‘Hometown proud’: Dissmore’s IGA closes after 85 years

Rosauers will take ownership of store on August 1



Employees can apply, with priority, at Rosauers’ other locations, but they have to wait at least six months before applying to the Pullman Rosauers.

FRANKIE BEER, Evergreen news editor

As a child, Karen Larance stopped by Dissmore’s IGA every Sunday for a fresh maple bar after church. 

In middle school, she and her friends walked to the store on Friday nights to buy a Diet Coke or catch a glimpse of cute baseball players. 

At the age of 15, she secured a job in the bakery and deli section of the store, watching dusty farmers buy cases of cold beer after a long week of driving combines and listening to locals’ plans for anniversary parties as they purchased cakes.  

Now, Larance, along with Dissmore’s IGA owners, employees and loyal fans, said she is sad to see the 85-year-old “Pullman icon” go. The store will close at the end of July, and Spokane-based Rosauers Supermarkets will take ownership of the space on Aug. 1. 

“I mean, Rosauers is a great store, but [Dissmore’s IGA was] definitely a Pullman icon,” she said. “You know at some point somebody’s going to sell it eventually, but they passed it down for so many generations.”

Even so, co-owner Archie McGregor made the difficult decision to sell the store and give Pullman the remodeled supermarket it deserves. After 16 years running Dissmore’s IGA with his wife Shelley, McGregor said it did not make sense to borrow money and remodel it at his age. 

Rosauers’ organic produce and its prior involvement in communities in the Inland Northwest will provide the best opportunity for Pullman and the store’s employees, he said. 

As the McGregors liquidate the store over the next two months, employees must find jobs elsewhere or take advantage of Rosauers’ offer to apply, with priority, at its other locations in Moscow, Colfax and Lewiston, Idaho, McGregor said.  

Employees will have to wait at least six months before applying to the Pullman Rosauers, factoring in potential construction delays during the remodeling process, McGregor said. 

Grocery Manager Michael Rudd said he will not commute to Rosauers’ other locations for work due to inflated fuel prices in Washington state. Although most of Dissmore’s IGA employees have leads on new job opportunities, he is worried for those who do not have access to transportation. 

“What concerns me is the folks that walk everywhere,” Rudd said. “They don’t have transportation, so we’re going to have to work with some of them on how to get to Moscow and/or Colfax. They intentionally work here because they live close [enough to] walk to work.” 

Rudd worked for the store throughout the 1990s in Pullman’s “juggernaut town.” Without a functioning Walmart in Pullman until 2010, Dissmore’s IGA was flooded with business, and employees could barely walk through the store during crowded football weekends, he said. 

After leaving the store when the Tidyman’s grocery chain took ownership of it, Rudd returned in 2008 and made lasting friendships with customers and fellow employees, he said. 

It’s been my whole social life, that’s for sure,” Rudd said. “It’s been a stable, wonderful job. I’ll have to make some adjustments to make all new friends, I reckon.”

When 15-year-old Larance worked at the store for a year, she also gained social skills through interacting with customers, which later helped her in cosmetology school.

She recalled fond childhood memories of walking down Northwest State Street to the store, picking up milk and eggs for her mother and receiving an occasional candy bar as a reward. She perused rows of sugary cereal on special occasions when her cousins spent the night at her house, and she tried Cream Havarti Cheese with Dill – a “little slice of heaven” – there for the first time, she said.

When she learned Dissmore’s IGA was closing, she was shocked and immediately called her girlfriend to make sure it was not an “internet scam.”

When Rudd heard the news, he was disappointed, but not surprised. The store needs “astronomically expensive” repairs for refrigeration and remodeling, which require corporate financing, he said. 

However, Rudd said Pullman community members will surely find themselves missing the only grocery store on the north side of town. 

It’s going to take Rosauers a while to build the community image Dissmore’s has always had for the last 20 years, but they’ll get it done,” he said. “They have a pretty bright future ahead.”

With Dissmore’s IGA, the McGregors have donated to community food banks, held events for WSU Greek Life, participated in the Rotary Club of Pullman International Picnic and hosted the Kiwanis Club of Pullman’s Stuff the Bus fundraiser, McGregor said. 

During the fundraiser, customers could purchase discounted bags of school supplies for local students and donate them to a parked bus outside of Dissmore’s IGA. Providing support for Pullman’s school system is important to keep it strong, McGregor said. 

These acts of community service aim to uphold the store’s “hometown proud” philosophy. McGregor said watching employees graduate from college, families grow up before his eyes and celebrating the store’s 80th birthday have been some of his favorite memories.

“[‘Hometown proud’ means] being more than just a business – being the community center for the town, where everybody comes not just to buy groceries, but also to interact,” he said. “People sit down and have coffee with their neighbors or the people they don’t necessarily see all the time. [It’s] a good place for the locals to get together and to kind of support the whole community and other businesses.”

As customers reached out to Dissmore’s IGA owners this week, McGregor said it felt bittersweet to realize the store has made a lasting impression as it is closing. His employees and customers, whom he considers family, will temporarily find somewhere else to shop while Shelley works at Gritman Medical Center and he embarks on a “new adventure.”

“Is Pullman a better place because of what we’ve done since I’ve been here? I’m gonna say yes,” he said.