The Broadway Market Theater’s marquee came down this week — more than two years after the theater lost its lease. It’s part of the construction for QFC – a grocery store that is moving in from its space across the street. The new QFC space is being carved out of the awkward two-level Fred Meyer space and a handful of other businesses that have been evicted from their storefronts.
Like QFC, Fred Meyer is a Kroger-owned chain. Both stores were acquired by Kroger — which now owns more than a dozen other regional grocery chains — in the late nineties. (Update: In the comments, Dylan reminds me that Fred Meyer acquired QFC before Kroger acquired Fred Meyer.)
I checked the company history timeline on the QFC website for the date of the QFC-Kroger transaction. But the timeline is actually a history of the Kroger grocery chain, with no description of QFC’s background or even a mention the QFC acquisition.
The chain gym that took over the Theater’s space has remained open longer than I predicted. The introductory 50% off price for new memberships is apparently still being offered.
The old weblog entry that I linked in the first paragraph also mentioned the closing of the Green Cat Cafe. That closing turned out to be temporary. The Green Cat was reopened under the original management, and my understanding is that some of the employees were also later brought in as partners. But the Green Cat recently closed for good. It will reopen as “The Local Cafe” after a remodel is finished.
Fred Meyer bought QFC in the fall of ’98, then Kroger turned around and acquired Fred Meyer in ’99. Before then, QFC was running around town buying up the old independant stores like Art’s Family Center down the hill from me.
The fear was that all the QFCs were going to turn into Freddies and smaller stores closed and consolidated into megastores (like the Ballard FM). In the end, Kroger just sucked the whole thing up and kept pretty much everything open. There’s even a QFC in Ballard stlll.
The same Kroger cheese is a buck more at QFC than at Fred Meyer. No bus goes to the Ballard Fred Meyer, so I often give in to covenience and go to the Ballard QFC. They know they are the only walking-distance grocery store for a lot of people, and their prices reflect it. I am bitter.