Business

California Fresh to open ‘superstore’ in former Haggen spot in SLO

Workers are renovating the former Haggen store on Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo. It will become a California Fresh Market this summer.
Workers are renovating the former Haggen store on Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo. It will become a California Fresh Market this summer. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo residents will finally have a new grocery store to replace Haggen on Foothill Boulevard.

California Fresh Market (which also does business as El Rancho Market) announced on its Facebook page Tuesday that it has signed a lease for a new “grocery superstore” in the former Haggen spot at 767 Foothill Blvd.

“We were looking for opportunities when the Haggen situation was happening,” said co-owner Alfred Holzheu. “Then it opened up and we just hopped on it.”

Holzheu co-owns the company with Greg King and Sean Walwick.

They expect the supermarket to open by late August, to make time for about $2 million in renovations currently underway in the space. The renovations include energy efficient upgrades and adding a liquor annex, as well as adding features that are unique to California Fresh Market, they said.

The company currently operates two stores, in Pismo Beach and Santa Ynez. The stores offer conventional and organic grocery options, as well as a bakery, deli, fresh juice and coffee counters, sushi and a salad bar. Both Hozheu and King noted that the company prides itself on producing a lot of its own products at the stores, and will continue that in San Luis Obispo.

“I’d like to invite people to come into our Pismo location and check it out for an idea of what they can expect in SLO,” King said.

Holzheu and King said they expect to hire approximately 100 new employees to staff the new location, though they will also likely promote workers already with the company to work at it as well.

The pair said the company signed a 25-year lease with the property owner, though they declined to disclose further terms of the deal.

The space has been vacant since late last year, when Haggen withdrew from the state after an embattled year in California that culminated in declaring bankruptcy.

» Related: 15 SLO County businesses that closed in 2015

The departure left six open grocery stores in the county. Smart & Final purchased three of the locations — in Atascadero, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo at Johnson Avenue — to convert them to Smart & Final Extra! stores.

Two of the grocery stores — the Arroyo Grande and Los Osos locations — remain vacant, though Grocery Outlet has been rumored to be pursuing the Los Osos store.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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