Letters to the Editor

East Tacoma: Grocery store shortage goes on and on

Re: “Christmas In August comes to McKinley Hill,” (TNT, 8/21).

As a former McKinley Hill resident, I read this article with interest. The president of the sponsor of the event referred to the area of the event as a “food desert.” She is right, of course, as the last supermarket (Safeway) on McKinley Avenue closed 15 to 20 years ago.

In recent years, an Albertsons supermarket barely eight blocks away was converted to a Haggen’s and shortly thereafter closed as a result of that chain’s aborted attempt to grow exponentially in a very short time. And so a perfectly good 15-plus-year-old building stands empty a short distance from this longstanding food desert.

Ironically, part of the Christmas in August event was held on the Tacoma Christian Center’s grounds and parking lots. It’s ironic because one of the center’s buildings formerly housed the Safeway that served the area in the ’60s through the ’90s.

Grocery companies often place restrictions on building/land they are vacating to prevent them from being used for future grocers. I understand that was the case with the Safeway that closed on McKinley. Are such restrictions in place at the former Albertson’s/Haggen’s building at 38th and Pacific?