By Karen Hutchinson-Talaski

Staff writer

HERMISTON —"You're always big winners!" exclaimed friends of Jerry Martin as he waited to take a run at the Grocery Outlet's Shopping Spree.

Martin raced against the clock Saturday as he tossed frozen foods and other perishable items into his grocery cart. As his wife, friends and Grocery Outlet employees cheered him on, Martin grabbed two baskets full of groceries in two minutes.

Amid shouts of "Don't forget my potatoes!" from Martin's wife, Ione, to "Use both hands!" and "Go, Jerry, go!" from the small crowd, Martin ended up with $120.73 worth of food.

"That took a lot out of me," Martin said as he caught his breath after the run. "I kept forgetting things (my wife wanted)."

As a bonus, the Grocery Outlet allowed The Hermiston Herald to participate in a two minute shopping spree, with the proceeds going to charity.

The Herald staff chose the Christmas Express, a yearly event sponsored by the Hermiston Police Department. Sgt. Mike Marcus is in charge of the program and was appreciative of the Grocery Outlet's generosity.

"This is great," Marcus said.

The Christmas Express served 515 families last year; giving away non-perishable food items, toys, clothing and other gifts.

"We start taking applications Dec. 1," Marcus said, "State agencies give us names, relatives of families who need help give us names, churches call and give us names."

Cheryl Christian, graphic artist at The Hermiston Herald, filled three shopping carts with $228.57 worth of food and other items in two minutes.

The Grocery Outlet will donate $228.57 to the Christmas Express. Marcus can spend the money in the store any way he wishes.

Grocery Outlet holds a shopping spree every year, according to Judy Mines, owner of the store. Besides the shopping spree, the store gave away $50, $75 and $100 gift certificates to Anna Carpenter, Jabudah Grossmiller and Ron Hooker.

"There were 800 to 1,000 entries," Mines said, "We always have a customer pick the winners."

Mines said the reason she offered The Hermiston Herald a chance to take part in the spree was due in large part to Sheila Cross, salesperson at the Herald.

"Sheila has worked hard for us," Mines said, "and we wanted to do something for the community."

Mines and her husband Woody have been involved in Grocery Outlet stores since 1989. The Mineses re-opened the Hermiston Grocery Outlet in May of this year.

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