A staple of South Whidbey, the Bayview Star Store, closed its doors Saturday.
Owner Gene Felton said he appreciated the strong support from customers at the Bayview location. Felton had bittersweet feelings over the closure and said it was an interesting experiment in a small-market deli that had potential.
Felton said he and his wife Tamar set out to create a deli market that focused on organic and all-natural products at the location.
After the economic downturn and more competition came into the area, the traffic for the market just wasn’t there, he said.
“We regret that we can’t continue the operation at this point,” he said. “But, boy do we appreciate their (customer’s) support.”
Indeed, many loved the satellite grocer — the main Star Store is in Langley — and patrons showed their support until the doors were locked.
The Star Store has been the predominant store at the Bayview Cash Store building for eight years.
The store, along with two other locations in Langley, is known for its organic and natural products and a famed deli.
The store announced their closure in late May with a joint press release with Goosefoot, a non-profit organization and landlord of the location.
Felton said the employees at the Bayview location have either moved on or will be joining the Langley location — including members of the deli staff.
Laurel Bennett, deli staff member, said she is sad the store is closing and will miss the friendly environment. She said she enjoyed spending time with customers.
Clinton resident, Marcia Meyers, has shopped there for years and said it will be missed.
“The store was really part of the neighborhood,” she said.
Meyers said she would regularly call-in a sandwich order with the deli; all she had to say was “This is Marcia” and they would whip up a roast beef sandwich, she said.
“I will miss that connection — this is a big loss,” she said.
Cary Peterson shopped at the store regularly for her work at Good Cheer Food Bank, which is across the street from the store. She often walked over whenever she needed something — especially organic butter. Peterson was sad to see the store go.
“I felt provided for with wonderful food in a great neighborhood,” she said.
The store even made an impact on off-islanders. Nancy Doolittle, a Burien resident, shopped there every time she visited her folks on Whidbey.
“I like to buy good healthy food for my parents,” she said. “It’s so sad, this is such a great store.”
Felton said he looks forward to hearing from Bayview staff about what worked at the store, particularly their successful methods of cultivating customer relationships.
He plans to integrate that at the Langley location as much as possible.