Ken Giles grew up in the Greenwood/Phinney neighborhood in the 30’s and 40’s. He and his two brothers lived with their parents at 88th and Fremont. At the age of thirteen, Ken started working for his uncle at Erickson’s Market on 87th & Greenwood and a lifelong passion was born. Besides a brief stint at the University of Washington (where he was a member of the Crew team) and a 2 year tour in the Navy, Ken has been working in grocery stores ever since. After being an employee in several different stores in North Seattle, Ken bought the IGA at 73rd and Greenwood from Sam Headman in 1955. He changed the name of the store to Ken Giles IGA, and his name has been on that building ever since. In 1964, Ken and his partner Vic Kaloper bought another store on Queen Anne hill and in 1969 they rounded out their group by purchasing Marketime Foods in Fremont. Eventually they would sell their Greenwood and Queen Anne businesses so they could concentrate on Marketime.
In the meantime, Ken’s 3 sons, Greg, Steve, and Scott, all of whom worked with him off and on while growing up, decided to start their own grocery business and in 1984 bought the Queen Anne store from the family Ken and Vic had sold it to years earlier. Four years later, after adding their brother-in-law, Bill, as a partner, the Giles brothers bought the Greenwood store from the family it had been sold to. Now, all three stores were back in the family. Ken’s “official” retirement, though he’s never really stopped working, came in 1995 when he sold his share of Marketime to his partner Vic and Vic’s son Brad. 6 years later when Vic was ready to retire, he and Brad sold Marketime to us. In 2007, we sold the Queen Anne store to one of Ken’s grandsons and his two partners (check out kens-qa.com for their story) so we could concentrate on our 2 stores north of the Ship Canal.
About that time, we began to fulfill our long term plan of expanding the Greenwood store to encompass the entire building it had been sharing with three other tenants. Finally, after 3 years of planning, designing, and building, we opened the expanded Ken’s Market in April of 2010. Since then, we’ve just been carrying on the tradition Ken started back in the 50’s, providing groceries to our neighbors in Fremont, Greenwood and Phinney Ridge.