have been in the blood of Tim and Steve Garguile since they were children. They have fond memories of helping out at their father's grocery store - Noah's Village, located on 6th Street in Bremerton, where Midtown Market is now - and have had no other desire but to stay in the business they grew up in. But the children have all grown and have a whole new set of worries, including running a small grocery store in a town of big competitors.It (competition) is definitely the biggest challenge, Tim said.The Garguiles' desire to stay in the grocery business never has been quenched. After helping out at their father's store, the Garguiles headed off to college - Tim to Central Washington University and Stephen to the University of Nevada Las Vegas - to study business. When they returned, they got right back to business, working at local markets in Bremerton. Tim started out at his father's store and Steve joined when he got back from school 13 years ago. They bought the Perry Avenue Red Apple Market in 1989 and have been fighting the big store madness from the relative retail calm of Bremerton ever since. As if that wasn't hard enough, the Garguiles recently agreed to add another store in Silverdale. When they heard about the Silverdale Red Apple closing in May, the brothers, taking little time to think about what they were getting into, bought the store and doubled their work loads. The brothers soon learned why the previous store decided to shut its doors.The competition is getting very fierce, Steve said.Indeed, the retail mecca that has become Silverdale offers new and old stores an uphill battle. There is, of course, the immediate competition from what Tim calls the big four: Albertson's, Safeway, Fred Meyer and Costco. But the pool becomes even deeper when competition comes from drug stores and gas stations. Everyone else wants to offer what the Garguiles have. Realizing this, Tim hopes to offer at Red Apple what he thinks other local stores can not. He wants to double his produce section and specialize in perishables. With fresh produce and meat, the Garguiles believe they can keep the loyal base of customers still coming and persuade some of the big-store patrons to defect to their store. With the Silverdale Market deli still out of commission and the details of the move still getting worked out, Tim said the store is at 70 percent of what he ultimately wants it to be.As an independent store, we don't have the budget of the big chains, Tim said. We've got to build it up and build trust with the customers.The Garguiles try to split their time between the Perry Avenue and Silverdale stores, although Tim spends the majority of his time in Silverdale. The pace of running a grocery store can be cause for lament; the pace of running one with a small staff can be cause for exhaustion.You're working while everyone else is playing, Tim said. You have to be about everything.It's like another child, each store, Steve said. You have to be there a lot. The Garguiles changed the name of the Red Apple to Silverdale Market, since it doesn't yet meet the volume standards to continue being a Red Apple. The name doesn't seem to bother them much. Since the Garguiles are tyring to set themselves apart from other stores, losing the name of a chain store seems only fitting.It's great because I provide a service, Tim said when asked what the best part about running a grocery store was. When people bring home food to feed their families, it's great knowing I brought it to them."

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