A popular stop along Highway 395 north of Pasco will soon be accessible off Interstate 82 in Richland too. The Country Mercantile -- a restaurant, gift shop, produce mart, ice cream shop and candy shop -- is coming to the new Badger Mountain South development at I-82 and Dallas Road in Richland. The new store will be in the 4800 block of Ava Way.
Owners Jay and Janece Wood of Wood Enterprises of Basin City broke ground Wednesday at the new Veneto Villaggio, a wine and retail development within Badger Mountain South.
"It's exciting to be able to be a part of that community. The Tri-Cities is growing and there's a lot of interest in having a Mercantile there. We've had a lot of requests from the people living in that area to build there," said Jay Wood.
Windermere Group One Realtor Dan Bruchman, who represents the new development, calls the store "iconic, and ... a Northwest favorite for many years. We are thrilled to have them as a founding partner in our new community."
Jay Wood said he and the manager of the Pasco Country Mercantile, Max Uriostegui, often have travelers and Tri-City area residents tell them the store is a popular destination point.
Visit the Pasco store on any day and you'll find the parking lot full of cars and semi-trucks, along with the occasional piece of farm equipment.
"A lot of the nearby farmers come in for lunch and something cold to drink," Jay Wood said.
The exterior of the Richland store won't look like the Pasco store, which blends in with the surrounding farmsteads.
"Veneto Villaggio, the wine village, has an Italian theme so the exterior of the Richland Mercantile will be more stucco and stone looking. Very different from Pasco for sure, but the inside will be very much the same," said Jay Wood.
He said the Richland store will be a bit larger at 14,000 square feet to accommodate a bread bakery and space for homemade Italian gelato, in addition to ice cream.
"We'll be selling the bread at the Pasco Mercantile too, just not making it on site," Jay Wood said.
The Richland store also will make Ruby's enchiladas and tamales on site, as well as Max's salsas. There also will be a chocolate factory, just like the Pasco store's.
"We've got to have that. It's a visual thing," Jay Wood said.
Because of space limitations, the Richland store will not offer a second site for the Mercantile's annual Harvest Festival with its pumpkin patch and carnival rides.
"It takes a lot of ground to grow pumpkins. This is a new thing for me. I'm a farmer. I'm used to buying land by the acre, not the foot," Jay Wood joked.
According to city of Richland records the new Mercantile is valued at almost $2.5 million. Mike Holstein, MH Construction of Kennewick, is the contractor.
Jay Wood hopes the new store will be open for business early in 2015, most likely sometime in February.
He's excited about the new project.
"I like farming, but I love this retail aspect too. I enjoy working with the public," Jay Wood said.
In addition to the new Country Mercantile, Bruchman said three tenants -- an engineering firm, a title company and an attorney -- have signed leases for a building that has yet to be built. He also has letters of interest from two wine and tasting room companies.
"Now that the site has been graded and isn't just an irrigated field, people can more easily visualize what can be done here," Bruchman said.
For more information on Badger Mountain South go to, http://badgermountainsouth.com.
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-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; email@example.com