Press release from Haggen's

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Shoreline shoppers continue to express their sadness at the closing of the Shoreline Haggen's and the abruptness of the action, particularly regarding the pharmacy. One pharmacy customer said on Wednesday, "My pharmacist at Haggen's called me to come in and pick up a prescription today because tomorrow the in-store pharmacy is closed for good." One reader commented that the pharmacy staff had to spent a couple of hours backing out the insurance claim so the prescription could be transferred and filled at Walgreen's across the street.

Here's what Haggen's has to say:


Haggen Positions Itself for Long­term Growth
­ Bellingham­ based grocery chain continues to close underperforming locations and enhance thriving stores ­

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (July 31, 2013) — Haggen, Inc. today announced it would continue to improve its business and strengthen its competitive position by closing a number of underperforming locations. At the same time, the company is transforming many of its TOP Food / Drug stores into Haggen Northwest Fresh stores, and is examining opportunities for future growth.

For 80 years, Haggen has opened stores under several banners with different value propositions. In 1982, Haggen opened TOP (Tough on Prices) Food / Drug stores to offer customers quality products at price points of recognizable value. Haggen also branched out beyond its hometown of Bellingham in Whatcom County to open Haggen and TOP stores in other regions. Some of these concepts and locations have been more successful than others, depending on the retail environments, competitive landscape and surrounding neighborhoods.

Throughout this transformative process, the company is engaging in an ongoing, thoughtful and thorough examination of all of its stores. It will continue to explore options for stores that are not meeting its financial expectations, while enhancing those that are performing well.

“Haggen is built on a solid foundation, led by a robust, experienced management team and backed by strong investors,” said Clement Stevens, co­president and senior vice president of merchandising. “We are taking necessary actions to sustain and grow our business.”

He added, “Closing stores is an extremely difficult decision, knowing that it will impact some of our valued employees and their families, as well as our guests. The closures are in no way a reflection of our dedicated, hard­working employees. We are committed to placing many of those impacted by the closures in positions at our other stores.”

"These are necessary changes that should position Haggen for business success," said Rick Haggen, former co­chairman of the company’s board and co­owner. “While difficult in the short­term, I'm confident in the transformation process being implemented by the management team."

Upcoming Closures

In the coming weeks, the company will close its Haggen Northwest Fresh stores in Bellevue and Shoreline. Stevens said, “Instead of closing these stores when they were struggling as TOP branded stores, we decided to do all we could do to try and turn these stores around. We invested in both remodeling and rebranding, dedicating our collective resources to give these locations one last chance. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to turn these stores around.

These closures enable us to free up capital and enable us to focus our efforts on our thriving stores.”

Northwest Fresh Store Concept

The success of the Northwest Fresh brand is evidenced in many of the nine other remodeled stores. The TOP Food store in Olympia is the next location to be converted to the new format, with its grand re­opening celebration scheduled for August 14.

With its Northwest Fresh concept, Haggen showcases its commitment to bringing the sustainable local food economy to life. Store signage highlights long­standing partnerships with local farmers, ranchers and food purveyors, and displays elevate the best of local, seasonal and organic foods. Haggen Northwest Fresh stores feature expert butchers, bakers, florists and pharmacists, offering guests a full­service shopping experience.

“We strongly believe in the Northwest Fresh concept,” said Stevens. “We’re looking forward to having all of our stores united under a single banner. Haggen is passionate about providing guests the freshest, best food in the region every day.”

Commitment to its Employees and Mission to Support Local Farmers
As the company implements its transformation plan, Haggen remains steadfast in its commitment to provide excellent wages and benefits to its employees, and to support local farmers and food producers. This commitment is evident in the quality of service and products at Haggen stores.

Haggen is proud that it offers its employees a living wage with strong health benefits. As a result, the company boasts an unusually low turnover rate, and the average tenure of a Haggen employee is nine years.

