Pacific Northwest grocery chain, Haggen, to open 68 stores in Southern California

BURBANK (KABC) -- Pacific Northwest grocery chain Haggen is opening 68 stores in Southern California in the next few months.

At the Burbank store's grand opening on Thursday, Haggen CEO Bill Shaner said the chain currently offers fresh-cut fruit and veggies for a grab-and-go experience.

"If we could fast forward three months from now or six months from now, they're going to see thousands of new items that we just don't have the ability to put in within the first 40 hours," Shaner said.

Since March, Haggen, has opened nine stores in the Los Angeles area, transforming three at a time.

Haggen combines the organics of Whole Foods, that farm fresh look of Sprouts and the grab-and-go of Trader Joes. Yet, customers can still get a pack of Pepsi and normal toilet paper.

No club cards are needed, but Shaner says they're upping quality, not price.

Lots of gluten-free options and local products will also be available, including fish that can be cut based on customer preference.

Cordon Bleu chef Chanel Martinez joined the team to spice up prepared options.

"I get to oversee 34 Haggen stores and the delis and all the fresh offerings: the salads, beautiful sandwiches, pizzas from scratch. It's beautiful stuff," Martinez said.

Albertsons' acquisition of Safeway offered Haggen an opportunity to buy 83 California stores, including 68 in Southern California.

Many Albertsons employees have stayed on during the transition.
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