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GRAND OPENING: Photos from the big day at Lee’s Market

The Lee's Market crew

The Lee’s Market crew

Lee's Market on Opening Day ready for the rush

Lee’s Market on Opening Day ready for the rush

Just before the opening at 9 am on Dec 9, 2012

Just before the opening at 9 am on Dec 9, 2012


LEE’S MARKET: Fort Langley finally gets its grocery store back

Mayor Jack Froese helps Charlie, Robert and Peter cut the ribbon to open Lee's Market

Mayor Jack Froese helps Charlie, Robert and Peter cut the ribbon to open Lee’s Market

A big crowd welcomed the return of the Lee Family’s new grocery store in Fort Langley this morning. The official ribbon cutting occurred shortly after 9 am with the help of Mayor Jack Froese. Marcon’s Marco Paolella and Russ Wallbank, received a round of applause for the expert construction of the building. Store Manager, Andy Abreo and staff were acknowledged for their tremendous work in getting the store ready to be opened. Robert, Peter, Charlie and the entire Lee family have opened a new chapter in their service to the community. With its new name, “Lee’s Market” will have a fresh focus on local products. The past 37 years of service is evident in the store’s decor with memorabilia such as the old sign that Mark Unrau rescued from the fire and lovingly restored, the heritage photographs of the family and the village, the display of canoes, and a painting by Jack Turpin of “Peter’s Garden” from the old store.

OPENING DATE: Sunday December 9 at 9 am Lee’s Market

Peter Lee's Garden at the old place, painted by Jack Turpin

Peter Lee’s Garden at the old place, painted by Jack Turpin

History will be made in Fort Langley on Sunday. At long last we celebrate the return of our grocery store. Lee’s Market will officially “cut the ribbon” this Sunday December 9 at 9 am. Let’s be there to cheer their return to our village life.Grand Opening Poster

Lee’s Market is a place where everybody knows your name

Robert Lee gets ready for the opening of Lee's Market this Sunday

Robert Lee gets ready for the opening of Lee’s Market this Sunday

By Monique Tamminga – Langley Times
December 05, 2012
The time has finally come. This Sunday Fort Langley will have its grocery store again. Lee’s Market (the former Fort IGA) is celebrating its grand opening on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 9 a.m. There will be door prizes, gift baskets and fun as the community welcomes the Lees and all the employees back to business.
The new store, set back from its original footprint on Glover Road to Mavis Avenue, will be open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This is Fort Langley’s main grocery store and very much a gathering spot for locals. Just like the famed TV show Cheers — Lee’s Market is the kind of place where everyone knows your name. “Through it all, we have had so much support from this community,” said owner Robert Lee.
The Lees have owned the grocery store since 1975. A fire burned the store down on Jan. 4, 2011.
“I say this with pride, I don’t know another community like this. These aren’t customers, these are our friends and family,” said Lee.
That’s why Lee designed the market with the community in mind, including the “Mavis Avenue Cafe” which offers a lot of comfy seating in the deli. With garage-style glass door walls and exposed wood beams above, Lee is very happy with what local builder Marcon created.
“We are going to have sandwiches made to order, signature salads, Chinese, Mexican, pizzas and full service seafood,” said Lee of the deli/cafe.
Store manager Andy Abreo “can’t wait to see everyone again.” Abreo said before the fire, working there didn’t feel like a job.
“This is the kind of place where you don’t rush off after your shift, you hang around because it’s fun.” Several of the 25 to 30 employees are returning to work at Lee’s Market and new hires are already catching on to the spirit, he said.
He’s looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces again. Abreo worked for Lee in the Walnut Grove store when he was a teenager. Lee liked his work ethic and “passion for the business” and hired him as the manager.
“Fort Langley is in good hands with Andy,” Lee said.
The grocery store has served Fort Langley since 1897. It was first known as Coulter Berry store. Other stores followed including Tommy’s Market, Lucky Dollar, Link’s Hardware and IGA, and the Fort Supply Company which was the name in 1975 when the Lee family took over. Before the fire, the store was called Fort IGA.
After a lot of thought, the Lee family decided to carry on business under the “Lee’s Market” name. This allows them to support more local suppliers and carry a wider variety of natural products.
Socializing and shopping will return, and the popular deli, which covers almost one third of the store, will go a long way to re-establishing a much-missed convenience in the village.
Lee’s Market is named after Robert Lee, his brother Peter, and Robert’s nephew, Charlie (who runs the Walnut Grove IGA).
Lee put out a call to farmers and producers that he wanted to buy as much local. Now he will be carrying everything from vegetables, cheeses, meat, eggs and honey that all come from the Fraser Valley.
“The beef we will sell is natural and comes from a great family who raise beef right here in the Fraser Valley. So customers are going to know where their meat comes from,” said Lee.
The rustic beams throughout the store were fashioned from Douglas firs harvested at UBC’s Demonstration Forest in Maple Ridge.
Two large garage doors, one on the west wall of the deli, will allow customers to enjoy their coffee and food on the patio.
The store will have a large section for organic produce. “We’ll still be carrying name brands, but we’ll have a wider selection of natural, organic and local products,” Abreo told The Times earlier this fall.
“We are more passionate about what we are selling. We are telling a story here.”

