LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – The popular family-owned Wizer grocery store is closing after 83 years.
Jim Wizer first opened the store on October 29, 1929. That was also the day the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began, but the store survived with help from relatives.
In 1948, the Wizers moved the store from Milwaukee and Bybee Streets in Southeast Portland to Lake Oswego. And in 1960, they moved to a bigger location nearby, so they could be part of a new concept in shopping -- a mall.
Jim died in 1961 and his son Gene took over the company. Now, Gene wants to re-develop the family property into high-end apartments, condos and retail shops. Those shops would include a scaled-down version of Wizers.
“It's right in the middle of a development with retail on one side and housing on the other side. It needs to be done because that helps the whole downtown area,” Gene said.
People who have shopped at Wizers for decades said the store gives them a feeling of family. Some customers still keep personal tabs and Gene still works the counter and bags groceries. Only the beer and wine section of the store will remain open until a decision is made regarding final plans for the building.
The development plans must be approved by the city before the Wizers can move forward. A public meeting on the issue was scheduled for August 13.