Rosauers Supermarkets

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Rosauers Supermarkets, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Founded 1934
Founders J. Merton Rosauer
Headquarters Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Number of locations 22 (2012)
Key people Jeff Philipps (President, CEO)
Products Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor
Employees 2,100 (2011)[1]
Parent URM Stores
Divisions Super 1 Foods
Huckleberry's Natural Market

Rosauers Supermarkets, Inc. is a chain of supermarkets based in Spokane, Washington. After the company's founder, J. Merton Rosauer, sold Rosauers to Spokane-based URM Stores in 1984, it eventually grew to 22 stores under the Huckleberry's Natural Market, Rosauers, and Super 1 Foods brands. Rosauers' stores are located in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.


In 1934, J. Merton Rosauer purchased a small grocery store in Spokane, Washington, after obtaining a $1,000 loan from his parents.[1] By 1938, Rosauer sold his first store and invested in another grocery store.[1] After selling off his second store, Rosauer opened his and Spokane's first supermarket in 1949.[1]

In 1984, prior to retiring, Rosauer sold the company to URM Stores, a grocery supplier based in Spokane.[1] By June 1986, Rosauers was operating 25 stores in four U.S. states with about 1,500 employees.[2]

In September 1989, the Board of Directors for URM Stores made the decision to sell off the Rosauers chain.[1] URM Stores agreed to sell 15 of the 24 Rosauers stores through an employee stock ownership plan in February 1990.[3]

On April 10, 1990, Spokane employees of Rosauers voted to accept amendments to their labor contracts that would allow the employee purchase of the company.[3] With 425 of the 700 eligible employees voting, the final count was 377 for and 48 against the company's sale.[3] The sale was completed on July 27, 1990, with the company's 1,250 employees receiving ownership of 15 supermarkets, one freestanding pharmacy, an ice cream plant, and the corporate office building.[1]

A Rosauers store in Meridian, Idaho

On June 13, 2000, Rosauers announced URM Stores had completed the purchase of Rosauers after more than 1,800 of Rosauers' employees voted in favor of the sale.[4] During June 2000, Rosauers was operating 19 stores in the Inland Northwest.[4] Following the acquisition, URM Stores became the fourth-largest employer in Spokane County.[4] Since the sale to URM, Rosauers has opened two more stores, in Yakima, Washington (2002[5]) and Bozeman, Montana (2007[6]).

In December 2008, Rosauers was forced to temporarily close its store on Francis Street in Spokane after 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of the store's roof collapsed.[7] Spokane fire officials said no one was trapped in the debris and only a minor injury to a Rosauers employee was reported.[8] The damage estimate for the roof collapse at the Francis Street location topped $1 million.[9]

In March 2011, Rosauers announced its plans to enter southern Idaho in 2012 with a store in Meridian, Idaho.[10] The Meridian store features a Huckleberry's Natural Market and a cooking school.[10] Rosauers said additional stores are a possibility for the Treasure Valley if the Meridian store performs well.[10]


On November 17, 1993, Rosauers was assessed $50,450 in civil fines for violating federal child labor laws at eight of its Spokane-area stores.[11] Rosauers president Larry Geller said most of the violations involved one or two hours over the 18-hour weekly limit set for employees under age 16.[11]

In April 2013, Alberto Robledo, a 25-year-old transgender customer who goes by "Ally", was banned from the chain's location in Lewiston, Idaho after customers complained when he used the women’s restroom.[12] Lewiston police were called and delivered a "no trespass" order to Robledo as he left the grocery store.[12] A few months later Robledo was set to stand trial for misdemeanor charges related to the alleged battery of a female in May. Local and national news covered the story and some community members and groups have taken to raise awareness about transgender discrimination by highlighting this event.[12]

Huckleberry's Natural Market[edit]

In 1996, Rosauers opened the first Huckleberry's Natural Market on Spokane's South Hill.[13] After proving to be a success, Rosauers opened another Huckleberry's in Spokane Valley in December 1996.[14] The Spokane Valley store was eventually closed while the South Hill store remains in business.[13] Since 1996, Rosauers has added Huckleberry's Natural Market sections to its new and existing stores.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "History". Rosauers Supermarkets. 2009. 
  2. ^ "Rosauers expands in North Idaho". The Spokesman-Review. 1986-06-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "Spokane Rosauers workers OK purchase plan". The Spokesman-Review. 4/11/1990.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Sale of Super 1's parent company is completed". Ellensburg Daily Record. 2000-06-15. 
  5. ^ "Rosauers to open store in Yakima". The Spokesman-Review. 2001-06-13. 
  6. ^ "State briefs: Rosauers plans to open Bozeman store". Helena Independent Record. 2006-10-30. 
  7. ^ "Rosauers roof collapses; winds close roads". The Spokesman-Review. 2008-12-29. 
  8. ^ "Supermarket roof collapses in snowy Spokane, Wash.". Fox News. 2008-12-29. 
  9. ^ "Baptist church's roof, others collapse". The Spokesman-Review. 2008-12-30. 
  10. ^ a b c "New specialty grocery store to open in Meridian". Idaho Business Review. 2011-03-23. 
  11. ^ a b "Rosauers fined for labor violations". The Spokesman-Review. 1993-11-18. 
  12. ^ a b c "Ally Robledo, Transgender Woman, Banned From Idaho Grocery Store". The Huffington Post. 2013-04-15. 
  13. ^ a b c "Rosauers now includes Huckleberry's". The Spokesman-Review. 2009-1-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ "Rosauers to convert store to new format". The Spokesman-Review. 1996-12-21. 

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