BELLINGHAM - The Market at Lakeway will close in the coming weeks, marking another big change in what has already been an eventful year for the local grocery industry.
Officials at The Markets LLC announced in a news release that a liquidation sale at the store will begin Friday, Dec. 13. The company expects the sale to last a few weeks and will close the store for good sometime after the new year.
The company is working with its local unions to determine options for the employees at that store. No other store closures were announced.
Once the store off Lakeway Drive closes, The Markets will have no stores in Bellingham. Before the November 2011 closure of The Market at Fairhaven, it had four in the city.
According to a news release, the recently revamped store, which included a focus on natural and local foods, developed a loyal customer base but did not generate enough sales to produce satisfactory returns. Officials at the Markets LLC would not comment beyond the written news release.
For many years the store, which is in the Lakeway Center, was under the Cost Cutter brand until it closed in December 2010. The building was remodeled and reopened in July 2011 as The Market at Lakeway.
The remodel was a significant change, with the store transitioning from a low-price leader to one that offered a large number of products that were grown and packaged within 35 miles. The company also offered a variety of new departments to set itself apart, including a "Beer City" section, which included more than 700 beers, and a large freshly prepared food section.
In the following months the store began to bring in more organic and gluten-free options and a natural health department. In the end, however, the company decided the best option was to close the store rather than compromise the quality or customer service, according to the news release.
"It is simply a matter of directing (The Markets LLC) resources to more profitable opportunities. Like all businesses, it continually reassesses its portfolio of real estate holdings and divests under-performing assets," said the company news release.
The company has 13 stores in the Washington. Its five remaining Whatcom County stores are the Ferndale Cost Cutter, The Market at Birch Bay, Blaine Cost Cutter, Everson Market and the Food Pavilion in Lynden.
It's been a year of transition for the Bellingham grocery industry. Earlier this year The Markets closed its Meridian and Sunset Cost Cutter stores. That was soon after WinCo opened its store on East Bellis Fair Parkway in mid-August. Fred Meyer did a major remodel of its Lakeway store and has started similar work at its Bakerview store.
Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2269. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.
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