Lacey Top Food to close, with no word why

Grocery analyst says company might see WinCo as competition too tough to fight against

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 24, 2013 

The Top Food & Drug Store at 5600 Martin Way in Lacey will close in the next four to six weeks, the second major retailer to close in the area since October.

An Albertson’s in Lacey closed before the end of the year.

Haggen Inc., the Bellingham-based parent company to Top Food, announced the store closure Wednesday, although the company didn’t say exactly why the store was closing.

“As a company, we continually evaluate our stores and identify opportunities to strengthen our overall business,” John Turley, co-president and senior vice president of operations at Haggen, said in a statement. “We make this decision reluctantly, knowing that it will impact our dedicated employees and loyal customers. We appreciate the patronage of our Lacey residents and hope they will consider visiting our Olympia location.”

The Olympia store is at Cooper Point Road and Black Lake Boulevard. The Lacey store was built in 1994 and employs 47.

Company spokeswoman Helen Neville said the company will explore employee transfer opportunities to other store locations, and also will work with WorkSource to assist with job placement and “other resources available for those who are not able to transfer.”

The store might be closing for reasons that are not necessarily because of the slow economy, said Jan Gee, president and chief executive of the Washington Food Industry Association, a group that represents independent grocers in the state.

All grocery store operators, including independent store operators, constantly are evaluating their locations, she said. They might be looking at the amount of revenue generated per square foot, or checking store demographics and the type of customer they want to attract, or maybe they are looking for a new store location.

“Every grocer fine tunes their locations,” she said.

Top Food might have felt the competitive pressures of other nearby stores, too, such as WinCo, which opened on Martin Way in 2010.

Gee said WinCo has an impact on every grocer.

“They are tough competition,” she said. “They go to rock-bottom prices, and people are attracted to that format.”

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

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