Entire Contents of Beloved Montana Grocery Store Up for Auction
Shoppers in the Laurel area were pretty bummed to find out our hometown IGA grocery store was closing. It was a slow, kind of sad demise too... rumors had been circulating for well over a year that the owners were retiring. I stopped by during their final days of business, and it bummed me out. Reese and Ray's was my favorite place to buy meat and produce or when I just needed a few quick things and didn't feel like dealing with the madness at the big box store down the street.
The future is somewhat cloudy on the future of the location.
Reese and Ray's employees that I spoke with before the store closed in mid-May said Albertsons was taking over. My source said the company had offered the employees positions at some of their Billings locations and that a few of her co-workers accepted those offers. She didn't know if Albertsons was planning to renovate the store, or demolish the building and start over. I didn't get a chance to catch up with a manager before they liquidated all the food and locked the doors.
It's unclear exactly when Albertsons plans to renovate the store. I reached out to their corporate office in May, and this is the response I received.
This store will be converted to an Albertsons location during the upcoming remodel project and will be stocked to meet the needs of the neighborhoods around it. Albertsons HR team members met with current Reese & Ray’s IGA associates to discuss employment opportunities available at the new Laurel store, as well as at other Albertsons and Safeway stores in the surrounding area.
Today (6/7) the doors to the shuttered IGA store were reopened so bidders could inspect everything that is hitting the auction block. And I do mean everything. Here are just a few of the items that caught my eye.
Oven, meat grinder, random knife sets.
If you're thinking about opening a restaurant, you should probably take a look at the online auction HERE. That item on the left (above) is a giant commercial oven. In the middle, is the heaviest-duty meat grinder I've ever seen. There are multiple lots of kitchen and butcher knives in the auction.
Everything from the floral department is being sold.
Various buckets, pails, and other florist items are for sale, including the flower fridge. That thing in the middle of the picture (above) is a commercial flower cutter. I bet it works a lot better than my dull kitchen scissors for trimming stiff flower stems.
Catering items, scales, and tons of shelving.
IGA did a fair amount of catering, serving their delicious Chester Fried Chicken and other deli items at weddings, company parties, etc. The auction contains all of those types of items like heating pans, roasters, etc. The last time I checked the online bidding, those cool hanging scales (middle pic above) were sitting at $65 current bids. The interesting item on the right is a hand-crank sausage stuffer.
There are stacks and stacks of bakery items.
Need a bread pan? How about 50 of them? The commercial mixer in the pic above is an expensive piece of equipment. The item on the right is a commercial donut fryer. Oh, how I miss IGA's donuts. You'd have to get there early because they sold out every day.
Everything and the kitchen sink.
Stainless steel ain't cheap, and there is a huge amount of it on the auction. The white item on the right is a commercial bread slicer. How cool is that? There are also dozens of lots of shelving, carts, racks, etc.
Start your vending machine empire.
Even the gumball machines are for sale. Sad face. The auction is presented by Grafe Auction and you can browse all of the items HERE. An auction house representative told me that while the auction is scheduled to end Wednesday morning (6/8) he thought it would probably last a little bit longer. Grafe's website says the auction "begins closing" at 10 am Wednesday. If you're interested in any of the items, I wouldn't wait.
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