Forks shopping center expanding

Peninsula Daily News

FORKS -- Bert W. Paul says he wants Forks to become the North Olympic Peninsula's West End shopping destination.

And it's not just talk.

Starting this week, Paul -- owner of the Forks Thrifty Mart Shopping Center at 950 S. Forks Ave. -- will oversee the groundbreaking of a $1.5 million, 18,000-square-foot expansion of the complex that will nearly triple the size of the current Ace Hardware store.

During a tour of the shopping center Friday, Paul explained that the expansion will add an additional six to 10 new employees to the 88 workers on his payroll.

He said he expects construction of the new addition, designed to house an Ace Hardware ``superstore,'' to be completed in August, and the grand opening to be held in October.

`Big plus'

``I think this is going to be a big plus for the community,'' Paul said from his office in the shopping center.

``It's not something that's going to hurt local businesses.''

Paul, whose father, Warren Paul, and two other entrepreneurs opened the Thrifty Mart center in 1973, said the idea behind the center's expansion is to build a destination shopping venue that other businesses in the city can benefit from.

``A major destination shopping center like this will draw more customers to Forks from places like Clallam Bay, Neah Bay and Quinault,'' Paul said.

``This way, other local small businesses can benefit from these customers when they come to town.''

Paul said the current Ace Hardware, which is now 6,000 square feet, doesn't have space for a full line of hardware products.

``We are currently what is called a convenience hardware store,'' Paul said.

``This expansion will make us much more complete.''



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