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The Portland Business Journal reports that New Seasons Market, the 15-unit Portland-based specialty and healthy food retailer, will open a store on Mercer Island in the Seattle market in the fall of 2016.

The story notes that New Seasons will open the store at a former Albertson's location.

The Seattle Times writes that the "move is the latest in a shake-up of the Seattle area’s grocery store landscape produced by the merger earlier this year of Safeway and Albertsons. The merger led to the closure of several stores, and to Bellingham retailer Haggen’s takeover of to take over 146 Albertsons and Safeway locations all over the West Coast, including 26 in Washington state."
KC's View:
When I write in my headline that New Seasons has Starbucks on its mind it is because the company's CEO, Wendy Collie, is a former senior executive at the coffee behemoth, and there is a general consensus - both inside and outside the company, based on a lot of conversations that I've had - that her goal is to launch New Seasons into the kind of growth curve that Starbucks had. That's not just her personal goal - New Seasons is part of Endeavor Capital's portfolio of companies, and New Seasons is seen as having a lot more value as a much bigger company.

The interesting thing about this is that as I've spent time in Portland this summer, I've begun to pick up whispers of discontent with New Seasons ... more than a few people have suggested to me that from their personal experience, the retailer has lost a little off its fastball ... and they wonder if the company is so focused on growth that it is not taking care of business at home.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with growth, and there's nothing wrong with thinking big. But if the foundation begins to show a little weakness, it creates questions about whether the business model is both sustainable and expandable. And I'm hearing those kinds of questions.

One other thing. It is interesting to me that Endeavor also has another Seattle food retailer in its portfolio - Metropolitan Market, which has six stores in the area. Metropolitan Market won't be competing directly with New Seasons anytime in the near future ... but if New Seasons does indeed plan to expand quickly, one has to wonder if they will go up against each other eventually.

By the way, if New Seasons does want to grow quickly ... the folks there may want to consider the lesson of Haggen, which more and more looks like a disaster in the making.