BIZNOTE: QFC stores might get a new owner – and/or a new name

(WSB photo, West Seattle Junction QFC)

As the Kroger/Albertsons grocery mega-merger plan continues moving forward, reports today say Kroger is planning to sell hundreds of stores to alleviate some concerns related to the merger. The buyer would be C&S Wholesale Grocers, a wholesale supplier that also operates some grocery stores in other states. The deal would include the QFC brand name, under which two West Seattle stores operate (The Junction and Westwood Village). According to Kroger’s announcement, any QFC stores not sold in the deal “will be re-bannered into one of the retained Kroger or Albertsons Cos. banners following the close of the transaction.” (Albertsons’ best-known “banner” around here is Safeway.) Also according to the announcement, Washington would be the state with the most stores affected – “104 Albertsons Cos. and Kroger stores” would be sold. (We haven’t yet found the list of specific stores.) The $1.9 billion deal would take effect after the Kroger/Albertsons merger closes – currently expected early next year – the corporation says. Its potential effects have been of concern here for reasons including the current proximity of Kroger and Albertsons stores – the Junction QFC store and Jefferson Square Safeway store are less than a block apart; the Westwood QFC store is just a few blocks from Roxbury Safeway. QFC, owned by Kroger since the late ’90s, has 50+ stores in Washington.

42 Replies to "BIZNOTE: QFC stores might get a new owner - and/or a new name"

  • Nathan H. September 8, 2023 (1:31 pm)

    So QFC is going to get “Bartelled” now?  Taken out back and given two in the temple?  So long, Northwest owned companies.  It was nice knowing you.

    • Jeff September 8, 2023 (1:48 pm)

      Like the story says QFC has been owned by Kroger since the 90s, so it’s hardly the “local business” that Bartell was until recently. 

    • Another One September 8, 2023 (3:02 pm)

      Look at what the Safeway/Albertsons merger did to Haggens. This is bad for customer choice. 

      • AG September 8, 2023 (4:50 pm)

        And for that matter look at the wreck Kroger made of Fred Meyer. Nope.

      • Rara September 9, 2023 (9:08 am)

        I love Haggens. The original store is where I still go in Bellingham. They were a nice family. 

    • Mike September 8, 2023 (4:21 pm)

      Albertsons is based in Idaho…which is PNW.

      • Kt September 8, 2023 (5:26 pm)

        Idaho:  come for the white supremecy, stay for the forced pregnancies.  Definitely not my vision of the Paxific NW!

      • Antoine Smith September 9, 2023 (6:51 am)

        Idaho is not the PNW as it has no P.

  • WS Res September 8, 2023 (1:51 pm)

    Great, I rely on the Junction QFC for 80-90% of our groceries. Their cheese counter is amazing (and employs an award-winning cheesemonger, Jordan). Their selection is far better than at the Jefferson Square Safeway, and yet they also discount their stale-dated meat, fish, baked goods, and produce, and offer them to the public. I almost never come home without something from at least one of the “discount racks” as a way to keep the grocery budget down. The one thing they don’t offer is family-sized packs of chicken, and when I go to Safeway for those, I’m always disappointed at the quality and selection.

    • Alki resident September 8, 2023 (7:23 pm)

      There’s an excellent cheese monger in PCC and she knows her stuff. Great selection. 

      • BUDDSMOM September 8, 2023 (7:58 pm)

        Transportation is an issue for many of us. Not just a hop in the car or walk a couple of blocks. 

      • WS Res September 9, 2023 (10:18 am)

        Can’t afford their prices. 

    • BUDDSMOM September 8, 2023 (7:55 pm)

      Junction QFC is amazing! I am a resident at Alaska House and one of our peeps just list a family member very unexpectedly. The abundance of flowers and food from QFC staff was overwhelming. This isn’t just “the closest grocery”, its family. Dont take that away from our community.  We’ve exchanged phone numbers with staff as well as had them in our homes for gatherings. Don’t  limit our shopping choices to the big corps choice!

  • Kyle September 8, 2023 (1:58 pm)

    Do we know if either of the West Seattle QFC stores would be sold to C&S?

    • WSB September 8, 2023 (3:39 pm)

      As noted above, I haven’t found a list. The Seattle Times finally has written a local version of the story (when we published this, their site just had a national wire-service version) and they don’t have a list either. I did contact C&S to ask for it; haven’t heard back.

      • Kyle September 8, 2023 (3:52 pm)

        Thanks for checking into it! I’m hoping the justice department blocks it because, ya know, competition is good for the free market not a few large monopolies. If the deal does go through West Seattle’s only chance to keep those two stores open is if they are divested to C&S. Recent history strongly suggests consolidation if they are owned by one company who controls the market.

  • Mark September 8, 2023 (2:01 pm)

    QFC has been owned by Kroger for20 years hasn’t been “local” in a long time 

  • Beto September 8, 2023 (2:16 pm)

    C&S Wholesale Grocers has a chain of stores called Piggly Wiggly, and in the whole transaction we may have one with that name here in West Seattle.

    • Foop September 8, 2023 (3:37 pm)

      I grew up with the Pig- great stores in all honesty, this may be an improvement.

    • Jack September 8, 2023 (3:42 pm)

      Bro a piggly wiggly in the junction would be TIGHT. 

