The first of six new Haggen grocery stores will open this month in Santa Barbara County, all former Albertsons or Vons locations that recently were acquired by the Bellingham, Wash.-based chain.
Last month, Haggen began converting some of the 146 stores it picked up across five states from AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc. in a quest to complete the switch by midyear.
The first local transition happens this month at the Vons at 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta. The market will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 19, and reopen after the ownership and rebranding change on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 21, according to a Haggen official.
An Albertsons in Lompoc, at 1500 N. H St., comes next. It will close at 6 p.m. June 14 to reopen as Haggen on the afternoon of June 16.
Haggen plans to convert the Albertsons at 3943 State St. in Santa Barbara and the Vons at 163 S. Turnpike Road simultaneously, beginning at 6 p.m. June 16 and reopening the afternoon of June 18.
The conversions of the Albertsons at 2010 Cliff Drive and the Vons at 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria also will be concurrent, with both stores closing at 6 p.m. June 18 and reopening on the afternoon of June 20.
The pharmacy at both of those stores, as well as the Lompoc store, will remain open during the two-day conversion, the company official said.
Haggen purchased stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington as part of the plan for Safeway, which owns Vons, to merge with Albertsons. The stores doled out 22 other locations to three more companies in order to get the merger approved by the Federal Trade Commission.
The Haggen deal, which was announced late last year, also included stores in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Los Osos, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo and Ventura — some of which have already been converted.
With the acquisition, Haggen expands to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies, and to a workforce of more than 10,000 employees from one of 2,000.
The company said all Albertsons and Safeway store employees will be able to become employees of Haggen as the markets make the transition, along with store management teams.
“Haggen is on a historic journey to convert 146 stores in the first half of 2015, and we’re committed to doing it right,” Haggen Pacific Southwest CEO Bill Shiner said in a statement. “As we convert stores, we may need to adjust the timeline or change store conversion dates to address any issues that arise, including licensing or permitting; city, county, state regulations; systems issues; and so on.
“Our goal is to have as smooth a transition as possible for our teams and our guests.”
Founded in 1933, Haggen Inc. is one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading grocery chains and its largest independent grocery retailer. The company supports regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses, and Haggen officials say it is deeply rooted in the communities it serves, providing support to local events and partnerships.
— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.