Report: Haggen plans to close Kitsap stores

haggenClick here for our story on the proposed Haggen store closures. 

Update: Citing bankruptcy court documents, the Bellingham Herald reports Haggen plans to close stores in East Bremerton, Gig Harbor and Silverdale, in addition to the Port Orchard store.

The Seattle Times has a map of proposed store closures here. The closure plan requires court approval.

Haggen plans to close most of its newly-acquired stores and regroup around 37 “core stores” in the Northwest, according to a Thursday news release.

The Seattle Times reports Haggen has selected about 14 Washington stores for closure, including the former Safeway in Port Orchard. Haggen also operates former Albertsons stores in Silverdale and East Bremerton.

In an email, a Haggen representative said a full list of stores slated for closure would be released at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Affected employees will be given 60-day notice before their stores are closed, according to the release.

The reorganization is part of an ongoing bankruptcy for the Bellingham-based grocer. Haggen acquired 146 former Albertsons and Safeway locations across the west early this year but struggled to compete in some of its new markets.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 9.

If you’re a Haggen employee and want to share your perspective on the situation, please contact me at tad.sooter@kitsapsun.com or 360-475-3783.

The full news release is posted below:

Bellingham, Wash. (September 24, 2015) – Haggen today announced its plan to exit from the Pacific Southwest market and realign its operations around 37 core stores and one stand-alone pharmacy in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Chapter 11 process.

As part of its previously announced plan to right-size the Company, Sagent Advisors, LLC has been actively working to explore market interest for its store locations in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

Haggen is asking the Bankruptcy Court for approval to conduct Store Closing Sales. All employees of the non-core stores and the Pacific Southwest support office will receive 60 day notice of the pending store and office closures. During this process, all stores will remain open. Employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits through the normal course of business as previously approved by the court.  

Haggen is supportive of employees securing work elsewhere and is continuing to work with Albertson’s in its request for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to waive the restriction in the FTC Order which restricts the hiring of Haggen employees. Because this is a modification of an order entered by the FTC, the waiver will require Commission approval, which the FTC staff is seeking to obtain on an expedited basis. This has been a priority for Haggen management to ensure its employees can take advantage of every opportunity available to them.

A list of the impacted stores can be found on the Haggen website.

Focus on Core Operations

Moving forward, Haggen intends to re-build its operations around a core group of successful stores made up of 37 stores in the Pacific Northwest. The core stores include 16 of Haggen’s historical stores, one stand alone pharmacy and 21 stores acquired in the 2015 Albertson’s transaction. Haggen’s historical stores have seen strong sales growth over the past year. The 21 newly-acquired stores have proven successful under the Haggen banner and the Company anticipates they will continue to see increased customer counts and sales growth as Haggen continues its original mission of adding more fresh, local, and exclusive items to these new stores and expanding on its successful Pacific Northwest strategy. 

“Haggen plans to continue to build its brand in partnership with its dedicated corporate support and store teams. Haggen has a long record of success in the Pacific Northwest and these identified stores will have the best prospect for ongoing excellence,” said John Clougher, Chief Executive Officer of Haggen Pacific Northwest.  “Although this has been a difficult process and experience, we will remain concentrated in the Pacific Northwest where we began, focusing on fresh Northwest products and continuing our support and involvement in the communities we serve.”

 

34 thoughts on “Report: Haggen plans to close Kitsap stores

  1. I’m sorry people will be losing their jobs. I am not however sorry to see this company leaving my area! The products were over priced and the staff was rude! I was so sad to see Safeway go away in Port Orchard! The people there was nice, helpful and the products were great and a great value!

    1. Just so ya know, everyone who worked there was a former Safeway employee. The staff did not change aside from one girl who was hired into the Deli. People moved around in different positions a bit because some people left but the employees were literally the same as at Safeway.

    2. The prices at Safeway were awful. As a former employee I found it very embarrassing when the company would raise a price so they could then drop the price a few days later and put up a “new everyday low price” sticker That was more expensive than the item was just several days before. It was upsetting when the customers were mad at me and I had nothing to do with safeways pricing bs.

  2. Haggen kept on the original store employees for each location so those “nice and helpful” people are still the same “nice and helpful” people…you try smiling while your whole lively hood is being ripped out from under you.

  3. Something very fishy about this story.

    The purpose of giving them to Haggen was to avoid a monopoly.
    Now that they’re going out of business does that mean Safeway can swallow it back up?

    If so, I guess that’s more proof of how corrupt the system is!

