Portland grocer New Seasons today announced its sale to South Korean company Good Food Holdings.
New Seasons Portland management will remain the same, but the company will close its Ballard, Washington location by the end of the year. New Seasons will also scrap plans to open a new location in the Central District of Seattle. Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported the announcement.
Good Food Holdings is a U.S. subsidiary of the South Korean company Emart. Good Food Holdings owns Metropolitan Market in Seattle and Lazy Acres Natural Market and Bristol Farms in California. New Seasons' Seattle store will be converted to a Metropolitan Market by mid-2020.
Forrest Hoffmaster, New Seasons' CEO, will stay on after the merger. "This partnership with Good Food Holdings ensures our longevity as a community cornerstone—one that continues to nourish our neighbors and staff, inspire environmental stewardship and champion the local food economy, as we have done since 2000," Hoffmaster said in a statement.
The upscale grocer, which first opened in 2000, currently operates 18 stores in Portland. Its sale to Good Food is expected to close in January.
Workers at New Seasons' soon-to-be-shuttered Ballard location and Seattle store will be offered jobs in Portland or awarded transition pay and job search assistance.
A spokesperson for the company, Jacqueline Fowler, says future growth in Portland will be "modest."
"We are actively looking at sites in these two regions and will continue to be mindful about how we grow and keep working to strengthen our core business," Folwer says.
New Seasons is currently owned by the local private equity firm Endeavour Capital and the grocer's founders, who retained a minority stake. In addition to operating grocery stores in Oregon and Washington, the Portland-based company also owns five California stores called New Leaf Community Markets. New Leaf stores will also be purchased in the merger.
Both chains will continue to operate as B Corporations—giving 10 percent of after-tax profits to local charities. New Seasons and New Leaf were the world's first grocers to earn B Corp certifications.
Fowler says the sale "was not related to company financials."
"The offer from Good Food Holdings was accepted as it can enable New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets to continue our commitment to our mission, community and culture, and meets our financial goals," Fowler says.
She declined to comment on how much the grocery chain sold for.
In a note to employees obtained by The Oregonian, Hoffmaster said, "We believe this new ownership structure will allow us to even better support the long-term health of the business and deliver on our mission."