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Anthem Safeway to become one of 10 Ariz. Haggen stores

Elizabeth Medora~ 1/7/2015

ANTHEM – Safeway was the first grocery store in Anthem when it was built in July 2000. Now, the Safeway building is poised to become one of the first Haggen grocery stores in Arizona.

After the recent Safeway/Albertsons merger, it was announced that Haggen would be acquiring 146 stores. The Safeway in Anthem has been selected as one of those stores.

Deborah Pleva, a representative of Haggen, noted that the Haggen acquisition was initiated by Safeway/Albertsons.

“Haggen’s majority owner Comvest Partners was contacted by investment bankers representing Safeway/Albertsons,” Pleva said. “Comvest let them and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) know it was interested, knowing Comvest had a great team in place at Haggen to close the deal.”

When asked why the Anthem Safeway was chosen to become a Haggen, Pleva noted,
“We don’t have insight into which stores the Safeway/Albertsons choose to divest.”

Haggen calls itself a “Pacific Northwest grocery chain.” The store first opened in Bellingham, Wash. in 1933. Through the acquisition, Haggen is expanding beyond Oregon and Washington and into California, Nevada, and Arizona and is growing from 18 stores to 164 stores. Ten stores will be located in Arizona, including two Scottsdale Albertsons that will be converted to Haggen stores.

Haggen’s company information emphasizes the importance of utilizing local farms. Company releases about the store refer to “buying local” as the “most effective initiative” that has “been central to the business all along.”

“Haggen is committed to sourcing locally, so you’ll see more local produce, meats and other products in the store selection,” Pleva noted. “Haggen sees the move into Arizona as an incredibly exciting opportunity to introduce the Haggen experience to more shoppers. Both long-time customers and new customers really appreciate our commitment to source locally and give back to the communities where we have stores.”

Haggen has committed to offering all current Safeway/Albertsons employees positions with Haggen – welcome news to the community, as several of the Anthem Safeway employees have been working there for years and are well-liked and well-respected. The pharmacy will also be staying in-store.

“They (current employees) will all be offered a position and they have the opportunity to accept it,” said Pleva. The official news release from Haggen regarding the acquisition also includes a statement from the Haggen CEO about employee retention, noting that Haggen plans to retain the current store management teams.

“We warmly welcome these new employees and stores into the Haggen family. The stores are well run and very successful, thanks to the dedicated store teams,” said John Clougher, Haggen CEO, Pacific Northwest. “We want to retain these existing teams while allowing our growing company to build on their past successes. We plan to adopt the best practices of our new stores to offer a superior shopping experience for our valued customers in all of our stores.”

The Anthem Safeway will be transferring over to the Haggen banner sometime next summer.

“Haggen would like to convert all of the stores by July 4, 2015,” Pleva said.

For more information on what Haggen stores offer, visit www.haggen.com.