For the first time since 2009, Lakota-area residents will have a full-size grocery store they can walk to again.
Gary and Cheryl DeCoursey, husband-and-wife owner-operators of the new Grocery Outlet at the Dash Point Village, hope the store will fill a gap for local shoppers.
“It means a lot,” Gary DeCoursey said. “Some have mentioned (it’s) like a food desert. There’s really nothing out here; you had to go … quite a ways.”
The store has filled the hole left by the upscale Metropolitan Market, which opened in 2004 and closed at the end of 2009.
Met Market’s exodus left behind 65 employees, and for nearly 15 years, the roughly 33,000-square-foot building, located at 1618 SW Dash Point Road, sat empty.
At the time of its closing, residents had different theories for why the Met failed. It may have been too high-priced for the area, or failed to connect to local shoppers, or simple took too many hits from the 2008 recession.
For their part, the new store aims to cater to both “want and need customers,” DeCoursey said.
“We like to say, you’ll save more (if you shop here first),” he said. “Hey, if you don’t find it here … you can pick up something that you like at the other local competitor down the street. But you’ll save quite a bit of money shopping here.”
Grocery Outlet will only take up about two-thirds of the footprint of the former Met Market building. Another business will be moving into the other vacant portion, Gary DeCoursey said, but he said they’re not sure yet what it will be.
The store will add 32 new jobs to the community, according to Grocery Outlet.
The DeCourseys met and married in the late 1990s and now have two children, Gary said — a 16-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter, plus Tucker, their 8-year-old golden retriever.
Gary DeCoursey has worked in the grocery, retail and distribution industries for more than 30 years. Cheryl is a former corrections officer for the Pierce County Jail.
“I like to joke around that she’s the muscle of the store,” Gary DeCoursey said.
The DeCourseys know a thing or two about independently operating the stores. They briefly ran a store in California and have also run a Burien Grocery Outlet since 2018, so the Federal Way spot is currently their second location.
They both grew up in the Washington area and have lived in Federal Way for about four years. This city struck the right balance for a home that was affordable, safe for raising their family and strategically wise to launch a business.
“Everything that we need for our family and for our businesses is right here locally,” he said.
Grocery Outlet is a discount grocery chain retailer with stores across the West and East coasts. The company sources better deals on products by buying on packaging changes, surplus inventory or product overruns, according to its website.
Hundreds of Grocery Outlet stores, like the new one in Dash Point Village, are independently owned and run by locally-based families.