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Haggen, Inc.
Industry Retail (Grocery)
Founded Bellingham, Washington (1933)
Headquarters Bellingham, Washington
Number of locations
18 stores (with 16 pharmacies)
(after expansion: 164 stores with 106 pharmacies)[1][2]
Products bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, grocery, lottery, frozen meat, pharmacy, photographic processing, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, flowers, and Western UnionTM
Owner The Comvest Group and the Haggen family
Website Haggen Food Grocery Store

Haggen Food & Pharmacy is the largest independent grocery retailer in the Pacific Northwest. As of June 2015, Haggen operates 164 stores throughout Washington, Oregon, southern California, Nevada and Arizona.[2] From 1982 through 2014, Haggen also operated a subsidiary brand of groceries called Top Food & Drug. Haggen is currently headquartered in Bellingham, Washington and got its start there in 1933 when Ben Haggen, Dorothy Haggen, and Doug Clark opened the first store on Bay Street in Bellingham.

In late 2014, Haggen agreed to purchase and rebrand 146 West Coast Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons, and Safeway Inc. locations, increasing the chain's locations from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies, and the number of its employees from about 2,000 to about 10,000.[1][2]


Early years[edit]

Haggen, Inc. began in 1933 in the midst of the great depression by Benett and Dorothy Haggen, along with Dorothy's brother, Doug Clark in downtown Bellingham, Washington. The Store was first called the Economy Food Store. Business did well enough that they moved to a larger location downtown at the corner of Railroad and Magnolia Streets and renamed it The White House Grocery. An in-store bakery was opened in 1941 and proved to be very popular. By 1947, the store was ready to expand again. The Haggens closed the White House and built the Town and Country Shopping center on Meridian Street between West Illinois and Maryland streets with Haggen's Thriftway, the store's third name, as the anchor tenant. This store still operates today.

Several years later, they would change the company's name to Haggen Inc. The store continued to prosper and by the 1960s, Haggen was ready to expand beyond Bellingham. A store was opened in Everett, Washington in 1962 and a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) store in Lynnwood, Washington in 1968.[3] Two more stores were opened in Lynnwood in 1971 from the acquired Grocery Boy chain.[4] Expansion for the company would be slow because, unlike other grocery stores who expanded through acquisition, Haggen mostly built stores from the ground up. In 1979, the flagship store in Bellingham was expanded to over 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2), creating the chain's first superstore format with full-service departments which it still uses today.

Top Food and Drug - Logo.png

In 1982, the TOP Foods division was created by converting existing stores in Snohomish, Washington and Wenatchee to the superstore format. This proved to be a huge success and the Top Brand was expanded greatly throughout the Puget Sound Region but avoiding Seattle because QFC, upscale Larry's Markets, Albertsons, and Safeway saturated the metropolitan area.

Recent events[edit]

Haggen became the first grocery store in US with an in-store Starbucks coffee store in 1989. In 1995, they expanded to Portland, Oregon opening stores under the Haggen moniker. In 2008 a joint investigation between the DEA, IRS, FDA and Edmonds police department uncovered a drug diversion scheme at the Edmond's pharmacy location. Ultimately, Haggen paid $425,000 in fines.[5]

After two decades of aggressive expansion and innovation the company began to transition after the passing of Dorothy Haggen in October 2008[6] and the appointment of CEO Jim Donald, former CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company in September 2009. In January 2010, Haggen stores announced they would cease their longstanding practice of remaining open 24 hours with limited exceptions. The low amount of traffic was said to be the decision to change the store's hours so that the company overall could be more efficient.[7] Haggen closed their Redmond location in July 2010 after operating for less than two years.[8] The company previously but similarly operated a built from scratch location in Tigard for two years (2003-2005).[9]

Haggen, Inc. announced on February 17, 2011 that brothers and co-chairmen Don and Rick Haggen had sold a controlling shareholder interest to The Comvest Group. The announcement indicated Don, Rick and other unnamed Haggen family members would maintain a minority stake in the 78-year-old grocery empire. As a part of the new ownership it was announced that president and CEO Jim Donald would immediately step down, with The Comvest Group's C.J. "Gabe" Gabriel taking over as president and CEO.[10] In November 2011, Haggen began to phase out the TOP Foods format by remodeling and rebranding stores to a slightly altered format based on the Haggen Food and Pharmacy concept called, Haggen Northwest Fresh.[11] After closing their Everett[12] and then Tanabourne locations in February 2011 company officials stated that it would not affect their other Oregon locations, the company then announced the closing of the Murray Hill location in March,[13] followed by the Wenatchee location in September.[14]