    1. I don’t believe Albertsons/Safeway buying back stores is an option, since, as you note, they were required to divest these stores as part of their merger agreement.

      1. First of all, the company is Albertson’s…Safeway any longer exist as a company…just a brand. Second, Haggen isn’t selling any of the stores…they are closing them, so I guess Albertson’s could come after the fact and buy the property and reopen, wouldn’t seem like a great business decision since all the inventory and fixtures are being sold now. All that will be left are gutted retail square footage.

  4. I too am sorry for the job loss but feel the same way about the loss of the Alberson’s in Silverdale. It was a great store with a great selection at great prices and I shopped there often. Loved the staff and the atmosphere. Then everything changed but not for the good! Hagens came along and the prices when up and the staff rude and the store didn’t feel inviting. In fact it felt empty and basic blah. I now shop at elsewhere but wish the Alberson’s would come back!

  5. Really sorry for the loss of the Port Orchard Safeway.

    Yes they kept most of the employees, but you could tell that management had made their lives difficult.

    Safeway was a local staple, and Haggen’s changed so many of the products normally purchased, left shelves bare without product, raised the prices on items and basically garnered a “go away” atmosphere.

    It used to be that there were dozens of people in the store almost constantly, now you can come in almost any time, and it’s empty.

    The fact that Haggens took a thriving business (even if it wasn’t raking in the dough), a community business and killed it should leave the company embarrassed and responsible to it’s employees whose careers they destroyed.

    1. Safeway was not a local staple, it was one of a whole variety of chain stores that came in the 80s to 90s on an economic boom that oversaturated the grocery market. There are way too many grocery stores in Port Orchard, I doubt Safeway made money on that store, and once WalMart started selling groceries no store in that plaza can compete without being subsidized.

      Remember when Walmart started selling groceries it took a year for Save a lot and Saars to go under. I worked for a grocery store in PO that failed as two separate stores and now exists under a corporate banner that has not made money ever for that chain.

      Before blaming Haggen, one should note, there’s an empty shopping mall across from the High School, empty store fronts that used to be big national chains all over the place. Freddie’s and Wal Mart killed everyone off, there’s too much retail space chasing too few customers

      1. It seems to me you’re either too young to remember, or too ignorant to admit, that Safeway, while perhaps not a “staple” whatever that is, was in Port Orchard LONG before the 80’s. It was in it’s most recent location since the 80’s perhaps, but it had been a local favorite for many years prior to that. I personally feel, though can not prove, that the corporate heads at Haggen’s had this planned from the beginning. It really p!$$€$ me off to see this happen to people in my community, people I know personally outside of the retail business, perhaps grew up and went to school with, having their lives thrown into turmoil like this. Is this the way people should be treated after years of service? Trying to support their families and having their way of life threatened because of corporate greed? Ugh, I have to get off here, I’m getting worked up just thinking about the inhumane treatment some are willing and self serving enough to subject fellow humans to. OK, it’s not a terrorist bombing or some such horrific event, but it has its consequences none the less.

    2. Well, Haggen made the mistake of buying stores that were not in locations with their demographic. From what I saw, Haggen planned on running the former Albertson’s/Safeway stores as they had run their existing stores…as upscale, local/fresh product establishments…similar to Central Market or the now defunct Larry’s Market. Of course the prices were going to go up…in areas where they had historically been, people paid those prices for higher quality, just as people pay higher prices at Central Market. Those who wanted discount grocery prices didn’t shop there. However, you can’t replace a mid range grocery in a low-middle income neighborhood with an upscale grocery with higher prices and expect to keep customers. That was Haggen’s mistake.

  6. I am sorry for the loss jobs in our area with respect to the grocery industry, but on a positive note there is still the possibility of an amazing grocery store in Kitsap County, called the Kitsap Community Food Co-op. This community owned store will bring together the values that our community desires in a grocery store. Good service, clean isles, a place for local farmers to sell their produce while having an education component. The Kitsap Community Food Co-op will be a place that exudes “community” where we purchase food together, nurture each other, and a place to grow our community.

    1. Don’t know if it is on the list (list is in the article) but of all the stores in Kitsap/north Pierce that converted, the Gig Harbor store is absolutely the correct demographic for Haggen. I would expect they have been doing well in that location.

  7. Will feel bad for the employees that lose their jobs…east Bremerton is the store I went to when it was Albertsons but prices are so high they don’t compare to Fred Myers. Very friendly staff and I also do the pharmacy hate to see them leave.

