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Stockbox Grocers - which aims to solve the problem of food deserts by converting reclaimed shipping containers into itty-bitty grocery stores -- is readying to

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Stockbox Ends Protoype Project in Delridge

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Stockbox Grocers - which aims to solve the problem of food deserts by converting reclaimed shipping containers into itty-bitty grocery stores -- is readying to shut down its prototype store in Delridge, as planned.

As reported on West Seattle Blog, founders Jacqueline Gjurgevich and Carrie Ferrence have marked down items from 20 to 75 percent in order to clear inventory before the closure. The store will close permanently on Sunday, although a merchandise sell-out might warrant an earlier closing date.

The prototype store was housed in a former security trailer, but future stores - including its first permanent store, slated to open in April 2012 - will be created in shipping containers.

"The prototype has been a tremendous experience," Ferrence says. "We have been blown away by the support that we received from the community, for the store and the business."

Stockbox has received international attention, including a write-up this week in the New York Times.

According to Ferrence, the two-month trial period was very instructive: She and Gjurgevich learned the importance of providing shopping lists and meal suggestions; using "community-specific" communication tools, such as text messaging, to reach customers; and helping customers understand how many items a seemingly-small store could hold.

"Most customers assumed that a small space meant few items and then were blown away by how much was actually in the store," Ferrence says. "We would like to be able to convey that sense of space and selection from the outside as well."

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