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Bleyhl hosting grand re-opening

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Kattie Blanchard, an employee at the Bleyhl Country Store in Zillah, arranges some of the work shirts offered there.

ZILLAH - There will be country gospel music, food and fun for the entire family when Bleyhl Country Store hosts its grand re-opening in Zillah on Friday and Saturday, March 25-26.

The event will showcase a major remodel at the store, located at 1404 First Ave. Zillah manager Jim Febus said the store has a new look and substantially more merchandise, including a dedicated clothing department with Wrangler wear for men, women and children.

"Customers don't have to leave town anymore to buy new clothes," Febus said. The store also stocks cowboy boots and western accessories, like cowboy hats, rhinestone belts, buckles, spurs and jewelry.

Youngsters will enjoy the new toy section, with Ertl's trademark John Deere tractors. There will be western decor, greeting cards and expanded gardening supplies. Do-it-yourselfers will find new displays of plumbing supplies, striking tools and even more Echo power equipment.

Febus said the two-day event kicks off with sales, including Pepsi 12-packs for only $2.99, and hundreds of door prizes. Visitors can sign up for a chance to win a free 42" flat screen TV. Store event hours will be 7 a.m.-= to 5:30 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The public is invited to lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. A local 4-H club is serving up chili dogs, chips and pop, by donation.

On Saturday, local radio personality Charlie Brooks with KXDD 104.1 will do a live remote broadcast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from the store. "Heartstrings," an accomplished Valley trio of sisters, will perform country gospel music at 1 p.m. that day.

Founded in 1964, Bleyhl Farm Service is a farmer-owned cooperative that sells high quality feeds, animal care and home products. The company also includes irrigation, petroleum and agronomy divisions to serve Central Washington's agricultural needs.

About five years ago the company's retail locations - Sunnyside, Grandview, Zillah, Toppenish and Pasco - adopted the more residential, customer-oriented country store theme.

Bleyhl first expanded into Zillah on Jan. 2, 1977, by taking over the former Yakima Farmers Supply operation. The store had only 600 square feet of retail space, plus a storage warehouse. It was located in a converted warehouse on First Avenue, near the community's business core.

Unusually heavy snow in December 1996 collapsed the roof and caused other serious structural damage. Two months later Bleyhl was back in business in a modular building moved onto the property.

Bleyhl general manager Greg Robertson said board members were committed to providing quality service in Zillah so they bought the current property, on First Avenue closer to the city's eastern edge. In June 1999 Bleyhl moved into a new building with 6,400 square feet of retail/office space and a 9,600 square foot warehouse.

"We've come as long way over the years in variety and volume of merchandise available in Zillah," Robertson said.

The current remodel "renews Bleyhl's commitment, and provides residential consumers and commercial farmers alike with more of the quality service they've come to expect from Bleyhl," Robertson added.

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