International Marketplace Point Roberts, WA

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storewanderer
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International Marketplace Point Roberts, WA

Post by storewanderer » June 11th, 2019, 10:03 pm

What is the history of this store? It sits in the odd remote Point Roberts which geographically is cut off entirely from the US (you can only enter it via Canada). The store is quite large and seems really low volume.

The store is pretty large and has pallet rack style shelving, a very small produce department (since half of it can't go across the border into Canada), and large but lightly stocked self service meat and self service deli departments (hot food was still employee serve). Bakery formally seems to have been closed/removed/converted into a parcel room, but there appear to still be limited items being baked there like some breads, cookies, and such. It appears at one time this store actually had a very large service deli and bakery.

The prices in the store were pretty reasonable especially considering the location; this everyday pricing is below what a Safeway would charge in the main part of WA (but not as many specials). This store is running from Supervalu but I am not sure how this place gets its product but somehow they must drive a truck up from WA into Canada then back down to this place... it had usual US items and US vendor items represented like Franz bread, US 7-Up, US Coke, etc. I guess trucks delivering goods are exempt from the restrictions that disallow certain items to cross the border or there is some other special arrangement here.

The store reminded me of a Food Pavilion (old Brown & Cole chain) type store seen up in NW Washington in the past but it appears this is just an independent grocer not affiliated with any chain.

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Re: International Marketplace Point Roberts, WA

Post by Brian Lutz » June 12th, 2019, 11:25 am

For people who live in Point Roberts the multiple border crossings are just a fact of life. From what I understand, there's an elementary school there but Junior High and High School students who live there have to make the multiple border crossings to attend schools in Blaine daily. Presumably anyone living there would have a Nexus card to expedite the border crossings. Restrictions on perishables and border crossings aside, Point Roberts is only a few miles away from the Blaine border crossing so I assume that logistics would be far easier than, say, shipping food to Alaska.

One interesting thing I have heard about Point Roberts is that due to its isolated location and multiple border crossings to get there, it's rumored to be a popular location to place people in the Witness Protection Program.

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Re: International Marketplace Point Roberts, WA

Post by storewanderer » June 12th, 2019, 7:05 pm

I just wonder if there are restrictions that disallow me from bringing, say, an apple from the US into Canada, how does this store get apples that are obviously trucked up from the US, through Canada, then back into the US? There must be some special deal with the customs that allows for the truck to move across the US Border into Canada then back into the US to get this store stuff.

Also it seems so redundant for vendors like soda, bread, etc. to go through those border crossings to service just one store.

Gas stations there were also kind of funny. Prices are per litre as posted. Shell had the gallon price on the pumps/receipt and only litres on the sign, but the others all had the litres on the sign, pump, receipt, etc. The Mobil Station (Speedway owned/dealer operated site now) was very large inside, the store was easily double a typical size, with a half empty c-store; not even a soda fountain machine (seemed to be counters where it was, and also counters where a coffee bar had once been), and clearly when USA Gasoline built that place they were very optimistic about how business would be. It will be interesting to see if this one makes it to Speedway or just continues as a dealer operated Mobil. It probably does fine on gas sales. Heck, gas there in Point Roberts was a little cheaper than it is back home in Reno.

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Re: International Marketplace Point Roberts, WA

Post by Brian Lutz » June 13th, 2019, 9:05 am

Commercial transport of produce across the border doesn't seem to be too restricted (although it would be subject to inspection), and in fact I believe that a fair amount of produce sold in Washington and Oregon is grown in BC. Meat products (especially fresh meats) seem to be far more restricted. I did see a sign in one of the photos on Google Maps saying that fresh chicken was allowed to cross the border, but I imagine a lot of things would be restricted. If you're an individual trying to bring food across the border you're probably going to have a lot harder time of it.

In theory things could also be brought in by boat or by air without the need to cross the border, but Point Roberts has no ferry service and no facilities to handle anything much larger than a recreational sailboat or a small plane.

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Re: International Marketplace Point Roberts, WA

Post by storewanderer » June 13th, 2019, 8:30 pm

Brian Lutz wrote:
June 13th, 2019, 9:05 am
Commercial transport of produce across the border doesn't seem to be too restricted (although it would be subject to inspection), and in fact I believe that a fair amount of produce sold in Washington and Oregon is grown in BC. Meat products (especially fresh meats) seem to be far more restricted. I did see a sign in one of the photos on Google Maps saying that fresh chicken was allowed to cross the border, but I imagine a lot of things would be restricted. If you're an individual trying to bring food across the border you're probably going to have a lot harder time of it.

In theory things could also be brought in by boat or by air without the need to cross the border, but Point Roberts has no ferry service and no facilities to handle anything much larger than a recreational sailboat or a small plane.
The store in Point Roberts had items in meat and produce very clearly marked as to what could and could not cross the border back into Canada. It was actually quite interesting in produce; many things like citrus fruit, cilantro, etc. were all marked as okay to cross the border. I didn't look at the liquor so I'm not sure what rules exist around that...

The border crossing at Point Roberts is very informal. The line moves very fast on both sides. You still have to stop, but, not nearly the amount of questions typically asked. Almost like a technicality on both sides.

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