July 12, 2012

Value Village   will raise money for Victory Village veterans' center in Oroville

By MARY WESTON - Staff Writer

Posted:   07/04/2012 12:35:04 AM   PDT


Click photo to enlarge


Eric   Almquist, chief executive officer of the Oroville Economic and Community   Development...


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OROVILLE   -- A new discount grocery store that will open this month on Oro Dam   Boulevard West will benefit a veterans' housing and services project.

Eric   Almquist and Michael Anderson started Victory Village two years ago to help   homeless veterans and veterans returning from the Middle East wars who might   need a little help re-entering society.

Almquist,   chief executive officer of the Oroville Economic and Community Development   Corporation, and Anderson, executive director of Northern California   Treatment Services, teamed up on the project.

The   concept is similar to a Victory Village in San Diego, which offers housing   and services tailored to the needs of veterans.

Originally,   the local organizers planned to open in October of 2010, after they had   remodeled the building to accommodate 24 beds for veterans, as well as a   community room, kitchen and restrooms.

However,   the project hit a snag when Butte County told them the property needed a   $40,000 upgrade on the sewer system for veterans living on the site.

While   the project slowed, they focused on raising money to upgrade the sewer   system.

"We   started looking for ideas to raise money, and Eric came up with this,"   Anderson said.

Value   Village will have a grand opening July 16-20 with free hot dogs, popcorn,   taffy and 15-cent sodas.

When   in operation, the store will sell discount packaged and canned grocery items,   milk, eggs, ice cream, cleaning supplies, paper goods, toys, cosmetics and   whatever comes



down   the pike from wholesalers.

They   will also sell used furniture and home decoration items. Anderson said they   will start with these items and maybe branch out in the future.

"We're   too far into this (Victory Village) to give up," Anderson said.   "We're going to keep going."

"If   we run into a hurdle, we will jump over it," Almquist said.

Almquist   had thought the project would go faster, but he said it also took many years   to get the Victory Village in San Diego.

"So   I am happy that we have come this far in two years," he said.

"All   the proceeds go for the veterans program," Almquist said. "We   expect the store to earn enough to soon pay for the sewer hook-up fees."

If   all goes well, the store might generate enough profit to build a new building   for the first phase of the project, Almquist said, which is the 24-bed   facility with a community room, a kitchen and rest rooms.

The   project benefits not only Victory Village, but people in the drug and alcohol   treatment programs who will work at the store, Almquist said.

They   have eight veterans in the program at this time. Veterans will get a a 5   percent discount at the store.

The   store will also benefit people on the west side of town who can shop near   their homes and save money.

"It's   a win-win for everybody at every level," Almquist said.

Although   they haven't finished the project, they have had some successes such as a   veteran Pete Bohnhoff who came to the treatment program addicted to alcohol   and drugs and is now finishing a degree at Columbia University, Almquist   said.

Staff   writer Mary Weston can be reached at 533-4415 or mweston@orovillemr.com.

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