Sometime in the first full week of April, six San Luis Obispo County Albertsons and Vons outlets will close. Roughly 46 hours later, they’ll reopen as completely different stores.
In a deal that was first announced in late 2014, Bellingham, Wash.-based grocery chain Haggen acquired 146 stores in five states as a result of the merger between Albertsons and Safeway (former owner of Vons), which was officially approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Jan. 27.
Here in SLO County, that means four Albertsons stores—in Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and two in San Luis Obispo—as well as Vons stores in Los Osos and Paso Robles will soon become Haggen outlets.
“In terms of immediate changes, customers can expect a fresh coat of paint, signage changes, additional lighting, and some new products,” Haggen spokesperson Deborah Pleva told New Times. “The more substantial changes with inventory will play out over a few weeks.”
Pleva said that shoppers unfamiliar with Haggen should expect a grocery store somewhere between an Albertsons/Vons and a Whole Foods in terms of pricing and grocery store style.
“Local sourcing is extremely important to Haggen, and we also aim to have everything a shopper could need under one roof,” Pleva said, adding that the produce and deli sections are particular specialties for Haggen.
According to Haggen’s transition spreadsheet, the Atascadero Albertsons and Paso Robles Vons are slated to close at 6 p.m. on April 5, reopening at 4 p.m. on April 7 as Haggen stores.
Subsequently, the two Albertsons in SLO are scheduled to close at 6 p.m. on April 7, reopening at 4 p.m. on April 9 as Haggen stores.
Lastly, the Arroyo Grande Albertsons and the Los Osos Vons are slated to close at 6 p.m. on April 9, reopening at 4 p.m. on April 11 as Haggen stores.
Over a six-day span, the six stores will make a complete transition in almost every way but one. Pleva said Haggen is offering jobs to all current Albertsons/Vons employees, with a 99 percent retention rate thus far in the transition process.
Unaffected by the merger are Albertsons stores in Paso Robles and Morro Bay, as well as Vons outlets in SLO, Grover Beach, Nipomo, and Atascadero.
Click here to see a time-lapse video demonstrating what a Haggen store conversion looks like.