Suzanne Buchholz, Reporter
Students at Pierce College Puyallup have many options for places to eat near campus, whether they want a full meal or a quick bite. Students may be familiar with Haggen, a grocery store on South Hill near Shari’s Restaurant. Haggen offers hot deli items and bakery goods, in addition to convenient items such as ramen cups, yogurt or anything else a student might want.
Now, students will be left without this option as Haggen recently announced they’re shutting their doors.
A representative from Haggen said officials have been discussing closing the store in South Hill for about a year and a half due to multiple reasons, including bankruptcy. The store has begun to clearance items starting at 10 percent off and is expected to close by May, if not sooner.
Catherine Mann, a Pierce student who’s also an employee at Haggen, said she found out about the closure shortly after she began working there in January 2016.
“My initial thought was as long as I got paid it was fine,” Mann said. “But as time went on, I realized how badly it’d affect the community. There are people who have been (working) here for 20 plus years who don’t know what they will do.”
The South Hill store is one of the 127 Haggen stores confirmed to be closing or have already closed on the West Coast since Sept. 2015. According to The Oregonian, 29 of these stores have been purchased by Albertsons and 15 of them will continue operating under the Haggen name, while the remaining ones will be converted to Albertsons stores. The South Hill location wasn’t among these stores and is expected to be closed completely.
Haggen Inc. has been operating stores in the Northwest since 1933, according to their website. The South Hill location has been serving the Puyallup area for more than 20 years, running under Haggen’s Top Food and Drug name before being rebranded as Haggen within the last year.
Since opening, Haggen has been devoted to providing shoppers in the Northwest with high-quality products such as organic produce and locally-sourced meat at affordable prices, according to their website. The South Hill location also featured a pharmacy, bakery and delicatessen where someone could purchase pre-made foods like sandwiches, soups, salads, rotisserie chickens and various side dishes.
There isn’t a statement as to what will replace Haggen, or if there are plans to open a new store in the building yet.
Mann said the news has had a big impact on many people at Haggen and has changed the atmosphere significantly.
“It’s stressful,” Mann said. “We’ve had customers coming in on the verge of tears, and they’ve all talked about how much they’ll miss the store. I’m not as affected, but it’s depressing seeing how people are reacting. (The employees) used to be so full of life, happy, joking, but as soon as they got the news the energy just sort of died.”
Some students at Pierce said that Haggen’s closure doesn’t have any effect on them.
“We never shop there,” student Chrisanndra Sawtelle said. “We always looked and said ‘too expensive’ and drove by.”
Other students were upset by the news, as many of them had shopped there with their families for years.
“We’re all bummed,” student Sara Scott said. “It was our primary source of fresh fruit, snacks and other yummies. Personally, I’m really going to miss the spinach dip they sold. No other store sells the same brand or uses the same recipe, and no one does it like Haggen did.”
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