Walmart’s decision to build a store in Tacoma is already having an effect on the city’s retail landscape, though the retail giant’s store has yet to open.
Tacoma’s Top Food & Drug store, a neighbor of the new Walmart, will close in four to six weeks, the company announced Wednesday.
The store at 3130 South 23rd St. will soon be competing with Tacoma’s first Walmart, which opens in midsummer on the site of the former Tacoma Elks Lodge about a block north of the Top Food location.
Haggen Inc., Top Food & Drug owner, said Walmart’s presence was a factor in the decision to shutter the store.
“The opening of Walmart played a role in this decision, as did competitive landscape in the region,” the company said in a written reply to an email inquiry.
The Top Food store, opened in 1991, also was not performing up to the chain’s standard, the grocery chain said.
“The store was not performing to its full potential despite the dedication of our crew members and partnerships with terrific vendors,” Haggen said.
The store building will be returned to the shopping center owners, Merlone Geier Partners, for re-leasing.
The store also has a rival in the same shopping center in Target, which added food to its repertoire of merchandise about a year ago.
“Choosing to close this location is difficult knowing the impact it will have on our loyal customers and committed employees. We appreciate the patronage of our Tacoma residents and hope they will consider shopping at a Haggen location in the future,” said Clement Stevens, senior vice president of merchandising at Haggen Inc.
The store is working with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367 and Bakers Local 9 to place the store’s 64 employees in jobs in other Haggen stores in the region, the company said.
Haggen in recent years has converted 11 of its former Haggen and Top Food stores to Haggen Northwest Fresh stores. The latest of those stores to open was in Lake Tapps.
Haggen considered, but decided not to update the Tacoma Central store, the company said.
The company reportedly held a meeting with store employees Wednesday morning to announce the closure.
The company will begin a closeout sale Thursday. No definite date has been set as the store’s last day.
Bellingham-based Haggen is the Northwest’s largest independent grocer with about two dozen stores in Washington and Oregon. Haggen was founded in Bellingham in 1933.