Gelson's Starts Takeover of Haggen Locations in SD

One supermarket chain is already starting the transition to take over Haggen locations in San Diego County.

Gelson’s Market, a Los Angeles area-based chain, was renovating the former Haggen store in Del Mar on Wednesday to prepare to open in January.

Gelson’s is among a number of chains taking over two dozen Haggen stores in the San Diego area. The company, which currently operates 18 stores, bid on three Haggens here, including locations in La Jolla and Carlsbad.

The bidding process started after Haggen announced it was departing from California, shuttering many locations in San Diego County.

Other stores that have made bids include Albertsons, Smart & Final, 99 Ranch Market and Bristol Farms.

Gelson’s expects to open the La Jolla store sometime in February; the chain hasn’t secured the Carlsbad yet.

The company started in Burbank in 1951 and is known for its upscale atmosphere, restaurant quality meats and produce along with other higher end products.

So how can Gelson’s succeed where Haggen failed? Rob McDougall, Gelson’s CEO, said he plans to reach out in the community and hire back former Haggen employees.

Still, McDougall said his company recognizes the shopper makes the final decision.

“I have no doubt they’ll come in at least the grand opening and check out our hot prices and different things,” he said. “And then we have to win them over from that.”

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