Haggen grocery store on the Mesa (Sept. 22, 2015)
Paul Wellman

The Haggen grocery store in Santa Barbara’s Mesa neighborhood owes more than $93,000 in unpaid rent, according to a public notice posted on its front doors last week. The notice, issued by an Investec property supervisor, states Haggen hasn’t paid its rent or CAM (Common Area Maintenance) fees since June 26 and must make good within ten days or vacate the space.

Investec did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Haggen customer service representative at the Mesa location said he could not discuss the matter, and then stated, “But I could sell you one hell of a New York steak!” When asked why he was trying to sell this reporter a steak, the representative answered, “Why not? I’m just trying to get customers in here.” He then failed to forward the call to a store manager or corporate spokesperson.

A recent visit to the market revealed rows of empty shelves and obvious product shortages. A cashier explained the troubled grocery chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy two weeks ago and the Mesa store had not received a food shipment since then.

Haggen currently faces four separate lawsuits filed by former employees, a labor union, and Albertsons, which has accused the company of failing to pay more than $36 million as part of the sale of 146 stores. Haggen has in turn sued Albertsons for $1 billion, claiming Albertsons sabotaged its entry into new markets.

According to Haggen’s bankruptcy petition, the chain owes over $55 million to its 30 largest creditors, including Pepsi-Cola, Coca Cola, Starbucks Corporation, and Frito Lay Incorporated. Updated projections reveal the company expects its roster of 164 stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona, to shrink by two-thirds by early November. It has already announced the closure of 27 stores.

Haggen operates six locations in Santa Barbara County.


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