“As we consider these tough decisions, we continue to take good care of our employees, who in turn take good care of our guests,” said Stevens. “Similarly, we see our vendors and suppliers as valued business partners. When we succeed they succeed, and the decisions we’re making in this process will not only benefit the long­term health of Haggen, but will strengthen our partners’ businesses.” Stevens added, “As Haggen approaches its 80th anniversary, we are thoughtfully evaluating how to ensure our business will thrive for another 80 years. This is part of the evolution of any healthy business. We are confident in our team and our long­term strategy to drive Haggen’s growth and success in the years to come.”

About Haggen

Founded in 1933, Haggen, Inc. is one of the Pacific Northwest's leading grocery chains. The Bellingham, Washington­ based company operates more than 20 stores in Washington and Oregon under the Haggen Northwest Fresh and TOP Food & Drug names and is the state's sixth ­largest private company. Haggen is dedicated to providing its guests with the best of the Northwest. For 80 years, it has supported regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses, creating a lasting and sustainable local food economy. Haggen is also deeply rooted in the communities it serves, providing support to local events and partnerships. For more information about what’s happening at Haggen, visit haggen.com and top­foods.com.


7 comments:

Anonymous,  August 2, 2013 at 12:03 AM  

Bizarre that a company that so prides itself on its wonderful employees and loyal customers would do NOTHING to lesson the impact on them during this process.

Would it have killed anyone to keep the pharmacy open for a few more days?

Thank goodness for the ethics of the Pharmacy team.
That frustrates me.
And I will remember when I shop in the surrounding areas.

Anonymous,  August 2, 2013 at 10:23 AM  

This is sad news. Let's hope that this property doesn't return to its pre-TOP Foods status. For those who don't remember or weren't in Shoreline, it was a boarded up UGA store with decrepit chained-linked fencing, graffiti, overgrown weeds, etc. In short, an eyesore. From what I've heard, Haggen had sold the property months ago and had leased it back month to month. That would've been a more-appropriate time to forewarn people, i.e. with sufficient notice. Let's hope that the new owner(s) has a good plan for the property, which is right across from City Hall and adjacent to the Interurban Trail. Perhaps another grocery store (e.g., Albertson's?) or retail store (Target?)...

Anonymous,  August 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM  

I hope a climbing gym. That space would be perfect.

Anonymous,  August 2, 2013 at 5:41 PM  

such a disappointment about the short notice. the pharmacy staff were awesome and took great care of me. I wish I'd the chance to give them one last thank you.

Anonymous,  August 2, 2013 at 8:39 PM  

I feel terrible for the staff left to close the store down, maybe it is inconvenient the way corporate management left customers at the pharmacy but the staff have few options for employment in the company (and elsewhere in retail for that matter). The staff at Top Food/Haggen were great and I will miss them. The regular customers have been coming in and telling them goodbye, and I have gone in to see a couple of them before they are gone.

Mike Mikkelsen,  August 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM  

Truly a shame that this store is closing. I grew up in Shoreline when there was a Tradewell>Prairie Market (in Ridgecrest), a QFC (on Aurora across from Value Mart - now Fred Meyer), the old UGA (?) on the present Haggen's site and neighborhood bakeries and butcher shops. For more than 10 years I lived in Edmonds and then Seattle but moved back to Shoreline a couple years ago and visited Top Foods>Haggens at least once a week because of its superior meats, seafood and produce. At least once a week I'd try to make a trip to the deli for the fish and chips. The deli departments (if you can call them that) at Safeway, QFC and Fred Meyer could take lessons from the Shoreline Haggen's. Even the overrated, overpriced Central Market could learn a lot from the Shoreline Haggen's.

Anonymous,  August 5, 2013 at 6:11 PM  

I was shocked when I went in on Saturday and found out that Haggen's closing. When my kids were younger we enjoyed all the Holiday to do's: they had from decorating gingerbread houses to creating Halloween cookies. My daughter was shocked because the kids from Shorewood would stop buy for snack. Everyone was so Friendly and helpful. Very disappointed. Big business doesn't think what the effects are when they do this. It affects everyone. The people I have spoken to are just as upset as well. They had a better quality bakery, meat and the Oriental express. Hopefully the property doesn't become an eyesore. I lived in Shoreline all my life and remember when Mayfair shut down and they fenced the property what an eyesore.

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