Natural Grocers Opening More Stores In Montana And Oregon
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is opening new stores in Montana and Oregon.
A store in Kalispell, Mont., will open at 2395 US Hwy. 93 N on April 23 and will be the company’s fourth in Montana following locations opening last year in Billings, Missoula and Helena.
“Montana has been a wonderful and welcoming market to Natural Grocers,” said Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers co-president. “Across the state, our shoppers continue to look for affordable options to help their families be healthy. We’re excited to open our doors and get involved in Kalispell.”
In Oregon, Natural Grocers will open in Salem on May 29. The store, at 4250 Commercial St. SE, will be the company’s second in the state, on the heels of the Medford store that opened March 26. Locations will follow this fall in Beaverton and Bend.
“Oregon seemed an excellent fit for Natural Grocers—with its active and healthy lifestyles and keen awareness of issues around sustainable agriculture and healthy food,” said Isely. “Nutrition should be affordable. We believe the people of Salem will be able to buy all of their groceries at Natural Grocers without breaking their budget.”
Natural Grocers, based in Colorado, offers only natural and organic products on its shelves: shoppers will find USDA-certified organic produce, meats from animals raised naturally without the use of antibiotics or hormones as well as other organic and natural groceries free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils. The grocery chain also offers a natural dietary supplement and body care department as well as a large selection of gluten-free and other special dietary need products.
Natural Grocers has more than 65 stores in 13 states.
Nation’s Best Bagger Will Appear On Letterman Tonight
Beating out competitors from across the nation, Borracchini won the 2013 NGA Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Pringles, Bunzl Distribution and Pan-Oston Co., last month.
The contest, in its 27th year, was held during the 2013 NGA Show at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Competitors from 23 states participated in the Best Bagger Championship.
The competition was the culminating event of a year-long nationwide program in which the top grocery baggers in the country compete for prizes and the title of “America’s Best Bagger.” Contestants were judged on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags as well as style, attitude and appearance. The 2013 contestants used three reusable bags during the preliminary and final rounds, during which they bagged 30 to 35 items.
As the winner, Borracchini took home “bagging rights” as well as a $10,000 grand prize, the coveted “Golden Grocery Bag” trophy and the Pan-Oston “Best Bagger Golden Lane,” a special checkout stand that will be installed in his store.
In the featured photo at top: Andrew Borracchini, second from right, will appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman” tonight, March 25.
Haggen Closing Federal Way, Wash., TOP Foods Store
Haggen Inc. is closing its TOP Food & Drug store in Federal Way, Wash., in April, the company said earlier this week.
The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the closure whittles the Bellingham, Wash.-based chain to 27 supermarkets in Washington and Oregon operating under the TOP Food & Drug and Haggen Food & Pharmacy brands.
The store is located at 31515 20th Ave. S. Haggen is working with two unions, UFCW Local 21 and Bakers Local 9, to place the store’s 48 employees with other stores in the chain.
The closure is one of several in recent years.
The company was founded in 1933 in Bellingham by Ben and Dorothy Haggen and Doug Clark. The family sold a majority stake in the company in February 2011 to the Florida investment firm Comvest for an undisclosed sum. At that time, the chain included 30 groceries and employed 3,100 people.
Last October, the family sold five development sites and the property on which 15 Haggen and TOP Food groceries are located to an affiliate of California-based Merlone Geier Properties for $175 million.
The company is smaller, but remains formidable, the Journal says. Haggen Inc. in 2011 was the 11th-largest private company in Washington State, according to Journal research, with revenue of $630 million and 2,800 employees. The grocery chain’s high water mark for revenue was in 2007, when the company had $880 million in revenue and 3,766 employees.
Korean Grocery Chain H Mart To Open Store In Downtown Seattle
A Korean grocery store will be opening in downtown Seattle this fall in a space at Second Avenue and Pine Street previously occupied by a Nordstrom Rack store.
The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the downtown Seattle store is one of three new H Mart Korean groceries opening in the Puget Sound area this year. A new H Mart opened today in Lakewood’s International District at 8720 S. Tacoma Way, with another opening in Bellevue in late fall.
The downtown Seattle store will be approximately 20,000 s.f. and the main part of the store will be in the basement level of the Broadacres Building at 1601 Second Ave. That’s about half the size of the 43,000-s.f. H Mart opening in Lakewood.
The downtown Seattle location will take advantage of the growing residential population in that part of the city.
