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Ted's Westport Market in Westport WA has finally closed down

Photos taken May 12, 2014
Photos taken May 12, 2014
Kristance Harlow

Ted’s Westport Market, formerly known as Ted’s Red Apple Market, finally shuttered its windows and boarded its doors on Monday, June 9th. The Westport, Washington based store was the central grocery store for the Westport area. Locals and tourists alike frequented the supermarket. It was foreclosed by National Cooperative Bank according to The Daily World. They also had unpaid tax warrants filed by the state Department of Revenue for the amount of $54,000.

A month prior to closure, on May 8th, a Facebook page dedicated to the store - under the name Ted’s Red Apple Revival” - posted a status explaining the store’s slow demise. The grammatically incorrect run on sentence was confusing to decipher. The author of the post complained about Ted’s being “in the beginning of forclosure [sic]” and told customers “this is not how we run businesses here in our town thats the way you ran your business” (sic). There was clearly a lot of turmoil within the company and between the company and the community as the post goes on “look how far that got you and than laying to your loyal customers didnt get you any farther than such a disgraceful thing that has happened to our store” (sic).

According to King 5 news, Ted’s Red Apple Revival is a Facebook page started by community members in December 2013. The page may have played a role in driving traffic from the store and raising awareness about the lack of services and products provided at Ted’s. Most complaints throughout the life of the Facebook page were “complaints surround[ing] a shortage of food on store shelves.”

There were 39 responses to the May 8th post. One community member said they hope new owners take over because for the last 30 years “until the last 5 years or so” the location has always provided “a valuable service and good jobs.” This poster wasn’t alone in her gripes, the sentiment was echoed throughout the other responses. Some people were less enthusiastic about the approach of the grassroots movement against the grocery store. Some claimed the store’s demise could be due to the online call for a boycott while others said it was due to poor management and low inventory.

There was no denying that during the month of May the store was in extremely rough shape. The only section without bare shelves was the alcohol section. Prices were through the roof for what was in stock. The price of wine was double, if not triple, when compared to the same bottles for sale in the nearby town of Aberdeen.

Poor regulation may have been part of the recipe towards closure for Ted’s. On December, 2012 the FDA sent a warning letter to Ted’s Red Apple Market for failing a tobacco retailor inspection. According to the FDA letter, the company was selling tobacco via a “self-service display” without direct face-to-face interaction between the customer and the seller.

According to eye witness accounts, over Mother’s Day weekend underage youths were seen consuming alcohol just outside the store. These youths were described as being “11 or 12 years old, but they couldn’t have been older than 14.” They were allegedly drinking out of beer bottles and stumbling around laughing outside of the store.

There are few alternate choices for grocery stores without driving to nearby communities. Some community members consider the demise of Ted’s to be nothing short of criminal. There are many in Westport who cannot drive to Aberdeen to do their shopping. Having a grocery store in town is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for everyone who does not have the means to go elsewhere for their food.

Smaller stores in Grayland and Westport are trying to fill the void. The Hungry Whale, located near the docks in Westport, has been increasing their orders for products such as meat and produce. Twin Harbor Drugs, the local Westport pharmacy, has also increased their food products including eggs and dairy. The Daily World put together a list of local stores that are trying to help the community by stocking food on their shelves. Tourists can help the community by doing some of their shopping at local shops instead of going to Aberdeen for larger stores.

In any case, there is no longer a central grocery store in Westport since Ted’s closed its doors. Store owners’ have left open the possibility of reopening with a handwritten note posted at the building which says, “Watch for Reopening!!!” The ultimate closing of the store came as no surprise to many locals and frequent tourists who have been complaining about the poorly stocked shelves for years.