Grocery store on track for Meyers
A vacant building in Meyers that has seen a number of businesses come and go will soon take on a new appearance. If Jim Lira has anything to say about it, his business will become a community staple.
Lira’s Market, a high-end grocery store, will begin to take shape when ground is broken May 15. The property is located in front of the Lake Tahoe Golf Course.
This will be Lira’s second supermarket. The flagship store, located in Rio Vista, Calif., is tentatively set for opening in September. Lira said he will spend $3 million turning his dream into a reality.
The grocery store is limited to 15,000 square feet, but Lira plans to utilize the space for all it’s worth.
“(Lira’s Market) goes back to the days of the family market, where you can go back to the butcher and ask him for the cut of meat you want,” said Sue Abrams, owner of Abrams Realty.
“I’ve got everybody in the family working for the (Rio Vista) store except one brother,” Lira said, adding that he plans on bringing staff members up for three months to train the 20-25 employees that will be needed at the new store.
General contractor Kevin Wong of Sacramento was picked for the Meyers project. Wong was responsible for the remodel of the Raley’s at the “Y” and the Longs Drug building. South Shore businesses have been hand picked to complete the store’s interior and exterior.
The outside of the store will be woodsided with Lake Tahoe river rock. The inside will keep the open beams of the original building for a rustic look.
Lira is even planning on installing a barbecue pit patio where customers can follow their noses to purchase slow-roasted tri-tip and other meats right off the grill. He is also looking into bringing fresh produce from the Sacramento Delta.
Other customer services will include home delivery, discount days for seniors and for customers who use alternate methods of transportation to cut down on fuel use, such as bicycling.
There has been some dispute on how many driveways the market should have. It has been agreed that there will be three, but the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has not made it an easy process.
There are currently two driveways leading in and out of the property.
The TRPA conducted a U.S. Highway 50 traffic impact study and determined that one of two driveways had to be removed.
“That’s a very scary thought,” Lira said of eliminating half of the driveways leading in and out of the land which will serve two businesses.
“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Lira said at last month’s Meyers round table meeting.
Lira funded his own study after TRPA’s to determine the impact one driveway would have on U.S. Highway 50, for firefighters, and for delivery trucks.
He asked the Lake Valley Fire Department to assess the feasibility of one driveway accommodating fire trucks and ambulances in emergencies. The results showed that there would be no way for emergency vehicles to enter the parking lot and be able to turn around quickly, Lira said.
He explained that delivery trucks would have the same problem. “Where are they going to go?” Lira asked.
With the help of TRPA’s Kathy Confield, the TRPA and Lira’s Market supporters were able to find common ground.
Community members are excited about having their own grocer in Meyers. Residents and visitors coming over Echo Summit now have to drive to South Lake Tahoe to grocery shop.
Bob Anderson, a Meyers resident and the executive director of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, thinks having a store in his backyard will be good for the small community.
Dave Beamann, owner of the Lake Tahoe Golf Course behind the future market, agreed that an in-town grocery store would attract visitors on their way into Tahoe, and help guests staying in Meyers and residents who don’t want to fight traffic to get their basics.
“It was such a natural to put Dave and Jim together,” Abrams said,”(Lira’s) is going to be the core to the (Meyers) community.”
Abrams thinks that the new store will change the “ugly” appearance of the Meyers corridor and give a reason for people to stop and enjoy the changes.
Lira has been a property owner in Tahoe since 1974 and an active community member.
Last year after the string of national school shootings, South Tahoe Middle School held an assembly so that the kids could speak out about their feelings.
Lira paid for an 8- by 15-foot cake reading ‘No Violence’ that had to be delivered on a flatbed truck. He also supplied sodas, silverware, and plates.
“It was probably one of the neatest functions ever,” Abrams said, “I don’t know anybody else in town who would have done that.”
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