  8. We are a family of 7 who frequently shopped at Gig Harbor safeway until they became Haggens.The prices are ridiculous.The shelves are empty.It is a cold and unwelcoming environment.I feel sad for those who are loosing their jobs but am not upset about the store closing.

  9. I miss the Safeway and its prices, I love Haggen shopping, it’s like a Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Central Market in one, it requires the consumer to thoughtfully purchase items to fit a tight budget, but the quality, is worth the effort to me, I’d rather skip a snack or meal a couple days a week, to have quality , thanks for the great meals, Haggen, thank you all employees for service. Rebound and don’t give up!

    1. Did you bump your head or something Gabee. Not sure what store you shopped at, but I went to Hagens once and it was one of the worst experiences I ever had. Overpriced items on empty shelves and cold shoulder treatment. Of everyone I have talked to that have shopped in a Hagens, have said the same thing. Sounds to me that you are good at turning a blind eye.

  10. It’s ashame to see so many people losing their jobs. Haggen’s did this to themselves. They had to have known that the customer base would drop in the majority of these locations once they raised the prices so high. It would be great to see Albertsons and Safeway to return to some, if not all of these locations to save these folks jobs and allow the communities to retain a neighborhood grocery store instead of having so many vacant buildings.

  11. What a mess. My guess is that Haggens overestimated the cost of acquiring the stores. It also sounds like Safeway and Albertsons did not pass off their stores in good faith to Haggens. Haggens is suing Albertsons for $1 billion due to misrepresentation and sabotaging the transition. I also wonder if Haggen workers would have received a better severance package if Safeway and Albertsons had just laid them off directly and closed the stores.

    1. There is no such thing as a severance package for grocery employees. This is not a corporate job, it’s retail. Every week these employees worry about shifts that affect their family life (stores open on holidays anyone?) enough hours worked to actually qualify for health insurance that month as most employees work only part time. Hopefully a chain will come back in there to replace these stores, as now what the government tried to avoid which was a monopoly of sorts, has actually created one.

  12. I have been to Haggen stores while traveling North of Seattle in the past, and have always found them to be quality stores, much better than Safeway that I have always felt to be over-priced and often deceptive. That said, I believe Haggen’s management got stars in their eyes and got sucked into a bad deal and expanded too quickly, for which they are paying dearly for that now. I will be sad to see the Kitsap stores go so soon because they never had their chance to get established in the community and prove their worth.

  13. Im sure the construction project on Bucklin Hill made it really difficult for business to thrive at Haggen in Silverdale. Such a bum deal!!!

  14. As someone who isn’t a Albertsons fan. I’m am however unimpressed, terribly discouraged, and outraged. I personally loved Haggen and am loyal to them. Safeway should’ve fended for themselves and kept Albertsons and Safeway separate and this whole thing would’ve NOT EVER happened. I actually was very loyal to Safeway before Albertsons ever got involved now I can’t say im as loyal because of Albertsons. It’s sad whats been happening.

  15. My very first experience with Gig Harbor Haggen’s store was a two-fer punch-in-the-eye. First I selected some items and then went to the “Starbucks” counter to get my free annual Gold Card Birthday Drink and check out.

    “Sorry, NoCanDo” said the clerk – explaining that they were not a “real” Starbucks location. “Can I use my Starbucks Card here” I asked? Certainly she said, willing to take my money but not provide the once-a-year birthday drink.

    I said “I believe I’ll pass” I said, and then asked her to ring up the two or three items I’d selected from the shelves. “Sorry, NoCanDo” said the clerk – explaining that you have to buy something from the “Starbucks-that-not-a-Starbucks” counter before you can add on purchases.

    So, I stopped by to relate my experience to the Haggen’s store manager and, as I drove away, I also decided to cancel my Starbucks Gold Card and NEVER return to Haggen’s.

    I sometimes wonder if the Starbucks clerk OR the Haggen’s manager had to put away the items from the counter where I’d tried Haggen’s for the first time.

  16. I worked at Albertsons before we became Haggens. We were told basically that we were sold with the store and could not go to another Albertsons. They made everything sound so great that everyone was excited for the new start for the store. We began to know we were in trouble when no one ever had answers. The prices went up right away. And after only 4 months as Haggen they filed bankruptcy and we were closing. The worst part of all this is we love our customers we see everyday they are family to us. And our co-workers that we spend so much time with there family. This whole thing makes no sense at llllall. its like being in a nitemare. There isn’t a severance package we’ll be lucky if we get our vacation pay! It took me 5 years to build up my sick pay which is out the window now. So I’ve got to say so long Haggen wish I’d never meet you!!

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