“When you see a grocery store coming in, it’s a recognition of how vibrant downtown Seattle is,” Pat Callahan, CEO of the Seattle real estate investment firm Urban Renaissance Group LLC, told the Journal.
A decade ago, Callahan pointed out, there was the Uwajimaya grocery in the International District. But a wave of condominium and apartment projects brought thousands more residents to downtown Seattle. In their wake, Whole Foods Market, Kress IGA Supermarket and Target have opened stores to sell groceries to downtown’s growing population.
The new stores will give the Korean grocery chain a total of five stores in the Puget Sound area. The company also has groceries in Lynnwood on 184th Street Southwest and in Federal Way on Pacific Highway South.
The Lakewood store includes a pharmacy, a deli, a Korean bakery, meat and fish departments and a large fresh produce section. About 40 percent of the items the grocery chain carries are Korean foods, according to the Journal.
The chain started in Queens in 1982, with the name H Mart coming from the Korean phrase “Han Ah Reum,” which means “one arm full of groceries.” The company is now based in Lyndhurst, N.J., and has grown to 41 stores across the country.
Costco Plans To Expand Headquarters In Issaquah, Wash.
The Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that Costco Wholesale Corp. is negotiating with city officials in Issaquah, Wash., to add as much as 1.5 million s.f. to its corporate headquarters through a new development agreement, according to Keith Niven, Issaquah’s economic development director.
“They are trying to chart a path for their future,” Niven said. “They want a stable location for their headquarters.”
A Costco spokesman declined to comment to the Journal on the publicly traded company’s plans for its headquarters in this suburban city east of Seattle.
Costco operates an international retail chain of discount warehouse club stores. Its headquarters are located in Pickering Place, a 1.7 million-s.f. mixed-use development that includes a Costco store, a Lowe’s Home Improvement store and other retailers. The current master plan for Pickering Place dates back to 1987.
The Journal says that Costco contacted the city in late January to request negotiations for a new development agreement and a rezone that would provide “the flexibility and predictability we require for needed future expansion of our home office.”
Niven said Costco likely would need to acquire additional parcels of land in the vicinity since Pickering Place is largely built out.
Whether Costco would require a rezone for its future expansion is unclear, Niven said. The city is developing new standards to classify the area as urban core. If those new standards don’t allow for sufficient growth, the company may press for a rezone as an urban village, he said.
“I don’t think Costco cares what tool the city uses to get them their growth, but they do want to be sure they can count on it,” Niven said.
With the expansion potentially adding as many as 6,000 employees some day, the biggest concern is likely to be traffic, Niven said. Issaquah is looking at creating a $50 million local improvement district to improve traffic flow in North Issaquah. Local property owners, including Costco, would share those costs with the city.
Costco’s expansion is welcome news for Issaquah, according to the Journal
“Our economy is very service based—there’s a lot of retail in Issaquah,” Niven said. “For us, having office employees is good in that it gives us more diverse employment.”
The timing of the expansion is unclear. Niven couldn’t say when it would start or whether it would take place in phases.
“We are reading tea leaves from the outside,” he said.
But he observed that companies doing business with Costco that have been housed in its headquarters building are seeking office space elsewhere.
Foster Farms First Major Poultry Producer In West To Earn Humane Cert
Family-owned Foster Farms fresh chicken products have earned humane certification from the American Humane Association. The American Humane Certified (AHC) program, developed in 2000, is the nation’s first independent, third-party humane certification program for farm animals. Fresno, Calif.-based Foster Farms fresh chicken products now carry the American Humane Certified seal for easy recognition by consumers. The company announced the certification today at the dedication of the new Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility (PERF) at Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. The facility features a fully working, American Humane Certified poultry barn modeled after a similar type found on Foster Farms’ own humane certified ranches.
Beginning in 2012, all company growing facilities dedicated to fresh chicken production in California and the Pacific Northwest have implemented AHC program standards and are participating in independent, third-party audits. The audits are administered by the AHC program and its third-party auditor, Validus. The audits consist of more than 200 stringent criteria covering living conditions, diet and natural behaviors. The standards set by American Humane Association are in practice on all Foster Farms fresh chicken ranches 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“While the actual certification is a new development for us, our commitment to raising chickens humanely has always been important to our company,” said Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster. “It is the right thing to do for our birds and we know that it is important to consumers. In 2008, we implemented a comprehensive animal welfare program guided by our two full-time veterinarians. Becoming an American Humane Certified producer is a genuine milestone for our company. We see it as a meaningful sign of progress and look forward to working with American Humane Association to further improve our animal welfare efforts.”
