PORTLAND, Ore. -- Most supermarket operators would be exasperated if a planned store expansion and remodel got hung up by road reconstruction and red tape. But for Colin Lamb, owner of Lamb's Garden Home Thriftway here, a three-year slowdown turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It opened up the opportunity for a major redesign that would bring the independent up to speed with fresh-meal merchandising trends. "We had a pretty conventional store planned," said Lamb. "Because of the wait, ...

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