Albertsons Closing on Mercer Island

June 6, 2015 | by Erin Sirianni

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After 37 years in business on Mercer Island, Albertsons has announced that it will close its local grocery store. The store will be open through Sunday, July 5th, at 6 pm and then will close its doors forever. The pharmacy service is closing after Monday, June 8th, at 9 pm, with prescriptions transferring to Rite Aid.

“It’s sad,” said Christine Lewis, who lives on Mercer Island and is Albertsons’ Store Merchandising Manager. “I know people who have been shopping here for 30 years.”

Albertsons Mercer Island
According to the public comment below, the company points to underperformance and rising rent as influencing the decision to close. Albertsons staff were informed yesterday of the closure, though the management and labor union will help place employees in different stores within the company. There are seven Albertsons stores in the Seattle area, owned by Cerberus Capital Management, which also owns Safeway.

Albertsons Pharmacy Closing“The management will be working with all of us to put us in good homes,” Lewis said.

Albertson’s provided the following public statement by email:

“Like all retailers, we’re constantly evaluating the performance of our portfolio of stores. Closing an underperforming store is always a tough decision, but we’re focused on growing our business by being the favorite local supermarket, and running great stores where people love to shop. In Mercer Island, we are also unfortunately facing a substantial rent increase that makes it financially unfeasible to remain in the space. However, we have heard there are likely other supermarkets with different business models interested in operating in this space. With respect to the store employees, our human resource department is working with the affected employees and the labor unions to find positions for them in different stores within our company.”

Albertsons has been open on Mercer Island since 1977 and has been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as “Business of the Year” for its charitable efforts in the community. It is also known for its kosher deli and bakery and large kosher selection, and has been a valued partner and food provider for the SJCC and Jewish community on Mercer Island and greater Seattle area.

“It’s such a shame. We had a limited kosher selection on Mercer Island in the first place, and now it’s getting even narrower,” said Naomi Newman. She and her husband Jon and their twin girls have lived on Mercer Island for the past 10 years and shop between Albertsons and QFC.

They said they will miss the deli but especially the bakery and its sugary kosher pastries and cookies. They also shared that they rely on Albertsons when they are hosting friends who keep kosher and for specialty items for Passover.

“There’s a larger percentage of people inside and outside of the Jewish community who are keeping kosher,” said Newman. “The deli had some nice offerings, but the bakery will definitely be missed.”

The big question remains of what will be the future of the property. Representatives of Hines, developer of adjacent property, disclosed that they were initially negotiating with Whole Foods as a commercial tenant, but then confirmed Whole Foods as well as two other potential grocers have backed out due to “uncertainty” over the Albertsons’ site.

As promising as that sounds, certainly many will miss the soon-to-be old Albertsons.

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