Haggen stores will be back to Albertsons and Safeway

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Safeway again - Shoreline store at 155th and Aurora
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

By Diane Hettrick

Locally, the Haggens in Lake Forest Park will go back to being an Albertsons and the Haggens in Shoreline will go back to being a Safeway. Both will be owned by Albertsons LLC.

Haggens is history in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, but not in Bellingham and a handful of other Northwest stores, where the Haggen name will be retained once the new owners take over.

According to the grocery story blog Coupons in the News, "...just over a year ago, Haggen was a small, regional grocer operating 18 stores in the Pacific Northwest. Going forward, it will be a small, regional grocer operating 15 stores in the Pacific Northwest, the only difference being that it will be operating under new ownership."

Except for a former Safeway in Oak Harbor, all those stores were part of the original Haggens, and will continue to be operated from Bellingham, where the chain originated.

According to Coupons in the News, Albertsons LLC is expected to acquire, pending the bankruptcy court’s approval, the Lake Forest Park store at 17171 Bothell Way NE. Since the conversion, it has been in continuous operation as a Haggens. It will be converted back to an Albertson's.

The Shoreline store at 15332 Aurora Ave N, which was formerly a Safeway, was bought by Albertsons LLC at auction on November 11, 2015. Haggen's closed the store and sold off the contents. Albertsons LLC is almost done converting the Shoreline store back to a Safeway.

Haggens started locally in Edmonds with a Top Foods store on SR 99 and 224th. It later opened a Top Foods in Shoreline on N 175th. Haggens, which had been in financial difficulty for some time, acquired financial backing from a merger with Comvest Partners and started converting some of its Top Foods stores, including the Shoreline store in July 2012, to a supposedly higher end Haggens Fresh. The store was unsuccessful and was closed in July 2013.

Nationally, two huge grocery chains - Albertsons LLC and Safeway - merged, with Albertsons LLC being the dominant partner. Before approving the merger, the Federal Trade Commission required the new Albertsons LLC to divest itself of 168 stores nationwide.

Haggens, with financial backing and encouragement from its new partner, swooped in and bought 146 of the west coast stores, mostly Albertsons (Lake Forest Park) and Safeway (Shoreline). Haggens converted all the new stores to Haggens Fresh during the first half of 2015.

Haggens was in financial trouble almost immediately, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Its creditors eventually forced it to sell most of its assets, including the stores in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.

The original Tops Foods / Haggen Fresh store on N 175th in Shoreline was purchased by commercial property company Merlone Geier, which also owns Town Center in Lake Forest Park. Merlone Geier calls the property Shoreline Marketplace and has leased the space to Trader Joes, Mud Bay, and the Everett Clinic.


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