Madras Grocery Outlet welcomes new owners
The grocery industry is second nature to Jon Weiss.
"I grew up in the grocery store business. My dad was a grocery store manager in southern California for years and years and years, and he ran some of the largest-volume stores down in California," Weiss said.
So he calls his upcoming purchase of the Madras Grocery Outlet a natural fit.
Current owners Lambert and Rhonda Bourgo agree.
"He seems very business-minded, he has a great sense of humor, he's very outgoing, and he wants to be a part of the community," Rhonda said. "They are planning on keeping the store running as it is, keeping it clean, keeping it well stocked, and they are excited to own their very first Grocery Outlet."
Weiss and his wife, Laura, will take ownership of the Madras discount supermarket on Friday, Nov. 13.
The Bourgos have more than 35 years of combined grocery business experience and opened the Madras store in April 2017.
But come Nov. 3, the couple will be owners of the Prineville Grocery Outlet. They are purchasing the business from Carl and Sharon Shaver, who have owned it for 14 years.
"The owners of the Prineville store are retiring, and they actually called and asked us to apply for their store," Rhonda said. "It's kind of like handing over your kids to a new babysitter."
After the Madras store closes at 7 p.m. Nov. 12, the inventory crew will come in and do a COVID-safe inventory. The next morning, Weiss will be in charge.
Weiss brings many years of retail and business experience. Over the years, he has worked in management for Office Depot, PetSmart, and Barnes and Noble. He also owned a Packmail franchise in Eugene for about five years.
He and his wife settled in Springfield 16 years ago to raise their three children, who are now in their late teens and early 20s. Laura works as an elementary school principal in Springfield but plans to eventually join him in Madras.
In March, Weiss began the Grocery Outlet training program at the Springfield store, where he learned the chain's "unique" business model.
"Then I got through the training, and it's time to start looking for stores to apply for. So the Madras store came up as a posting, and I know Central Oregon a little bit," Weiss said, adding that he has relatives in the Bend area.
He paid a visit to Lambert and Rhonda at the Madras Grocery Outlet.
"It just felt like a natural fit," he said. "They were such good and gracious people, and the store was great, and I drove around the town. The town was beautiful."
He says the small-town feel appeals to him, and he has enjoyed visiting with the locals.
This week, he began working at the Madras store, getting to know the routine and his team of about 25 employees.
His wife was born in Mexico and is a native Spanish speaker, so Laura's bilingual abilities will be an additional asset to the family business.
"We're going to try to engrain in all aspects of the community, and especially the Latino community," Weiss said.
The couple wants to get involved in community organizations and attend local events, but they do not plan to make any big changes to the local business.
"Rhonda and Lambert have run a really great store, and they've done a lot to build it up, and my goal isn't to come in and change the world. I want to just build on their success," Weiss said.
The Bourgos are pleased with the new owners and are thankful for the support of the Madras community for the last three and a half years.
"We've made some really good friends here that are going to be very difficult to leave," Rhonda said. "We're actually very sorry to be leaving, but it's an opportunity for growth for us. I think Jon and Laura will be a really good fit and the next step for this store."
Madras Grocery Outlet
New owners: Jon and Laura Weiss
Address: 1537 SW Highway 97, Madras
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