NYSSA – The Rock Store, a local family-owned grocery store, is continuing to expand. This year, the rural gas station and grocery outlet near Nyssa, will add indoor seating and a two-level building with an outdoor stage built entirely out of storage containers.
Tyler Simpson is a third-generation owner of the Rock Store, which, until September, was known as Owyhee Grocery. He said the additions would build on improvements to the restaurant side of the operation made last year, which included a new parking lot, paint job and restrooms.
Last year, Simpson said, the Rock Store received a small business grant from Business Oregon and a small business loan to help with improvements to a store that serves campers, hunters, and travelers.
Simpson said the idea to use the containers was twofold. He said he wanted to do something unique to get people talking about the business. Plus, he said he wanted to reuse the company’s materials instead of constructing an ordinary building. He said the grocery store and restaurant had the containers and he knows a local supplier in Parma who will help put them together.
He said this time around, he is working with the Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corp., a nonprofit affiliated with Business Oregon, the state’s economic development office, which helped him secure a loan to fund the project’s construction.
He said an engineer is working on the structural engineering and they should have building permits by February. Simpson said the plan is to complete the project by mid-May, in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The outdoor seating and live music were a hit with the community last summer. Simpson noted that the store hosted a music festival in June that drew over 600 people, and the Rock Store will host that event again this year.
Simpson, 27, who took over the business last year, said family is central to the business operation, even as it changes with the times.
“This has always been a family-friendly place for the last 40 years that it’s been in my family,” he said. “So, we really want to keep that theme going.”
The Rock Store is at 2499 Highway 201 and is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The grill is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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