Troy Berglund is upbeat about his Mt. Joseph Family Foods Market business on Main Street in Joseph, and said he is always trying to think of ways to better serve his local customers.

Right now he's in the process of expanding the inside of the store enough to add more merchandise and this week installed new check stands and scanning machines.

"I've had this planned for months," said Berglund last week.

The expansion, made possible by the removal of a men's bathroom and "squaring off the back of the building," will add a total of 280 more feet for groceries. The construction part of the project is almost done, and the grocery store owner hopes to have the project finished by about the middle of April.

"What we're trying to do is serve the residents of Joseph with items they use on a day to day basis," Berglund said. "We hope to expand in every category."

Things customers have requested such as more fat-free, sugar-free and organic foods, "best sellers" in other places and different sizes of popular items will be among the merchandise added to the store's shelves.

Berglund said that everything will have to be moved in the process of expanding the selection, but in the end his customers will benefit.

Monday this week it was business as usual at Mt. Joseph Family Foods, but overnight, the store - if not exactly transformed - moved into a new era.

However, after closing, a small crew from UGA, the grocery warehouse in Spokane that supplies Mt. Joseph, and Berglund worked all night to install two new state-of-the art counters and scanning systems to replace 30-year-old technology.

The new system speeds up credit card payments and will even write the checks for customers.

"It really cleans up the front of the store," pointed out UGA applications specialist Ken Shirts Tuesday morning, while clerk Michelle Hart waited on a customer. She was one of five clerks trained on a simulator of the new scanning/credit card equipment the day before. "It's way nicer. I love it so far," Hart said.

Berglund, a former grocery store owner in Pomeroy, Wash., was welcomed warmly in Joseph in 2005 when he purchased the former Chester's Market - which had been Jerry's Main Street Market for 20 years - after the town's only full-service grocery was closed for more than five months.

Berglund has become involved in community affairs since that time. Last year, for example, he headed Joseph's annual Easter egg hunt, and this year he took a seat on the Joseph City Council

"We want to make this store first-stop shopping for people in Joseph," Berglund said when he arrived in 2005.

The changes now in progress in Mt. Joseph fall in line with that continuing goal.

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