  • olivist September 8, 2023 (2:21 pm)

    It’s actually the opposite of the Bartell situation.  It would be a de-consolidation of ownership which could increase competition and is exactly the reason the government is requiring a divestiture as part of the merger.  So rather than having the merged Kroger/Albertsons group owning 5 grocery stores in West Seattle + Roxbury – assuming Kroger/Albertsons divests all QFC branded stores in West Seattle- Kroger/Albertsons would own 3 (the Safeways) and a new, unrelated company (C&S) would own 2 (the QFCs).   Of course, TBD what C&S will do with whatever stores it gets.  C&S is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States (I know it as they are big where I grew up, and I even know people who work there).  Principal business has been grocery wholesale (including to Safeway and Target)  so it looks like this may be part of C&S effort to expand. 

    • Kyle September 8, 2023 (8:15 pm)

      The divesture will only occur if the merger gets approved by the justice department. Otherwise competition would be fine because QFC and Albertson’s would still be two separate companies.

  • Jeff September 8, 2023 (2:26 pm)

    It seems like one possible reading of that would be that the Junction QFC becomes a Safeway, and the Jefferson Square Safeway gets sold.    

    • Amy T September 8, 2023 (4:04 pm)

      Wow I didn’t think of that especially with Jefferson Square possibly being on the chopping block for light rail 

      • East Coast Cynic September 8, 2023 (11:26 pm)

        Which would be too bad-I like going to that Safeway in Jefferson Square so much more than the one on Roxbury – Shorter lines in Jefferson Square rather than the cattle call of Roxbury.

    • RecreationalDriver September 8, 2023 (4:14 pm)

      Probably waiting on the Sound Transit station location decision like the rest of us.

  • WGA September 8, 2023 (4:37 pm)

    One of the Sound Transit’s options for the AK Junction station would knock down the entire Jefferson Square block for a new entrance and future housing. The Safeway could be gone in a couple of years. This may decide the future of the QFC next door.

  • valvashon September 8, 2023 (7:27 pm)

    Piggly Wiggly would be great, but I’d really prefer to see a Red Owl!

  • Piggly Wiggly September 8, 2023 (11:50 pm)

    How can one say Piggly Wiggly with a straight face? Some things are best left in other time zones. No thanks 

    • Spicy Eight Piece September 9, 2023 (12:49 am)

      They must be doing something right. Down yonder we call ’em propers; you should try giving them sometime. Piggly Wiggly®, America’s first true self-service grocery store, was founded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1916 by Clarence Saunders. 

    • ttt September 9, 2023 (4:43 pm)

      I’m 51 snd as a kid in western Wa we shopped at piggly wiggly in puyallup. so piggly wiggly has been around the west for a long time.

    • 1994 September 12, 2023 (8:56 pm)

      Piggly Wiggly had a store in Tacoma on 6th Ave – same time zone as Seattle!

  • Chemist September 9, 2023 (12:45 am)

    Considering the closest Piggly Wiggly locations are in Texas/Oklahoma/Wisconsin, it would probably be a stretch of their supply chain to expand all the way out here.

  • RAJR September 9, 2023 (7:34 am)

    I was just looking over C&S Wholesale’s website and multiple executives on their board have past ties to Kroger’s.  I feel this whole merger “divestiture” is a shell game and Kroger’s is still going to be the ‘man behind the curtain’ in this deal.  This shady monopoly will further attempt to squash competition while offering substandard products and unhealthy mega-corp brands to the consumer. 

  • Elizabeth Flynn September 9, 2023 (8:11 am)

    There have been Piggly Wiggly stores in this area in the past – there was one in Parkland when I was a kid.

    • WSB September 9, 2023 (9:41 am)

      Interesting! Found this by prolific historian Rob Ketcherside, whose story includes a map suggesting West Seattle once had three:

      • Beth September 11, 2023 (4:16 pm)

        For sure we did have one in the junction where Key Bank is now. I did some research on a 1926 photograph for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society a few years back, and the Piggly Wiggly was featured in the photo.

  • MissLeigh36 September 9, 2023 (9:13 am)

    This really bums me out. The QFCs are far superior in general cleanliness and availability of what I want to eat. Both the Safeways are gross, the parking lots scare me, and they tend to have cheap crap by the same big 5 manufacturers that I do not want to support. QFC hit the mid market range of better than Safeway and Fred Meyer, and below Thriftway and PCC in terms of: prices, product selection, and general cleanliness. Very bummed.

    • ttt September 9, 2023 (4:45 pm)

      funny because i haven’t shopped at qfc for 3 years because I saw a rat sauntering down the aisle midday. 

  • aa September 9, 2023 (1:53 pm)

    Getting upset over something you are completely powerless over is a waste of time and energy.  It’s a grocery store!  And within a few blocks of this one you have four options. 

  • martin wheeler September 9, 2023 (1:59 pm)

    If citizens can not see the collapse of the food industries. Then you will feel it this winter!! Big Time!!  Make Farming Great Again! 🚜🇺🇸Oak Hills Vegetable Farms Inc.Walla Walla onion’s Washington State Official Vegetable🇺🇸

  • ttt September 9, 2023 (4:47 pm)

    the clerk at admiral safeway said it could be a qfc or safeway closing. i am hoping jefferson safeway closes. i drive to the admiral one because the jefferson square one is not very nice and the produce is not as good. we have SO many grocery stores in a 5 mule radius I wouldn’t be surprised if two stores closed here.

Sorry, comment time is over.