Kenneth McKay opened the first McKay’s Market grocery store on 5th and Central in Coos Bay, Oregon, with a commitment to quality and service. McKay’s quickly built a reputation for excellence and became a trusted household name. From that first Coos Bay store, McKay’s Market grew as a chain, at one point operating 26 locations from Crescent City, California to Woodburn, Oregon.
In 1987, Ken retired and passed the reigns to his son, Chuck who bought out Ken’s partner a few years later, becoming controlling owner and CEO. He oversaw the McKay’s Market brand as well as Freshmart and Price ‘N Pride stores over the years, but across the brands, Chuck always maintained his father’s commitment to putting the community and employees first. With Chuck at the helm, our company introduced its employee ownership program in 2007, with 30% of the company’s stock sold directly to employees of the chain. Chuck considered employee ownership to be one of the greatest aspects of his legacy, and it is still reflected in our tagline: “Oregon-Grown, Employee-Owned.”
Chuck retired in 2013, passing the company on to current CEO, Bill Caldwell. In 2016, the company expanded its Employee Stock Option Plan, becoming 100% ESOP-owned and restructuring our Board of Directors. Every member of our directorial team contributes a wealth of experience and knowledge, with many of them having been with McKay’s for decades. Under the direction of our skilled and committed management team, we have made numerous improvements to our stores, our merchandising, and to the selection and value we offer to our community.
A major employer in Southern Oregon, we employ an average of 300 employees across our corporate office and stores, with a seasonal increase in part-time employees during the holidays. Our store managers have been with the company, on average, over 25 years, and have held their management positions for an average of 16 years, which says a lot about our commitment to our people and their dedication to McKay’s.
When Chuck passed away in 2015, the McKay’s brand consolidated, rebranding our Price N’ Pride locations back to the McKay’s name, partly as a tribute to our longtime CEO. We currently operate 9 locations in Southern Oregon and a distribution warehouse. McKay’s continues to offer high-quality products at reasonable prices, regular specials and our famous “Meat Bonanzas,” a new customer loyalty stamp program, and we remain actively involved in community events and fundraisers.