From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 52 - December 27, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Changes planned at Faler’s

by Alecia Warren

Pinedale residents can expect a few changes to Faler’s General Store after the new year. Once Ridley’s Family Markets officially purchases the town’s only grocery store on Jan. 2, 2008, the new owners said they will change store hours, prices, quality of products, and even the name.

Ridley’s agreed earlier this winter to take over operations at the 63-year-old business next year, and will make Faler’s the 14th store of the Ridley’s chain, located across Idaho and Utah.

“When we heard Faler’s was available, we became very interested, because it’s a very successful store,” said Mark Ridley, Ridley’s operations manager. “And it’s very similar to many of our operations, in terms of being in a small community.”

Ridley’s, a family owned operation since 1984, is currently headquartered in Jerome, Idaho. Mark and his father Jerry, the creator of Ridley’s Family Markets, also live in Jerome.

The Faler family actually contacted Ridley’s about purchasing the store, Mark said, though he couldn’t remember when. Faler’s former president Jud Faler, who declined to comment last Wednesday, sent a letter to customers a few weeks ago explaining that he was forced to sell due to a medical condition that prevented him from continuing to run the store, which includes a Thriftway grocery store, an Ace hardware, a gift shop and liquor store.

Mark declined to say how much Ridley’s will pay to purchase the store.

Many of Ridley’s plans for Faler’s are still being discussed, but Mark said the store name will definitely change to Ridley’s next year.

The new owners will also extend the store’s hours, though Mark said he hasn’t decided yet by how much, as well as install lighting around the parking lot, where many customers can easily slide on black ice and snow in the dark.

“As a company, we’re very focused on a few things — we pride ourselves on the quality of meat and produce, so we will improve the quality of those products,” Mark said. “We’re also very aggressive on pricing because of the programs we have and the buying power of our several stores, and I think customers will notice significantly improved prices, both on a daily basis and in our weekly ads.”

A few Faler’s employees have decided to leave for personal reasons, Mark said, but Ridley’s plans to retain the majority of the store’s current employees.

The Ridleys will drop by the store every week after they assume control, Mark said, as they do with all Ridley’s stores. “We’re excited to be a part of the community, and we’re excited to continue the history of the Faler’s store and improve in areas wherever we can,” he said.

Lana Faler, manager of the gift and floral shop, said she will leave the store once ownership changes in January. She hasn’t heard other employees complain about the change, but she admitted that after 63 years, the store means a great deal to the Falers.

“It makes me sad,” she said of seeing the family name disappear from the store. “I’ve been working here since I was 14, so that’s 28 years, and it’s going to be quite a change. I’m going to miss the customers, miss the management, miss everything. Faler’s is a way of life in Pinedale, especially to the old timers.”

Steve Manning, who has shopped in Faler’s for the past 30 years, agreed that the store is a town legacy.

“It’s kind of a landmark — it’s easy to give someone directions if you tell them where the big fish is,” he said, referring to the novelty oversized trout crowning the Faler’s roof.

But he admits the store has worn down his patience over the last few decades.

“There’s definitely a price difference between Faler’s and what you get in bigger towns,” Manning said. “But this is where you live and that’s what you have to pay.” He’s also struggled to shop after work in the winter, when Faler’s bumps up its closing time from 8 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

“It would be like civilization, if they stayed open past 6 o’clock,” Manning said.

He looks forward to seeing the changes that Ridley’s brings to the store.

“I just hope they do as good a job as Faler’s did in the past,” he said. “Providing good family service.”

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