WEEK 49: Installation of coolers at Lee’s Market

Andy Abreo with Robert & Peter Lee in the cooler aisle of Lee’s Market

Countdown to the finish. Week 49 into the reconstruction of the Lee family’s grocery store was highlighted with the installation of the refrigeration units. Lee’s Market is anticipated to open before the end of November.

LEE’S MARKET: Name change reflects family commitment

The new store is nearing completion. A fresh start for the Lee Family.

The grocery store serving Fort Langley has gone through several name changes. The first store, built in 1897, was know as Coulter Berry. Other stores followed including Tommy’s Market, Lucky Dollar, Link’s Hardware and IGA, and the Fort Supply Company which was the name in 1975 when the Lee family took over. More recently the store was named Fort IGA until it was destroyed by fire in 2011.
After a lot of thought, the Lee family has decided to carry on business under the “Lee’s Market” name. This allows their new store to support more local suppliers and carry a wider variety of natural products. Lee’s Market will bring a new, fresh and exciting concept to the community of Fort Langley. The Lee family, along with the Lee’s Market team, is very excited to start serving and supporting the community they love.
Opening day is getting closer. Please stay tuned for the announcement of the official opening of Lee’s Market.

For over 35 years the Lee Family has operated the grocery store in Fort Langley

LEE’S MARKET: A race against thyme

Marcon Construction working to complete the new store for the Lee Family’s market

The Lee Family’s grocery store is getting closer to its re-opening. A fair bit of work to go still, but stay tuned for some exciting announcements.


FORT SUPPLY, Foods and Hardware, in 1975 when the Lee Family took over

A number of historical photographs of the Lee Family’s store were included in the time capsule buried under the entrance floor. This photo shows the way the store looked in 1975 when the Lee Family purchased what was then known as FORT SUPPLY Foods and Hardware.

1975: Can you guess who is the handsome devil in the apron?

LANGLEY TIMES: Capsule offers a peek into 2012 Langley

The Lee family, owners of the IGA in Fort Langley, hold up a time capsule containing items such as newspaper clippings documenting the rebuilding process of their store, which burned in January, 2011, a badge from the fire department and signatures of residents and supporters. The capsule was buried where the entrance for the new building will be, and a plaque will be placed over top of it. Concrete for the floor was poured on Monday. The capsule will not be dug up again until the building is demolished.
Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times

By Miranda Gathercole – Langley Times 
June 20, 2012
Some day in the far future, the new IGA building in Fort Langley will eventually be demolished.
And when that day finally comes, the developers at that time will find a little present left behind by the residents of today.
A time capsule containing a copy of the Fort Langley Villager Magazine, printouts and newspaper clips documenting the IGA’s history, a badge from the fire department, a business card from Mayor Jack Froese and many other items were all placed in a green metal box and buried in the earth beneath the entrance of the new IGA building on June 16.
Concrete for the floor was poured two days later, securely locking the time capsule away for possibly 100 years or more.
The idea came from owner Robert Lee, who woke up in the middle of the night early last week with a sudden thought that a time capsule should be burred before the concrete is poured. One day it will serve as a reminder to residents in the future about the great community that Fort Langley is today.
“I think it’s a real sign of how much the community misses their grocery store, in particular the Lee family who have run that store since 1975,” said Kurt Alberts, long time Fort Langley resident and organizer of the event. “There’s a lot of eager anticipation hoping the store is up and running soon.”
Dozens of residents and local business owners braved the pouring rain to attend the time capsule burial ceremony and sign their names and well wishes on papers that were also placed inside the capsule.
“It was amazing, there were people rushing around at the last minute to leave their mark, their signature, and make a comment,” Alberts said, adding that is was also interesting to see comments from young people, who wrote about their iPhones and high tech devices that will be archaic 100 years from now.
A plaque will be placed on top of the burial site inside the store once it is finished.

WEEK 30: Floor pour marks work progress

Construction Milestone: Floor goes down for Lee Family’s new grocery store, June 18, 2012

Monday June 18, 2012 marked an important milestone in the progress of the return of Fort Langley’s grocery store. Marcon’s Russ Wallbank, project supervisor, said the pouring of the floor today means the store is well past the half way mark of construction. Robert Lee was on site to watch the pour while his mind was racing with all the decisions he is making about the interior finishing details.

Robert Lee with Fort residents, Brenda and Kurt Alberts, celebrating floor pouring