A Clarkston Heights destination for hardware, candy bars and beer disappeared from the landscape Tuesday, as crews dismantled the former Mr. K’s General Store, carrying away the rubble one dump truck load at a time.
“It’s been a staple building in the Heights for years and years and then all of a sudden it’s on the ground,” said Asotin County Fire Chief Noel Hardin.
The project is the first step in upgrading a location of Kenzie’s Koffee that’s adjacent to the site, said the property owner, Jordan Nelson, in a text.
Nelson and his wife, Kenzie Nelson, the owner of Kenzie’s Koffee, plan to construct a new building that will be parallel to the street.
Removing the former Mr. K’s was one of the only options, because the structure was in such poor condition, he said.
“The building had sat vacant for over 10 years and had holes in the roof,” Nelson said. “People kept breaking into it and (it) was starting to be a real safety hazard.”
When the building, at 2324 Appleside Blvd., was still occupied, Hardin recalls shopping at the store for something simple like a box of Cheerios and walking around five or six pails that were catching water that was dripping from the ceiling during rainstorms.
Even though Mr. K’s had fallen into disrepair, the building held many memories for Asotin County residents.
“It’s a piece of history,” Hardin said.
The store was founded as a grocery store in 1922 by Leon Alboucq, carrying groceries, kerosene, chicken feed and soda, according to the Lewiston Tribune archives.
Alboucq’s son and his son’s wife, Raymond and Bird Alboucq, took over the business and expanded by adding a garage and doing mechanical work on vehicles.
After Raymond Alboucq died, the business was passed on to the third generation in the Alboucq family, the husband-and-wife team of Leon and Alice Alboucq.
“They lived (in a house) behind the store,” Hardin said.
He was Asotin County’s volunteer fire chief at one time and would leave the store and go next door to drive the fire truck to the scenes of emergencies, Hardin said.
The Alboucqs sold to Patty and Jack Knopes in 1987, and the name was changed to Mr. K’s, according to Tribune archives.
Through its many years in business, the store developed a reputation for carrying an eclectic blend of hard-to-find items such as fishing tackle, milk, canned soup and clothes dryer cord sets.
Hardin recalls riding his bicycle to the store as a youngster and buying treats before returning home.
“That store was chock full of a little bit of everything,” he said.
Asotin County Commissioner Brian Shinn used to buy hardware when he was helping his parents with repairs on their Clarkston Heights home.
“It was an old-fashioned general store,” he said.
The changes at what once was Mr. K’s come at a time when the use of another nearby property will be shifting soon.
The fire station next door is moving to 2377 Appleside Blvd. this fall to a building that will have twice the amount of space for fire engines, Hardin said.
“We’re building it right now,” he said.
Williams may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2261.