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Haggen Rebrands Stores With 'Northwest Fresh' Theme

BELLINGHAM, Wash.Haggen Inc. here said it plans to rebrand all of its Tops-banner stores with the Haggen name over the next three years based on the theme, “Northwest Fresh.”

The first rebranded store opened earlier this month at a 63,000-square-foot former Tops in Bellevue, Wash.

Among the concepts being tested at the Bellevue store that could be added to future remodels are a convenience section just inside the front door where customers can pick up items such as milk, eggs and coffee without having to walk through the entire store; a series of new service departments whose names feature local geographic references; and a new line of highest-quality private-label products.

The company will evaluate the results at that location over the next three months or so before determining what store to rebrand next, C.J. “Gabe” Gabriel Jr., president and chief executive officer, told SN.

Haggen operates 13 conventional stores under the Haggen Food & Pharmacy banner — 11 in Washington and two in Oregon — and 15 Top Food & Drug warehouse-style locations, all in Washington.

“We want to bring the Northwest Fresh philosophy we have at Haggen's to the rest of the stores,” Gabriel explained.

Accordingly, each department at the remodeled Bellevue store and all future remodels will feature local names that will be instantly recognizable to local consumers: for example, Chuckanut Delicatessen; Whatcom Falls produce; Larrabee Meat Market; Lummi Fish Market; Mt. Baker Bakery; and Skajit Valley Creamery.

The service deli will be called Dot's Kitchen, Gabriel noted — a reference to Dorothy Haggen, who founded the company 80 years ago with her husband Bennett Haggen. “People in this area know Dorothy Haggen as Dot, and they will recognize the reference,” he pointed out.

The “Northwest Fresh” philosophy is built around three core values, Gabriel said: “community,” “homemade” and “delight.”

“‘Community’ refers to a connection to people and a specific connection to the Northwest, which is why we use the place names on our departments,” he explained.

“We use the word ‘homemade’ in the broadest sense to refer to quality, look, feel, touch and taste. When customers eat our products, we want them to think about sitting at the table with their mothers or grandmothers eating products of the highest quality using the best ingredients, even if everything is not necessarily made from scratch.

“As for ‘delight,’ that's my favorite because it refers to sharing the joy we have in offering our customers the best quality and service — giving them something unexpected.”

Haggen also plans to roll out a new private-label line called Haggen's Originals, beginning with 300 items at the Bellevue store. The products will be equal to or “better than” national-brand quality,” Gabriel said.

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