“We know that consumers want more choices for humanely raised poultry,” said Ira Brill, director of corporate communications for Foster Farms. “Our longtime commitment to the welfare of our birds has made this possible and certification provides consumers with that assurance.”
A survey released today of 2,000 West Coast consumers by NSON Opinion Strategy, commissioned by Foster Farms, found that consumers want humane-certified meat and poultry products to be more widely available and, at the same time, affordable.
• Forty-five percent are very concerned about animal welfare;
• Forty-nine percent completely agree that they are more concerned with animal welfare and how animals are raised for food than they were five years ago;
• Seventy-four percent completely agree that they would like more large producers to raise animals for food in a humane way;
• Seventy-six percent completely agree humane-certified foods should be more widely available to consumers;
• Eighty percent completely agree humane-certified food should be more affordable for consumers; and
• Fifty-five percent would make a personal commitment/pledge to purchase poultry that is humane certified.
“By partnering with American Humane Association we are helping to ensure that more farm animals are brought under the basic protections of animal welfare,” said Brill. “Foster Farms’ commitment and resources along with guidance from animal welfare experts helped make certification both possible and affordable for the consumer.”
“Growing numbers of people want safe, affordable, humane food choices that are in line with their values,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “As an organization that was founded around the issue of the humane treatment of farm animals and has for more than a century been advocating for the welfare of the vulnerable and the voiceless, we appreciate and applaud Foster Farms for joining the growing group of enlightened, forward-looking producers who are voluntarily implementing and seeking independent verification of objective, science-based standards of animal welfare. American Humane Association is dedicated to the idea that all animals—those in our homes, those in service to our country and those raised on our farms and ranches—are entitled to humane treatment. We are encouraged to see more and more families, consumers, and producers agree and are willing to take action to achieve this worthy goal.”
Beaverton Foods’ Inglehoffer Line Now Includes Seafood Cocktail Sauce
Beaverton Foods Inc., an 83-year-old specialty condiments manufacturer, has expanded its Inglehoffer product line with an 8-oz. Seafood Cocktail Sauce. The new product joins more than 150 specialty mustards, horseradishes and sauces produced by the company.
The Inglehoffer Seafood Cocktail Sauce is made with real horseradish root and it contains no high fructose corn syrup. Beaverton Foods sources its horseradish roots from a family farm located in southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin—a business partnership that spans nearly four decades. The SRP for the 8-oz. glass jar is $2.99.
Domonic Biggi, CEO of Beaverton Foods, said that even during this tough economic business climate, the company has enjoyed consistent annual sales growth because of its commitment to introducing quality, innovative gourmet condiments in the marketplace.
“We continuously look at industry trends and it’s our goal to address the market demands as well as offer our customers high quality specialty food items,” Biggi said. “In particular, we have listened and responded to our customers who want more natural, authentic and locally sourced ingredients.”
The new Inglehoffer Seafood Cocktail Sauce also complements the growing consumer demand of prepared seafood. According to data provided by Nielsen Perishables Group, prepared seafood sales rose from 15.4 percent in 2010 to 16.5 percent in 2011 in the U.S.
New Natural Laundry Soap Debuts In PCC Natural Market Co-ops
Puretergent, a news release says, leaves clothes clean and soft without the sticky residue of conventional detergents; it is packaged in an ergonomic pouch containing one-eighth of the plastic of other liquid laundry soap containers.
Julia Fry, a former fashion designer and life-long lover of fabrics, is the founder and CEO of Puretergent, based in Oakland, Calif. Fry worked as a designer in the fashion industry in New York City and San Francisco for 20 years.
“Fashion designers write the care instructions for every garment. You’re always thinking about laundry, collection after collection,” Fry says. “I was always dismayed that fabrics that started off nice and soft came out of the washing machine super stiff and crunchy from chemical residue left behind by conventional detergents.”
The release adds that Fry became obsessed with creating a natural laundry soap that rinsed free and that delivered on stain-fighting performance while protecting clothes from harsh chemicals and scents.
Each of Puretergent’s 50-wash pouches is comparably priced to other detergents, according to the release.
“The bright blue ‘Fresh’ pouch of Puretergent tackles grimy kitchen stains, stinky gym clothes and is the ‘everyday laundress’; the purple formula ‘Calm’ keeps colors vibrant; and the yellow ‘Gentle’ pouch is for delicates, baby clothes and linens,” the release says.
In-store demonstrations at PCC are scheduled for March.