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Santa Barbara Haggen Locations Go to Vons, Smart & Final

Cliff Drive, Five Points Shopping Center stores to reopen under new banners in 2016

A Vons will be moving into the former Haggen (and Albertsons before that) grocery store inside the Mesa Shopping Center, a space that has been vacant since the end of November.
A Vons will be moving into the former Haggen (and Albertsons before that) grocery store inside the Mesa Shopping Center, a space that has been vacant since the end of November.            (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The two former Haggen grocery stores in Santa Barbara have at last secured new owners, with Vons planning to move into 2010 Cliff Dr. and Smart & Final taking over 3943 State St. — both former Albertsons.

Those locations were noticeably missing from an initial list of stores bought up by competitors as Haggen goes through bankruptcy court. 

In November, the Bellingham, Wash.-based chain announced buyers for 47 of the 146 stores Haggen acquired across five states from AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., the entity created when Safeway (owner of Vons) merged with Albertsons.

Albertsons will reclaim its former store at 1500 N. H St. in Lompoc and pick up the former Vons at 163 S. Turnpike Road in Goleta, according to purchase-agreement approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware.

Sprouts Farmers Market, an Arizona-based national chain, will move into the former Vons at 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, opening sometime later this year, according to company spokesman Diego Romero.

“More details, including the grand opening date and store size, will be announced next quarter,” he said.

Smart & Final will take over the former Vons at 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria and the former Albertsons in Santa Barbara’s Five Points Shopping Center.

The stores will open under the chain’s Smart & Final Extra! format by the end of June, Smart & Final spokeswoman Phyllis D. Banks said.

“The Smart & Final Extra! format provides a one-stop shopping experience where businesses and organizations, as well as households, can purchase grocery and everyday staple needs while also stocking up on thousands of club-size products, all without a membership fee,” she said.

The first Haggen stores opened locally last summer, but all were closed by Thanksgiving 2015.

The chain struggled since entering new markets in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, growing from 18 regional store locations to 164.

Haggen has blamed its failure on Albertsons in a $1 billion lawsuit, which alleges the fellow grocer sabotaged its entrance into new markets by providing false retail data for pricing, taking store inventory and more.

Haggen was selling all but a few core locations in the Chapter 11 process.

Idaho-based Albertsons successfully bid for more than 30 total stores, with plans to carefully and thoughtfully transition stores over the coming months, said Carlos Illingworth, director of communications and government affairs for Albertsons and Vons.

David Pintard of Investec Real Estate, which manages the Mesa Shopping Center on Cliff Drive, said that store could open around April 1 after Vons re-staffs, re-fixtures and secures proper permits.

“We believe Vons is the best possible alternative to come out of the Haggen’s bankruptcy process,” Pintard said.

“Vons will fill in the missing conventional grocery niche for the Mesa neighborhood, and we look forward to welcoming Vons to the Mesa Shopping Center.”

After the bankruptcy court rejected a bid by Roxy’s Market — a small, two-store operation with locations in Colorado and Montana — that opened the door for Vons, he said.

“It certainly helped facilitate the transaction that we have a very solid, long-term relationship with the Vons Companies, Inc.,” Pintard said.

“As a member of the Mesa community, I am extremely pleased that we could bring a quality grocery operation into the center to serve this trade area.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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