News

At 85, Agnew country store thrives


A group of bicyclists who ride from Railroad Bridge Park to Agnew along the Olympic Discovery Trail two or three times a week stop at Agnew Grocery and Feed for a cold beverage. To the right, store owner Chris Frankfurth and his 11-year-old chocolate Labrador greet the customers.  Sequim Gazette photos by Ashley Miller
 

by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette

Agnew Grocery and Feed is more than just a convenience center between Sequim and Port Angeles.

The quaint country store - with a 1941 Ford farm truck named "Agnes" in the parking lot - is a place where people stop for coffee on the way to work; families rent movies for the weekend; farmers buy grain; and horseback riders still "park" their horses out front while they shop.

An old-fashioned chalkboard hangs outside the entrance where people post information about items they're selling and looking for, as well as services.

Mocha, an 11-year-old chocolate Labrador, greets customers with a friendly sniff.

"Well, hello darling!" drawls Joanna Calloway, one of three women who work the register in addition to owner Chris Frankfurth.

"Coffee's brewing!" she informs the regulars, who respond with "Just put it on my tab."

A sign that reads, "Welcome to our home," hangs above the archway. To the left is the checkout counter. To the right is a unique and extensive wine collection. Straight ahead is the movie rental selection.

Frankfurth purchased Agnew Grocery almost one year ago, about a year after buying the house next door. Though buying the store wasn't his original plan when he moved in, the opportunity presented itself and Frankfurth took it.

When it comes to business, Frankfurth is a far cry from rookie status. He used to own and operate Frankfurth Auto Body and Towing, which he sold three years ago. He takes business seriously but maintains a self-prescribed "have-fun" attitude.

"This is a relaxed country store," Frankfurth said.

"I like not dealing with upset customers (like I did at the auto body company) and I love seeing kids sitting on the porch eating ice cream."

Situated on Old Olympic Highway across the street from Schmidt family farm property and Freedom Farm, Agnew Grocery is the closest store for neighboring residents and a lot quicker than driving to town. To remain competitive, prices are comparable to larger grocery stores.

"There used to be a lot of old stores like this when I was a kid and it's been sad to see them disappear over the years," Frankfurth said, reminiscing about what Sequim looked like when he was growing up, before so much of the farmland was developed and the big box stores came to town.

John Lindstrom built Agnew Grocery in 1926, two years after electricity arrived in the area. The first telephone in Agnew was connected at the store, which served as a community news center.

The original Agnew store also was the train depot in the mid-1920s. The store used to sell fresh meat but larger supermarkets moved into the surrounding areas.

Now, the store offers food, beer, wine, snacks, general groceries, videos, gifts, over-the-counter medicine, bicycle patch kits,

U-bake pizza, Umpqua ice cream and produce.

In the coming months, Frankfurth said he hopes to increase the amount of local produce and add a deli and espresso section - two changes that are expected to be very popular.

To celebrate the store's 85th anniversary and Frankfurth's second year in business, a grand re-opening celebration is scheduled for Nov. 10.

Everybody is invited to stop in and celebrate the Agnew landmark's special day.

Shopping in the country

Agnew Grocery and Feed, 2862 Old Olympic Highway, is open

7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday;

8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday;

and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 452-2466.

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