In October 2012, Briar Development, the Haggen family's holding company for its real estate sold a portfolio consisting of 15 sites of Haggen stores to MGP X properties LLC of San Diego for $175,000,000.[15] Gabriel stepped down as CEO in December 2012 and was replaced by a three person executive team led by the company's former senior vice-president of merchandising, Clement Stevens.[16] In early 2013 Haggen closed their locations in Tacoma, Lacey, Federal Way, Bellevue and Shoreline, followed later in the year by closures in Kent, Auburn and Yakima.[17] Despite Clement Stevens stating that the Edmonds location remained viable in December 2013[18] and suggesting that the closures were finished,[19] both the Edmonds and Arlington locations closed in the summer of 2014.[20][21]

2015 expansion[edit]

In late 2014, Haggen agreed to purchase and rebrand 146 West Coast Safeway and Albertsons locations over the coming year as part of anti-monopoly requirements following the Albertsons-Safeway merger. This increased the chain's locations from 18 to 164, and its employees from about 2,000 to about 10,000.[1][2] In Southern California, the rollout of the new Haggen supermarkets were be phased in between March and June 2015, with the first Haggen store opening in Carlsbad, California on March 11, 2015.[22] The entire conversion and rebranding process proceeded north to south over the five months from February to June 2015.[23]


  1. ^ a b c "Washington-based Haggen grocery chain buying 146 Albertsons, Safeway stores in the West". Fox Business Network. December 20, 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Haggen to Expand from 18 Stores to 164 Stores with Major Acquisition" (Press release). Haggen, Inc. December 19, 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  3. ^ "New Haggen's Thriftway to Open in Vaughan's Village", The Enterprise, October 16, 1968. p. 8.
  4. ^ "Haggens Christens 'New' Old Stores", The Enterprise, June 16, 1971. p. 17.
  5. ^ http://www.justice.gov/usao/waw/press/2009/feb/cheung.html[dead link]
  6. ^ Stark, John (October 6, 2008). "Dorothy Haggen, family matriarch, dies at 99". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  7. ^ http://westernfrontonline.net/2010010811687/news/haggen-reduces-store-hours/[dead link]
  8. ^ "Redmond TOP food store to close July 31". Redmond Reporter. June 28, 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  9. ^ "Haggen to close Tigard supermarket". The Bellingham Business Journal (Highbeam). April 1, 2005. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  10. ^ Gunderson, Laura (February 17, 2011). "The Comvest Group buys majority of grocer Haggen Inc.". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  11. ^ "Remodeled Meridian Haggen holds grand re-opening on June 23". The Bellingham Business Journal. June 21, 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  12. ^ "Welcome TOP Foods Guests | Haggen Northwest Fresh". Top Foods. 
  13. ^ "Another west county Haggen closing doors". The Oregonian. March 14, 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  14. ^ Mehaffey, K.C. (June 7, 2013). "TOP Food & Drug to close". The Wenatchee World. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  15. ^ Jones, Jeanne Lang (October 29, 2012). "Briar Development sells Wash.-Oregon retail portfolio for $175M". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  16. ^ Marczynski, Evan (December 11, 2012). "Haggen appoints new leadership team after CEO resigns". The Bellingham Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  17. ^ "Haggen closing Top Food grocery stores in Kent, Auburn, Yakima". The Seattle Times. October 16, 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  18. ^ Marczynski, Evan (December 8, 2013). "Haggen executive says closing TOP brand difficult, but necessary". The Bellingham Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  19. ^ "After closing 8 stores, Haggen ready for next stage". The Bellingham Herald. October 24, 2012. 
  20. ^ Boxleitner, Kirk (July 19, 2014). "Arlington Haggen store closes". The Arlington Times. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  21. ^ "More information from Haggen about closure of TOP Food & Drug in Edmonds". Myedmondsnews.com. May 30, 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  22. ^ Harvey, Katherine P. (March 14, 2015). "New grocery chain starts up in county". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 2015-03-22. 
  23. ^ Oberst, Christofer (February 11, 2015). "Haggen Outlines Five Month Conversion Plan for its 146 New Stores". andnowuknow.com. Retrieved 2015-03-22. 

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