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After pulling out of 15th Ave E, QFC makes ‘Q Fresh’ investment in battle for Central Seattle grocery customers

Germany’s Infarm has partnered with QFC on hydroponic sales cases (Image: Infarm)

Though QFC has bailed on Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E as part of its beef with the Seattle City Council, the chain’s parent company continues to invest in the neighborhood with a new produce project planned for the busy Harvard Market store at Broadway and Pike.

The “Q Fresh” project will overhaul a portion of the store’s deli area and reconfigure its entire produce section, according to construction permits.

The $200,000 construction project inside the Pike and Broadway store follows parent company Kroger’s shutdown of the neighborhood’s 15th Ave E store as part of two closures in Seattle over the city’s $4 an hour COVID-19 hazard pay.

On the Eastside, the chain has tested setups that allow stores to “hydroponically grow cilantro, kale and crystal lettuce.”

A QFC representative did not respond to CHS’s inquiry about the project.

Over recent years, Kroger has quietly overhauled much of the Harvard Market store in a series of construction projects including about $1.65 million of work in 2019. Another recent $250,000 project added “a new adult beverage area with a security curtain.” The company’s Broadway Market QFC on the north end of the street has also undergone a few upgrades including new checkout and security infrastructure. That building is also being upgraded including a new HVAC system by grocery-focused real estate investment company Regency Centers which paid $43 million for the property in 2015.

In 2018, Kroger also made an investment across both Broadway stores, spending a few thousand to close off their Harvard Ave entrances over concerns about shoplifting and disorder.

Despite closing the 15th Ave E location, Kroger remains engaged in a battle with a fast moving new rival for Central Seattle grocery spending. A Whole Foods opened at Broadway and Madison in 2018 before the Amazon takeover. A smaller, no checker Amazon Go Grocery opened on E Pike in early 2020. And a more traditional style Amazon Fresh grocery is set to open soon at 23rd and Jackson in the Central District.

A check of permits for the old 15th Ave E QFC store, meanwhile, reveals no new activity at the 17,000-square-foot retail space and surface parking lot.


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Farro
Farro
2 days ago

We’ve had one of these in the Broadway/Republican store for a bit. Not sure there’s much to say, but it is there

ballardite
ballardite
2 days ago

So what? Stores that are making profits return some of them to the store to increase their profits. No news here.

Seaguy
Seaguy
2 days ago
Reply to  ballardite

The changes to the store is news. Did you know of them prior to reading about them here? Doubt it, so it’s news.

Capitol Hill Girl
Capitol Hill Girl
2 days ago

So wrong that the 15th Ave E store was closed! Not good for the business district and neighbors.

Eva Schneidereit
Eva Schneidereit
2 days ago

I agree! It is pitiful that a city the size of Seattle has no 24-hour grocery store. I will miss the QFC tremendously.

Hillbikemessenger
Hillbikemessenger
1 day ago

What cheap skates too. Come on $4 more p/HR to some poor people who are sticking their necks out for people at work ? Then again, grocery store owners are rich heartless penny-misers anyway.

dennis
dennis
1 day ago

With the Kroger ‘attitude’ closing of the 15th ave store, they have clearly shown they are not in the business of service but strictly in it for the $ and stick to the customer. It will be a cold cold day before I shop their stores