Paul Kinney, a World War I veteran and Wenatchee Valley resident since 1902, began selling Standard Oil products in Cashmere in 1919. In 1926 he opened a Standard Station on the corner of Okanogan and Methow Street in Wenatchee, and with the assistance of his wife, Helen “Ma” Kinney, started the Plaza, a 720 square foot confectionery and food store on the corner of Okanogan and Orondo. The original store featured a window opening onto an ice cream bar with four stools, and a full service grocery counter within. In 1939 Paul rebuilt his station further from the store to accommodate more parking.
In 1961, after saving for 35 years, Mr. & Mrs. Kinney realized their dream of erecting a 6000 square foot building with 4000 square feet of shopping area. A separate seafood, John and Gene’s Fish Market, and produce market occupied about a third of the new store. Additionally, they built an “ultramodern” restaurant/ice cream parlor on the corner of the triangular lot that had been the site of the original store. They believed giving customers a good selection of top quality goods along with friendly service in a modern setting would keep the goodwill of the neighborhood and allow them to hold their own against huge supermarkets.
During the 1960’s, the use of the “Super Jet” name was confined to certain Washington stores that followed a fast checkout design and maintained 2000 to 4000 square feet of retail space. The first in the state was Stan’s Super Jet in Tacoma. The second store in the state to earn this designation was the Plaza. Ice cream continued to be manufactured in a building behind the Plaza Super Jet known as the “Plant”. Many area residents can recall being recruited by the Kinney’s in their youth to sell ice cream throughout Wenatchee. Following Paul’s death, his children, Richard, Paul, and Marion (Camp) Kinney, shared ownership of the Plaza.
In 1979, the Plaza Super Jet was purchased by Don Lau and Gary Sinclair, who added approximately 4000 square feet to the building during a 1984 remodel. Gary retired in 1999 and sold his shares to Don, whose first act was to install electronic fund transfer and scanning technologies in the store. Additionally, he began the process of replacing aging equipment by installing a new heating and cooling system, along with produce tables and cold cases. Don retired in 2002 after selling to his son, Jeff Lau, and Plaza Manager David Johnson.
David and Jeff spent several years bringing back the shine of Paul Kinney’s dream. New floors, coolers, automatic doors, roofing and décor have created a better environment for both shoppers and employees. Skilled managers have been recruited to improve the Meat and Produce departments, and train our Grocery department’s team of checkers and courtesy staff on how best to serve our customers. 2005 brought the addition of a deli, seating area, espresso, and another owner. Thirty year Plaza employee Barb Pool became the first to participate in the Plaza Super Jet’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan. A year later David Johnson sold his interest to pursue a career in teaching.
The Plaza Super Jet was awarded Family Foods Fourth Best Overall Store Award for Appearance and Service for 2005 and 2006. This selection was made from over 60 member stores throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. We are committed to taking care of our customers, employees, and store. Our mission is to provide our customers with a family shopping experience. Like the Kinneys, we still believe our service, the quality of our products, and a pleasant shopping environment will keep the neighborhood coming back!