At a Tuesday hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the bankrupt Haggen grocery chain’s sale of three stores in Santa Barbara County to Albertsons and Sprouts Farmers Markets. In the coming months, Albertsons will open shop at Haggen’s 163 South Turnpike Road location in Goleta and 1500 North “H” Street location in Lompoc. Sprouts Farmers Markets will move into Goleta’s Fairview Shopping Center.
The court said yes to 47 separate purchase agreements of 25 locations in Southern California, as well as stores in Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. That means eight of the 55 store bids from Haggen’s three-day auction held earlier this month still await court approval. Among those eight are bids by a buyer listed as Balboa Retail in Lomita, Carnival Supermarkets’ bids on two stores in Chula Vista and San Marcos, a company called RJS Investment Group’s bid on a location in Poway, and Roxy’s Market and Cafe’s $75,000 bid on Haggen’s Mesa location. All of these bidders appear to be smaller companies that filed bids for either one or two locations each.
Michael Lawler, co-owner of mom-and-pop grocery store Roxy’s Market, told The Independent there are “still quite a few hurdles to get through” before he can count on opening his first shop in Santa Barbara. He said he was recently notified that approval for the Mesa location had been pushed back to a December 4 court hearing.
This week, the Pacific Coast Business Times reported that shortly after Lawler successfully bid on Haggen’s Mesa location, fending off corporate giants like Albertsons, Ralphs, and Smart & Final, he learned that “the landlord is looking for a larger national tenant.” Business Times wrote, “Roxy’s will likely have to find another location,” although nothing is set in stone until next month’s hearing.