Ballard New Seasons celebrates grand opening

Ballard’s newest grocery store, New Seasons Market opened its doors today on Ballard Way with speeches, protests and plenty of eager shoppers.

We arrived at lunchtime, and the store was packed with neighbors navigating the aisles and admiring the amenities.

Among all the staples, New Seasons features an expansive meat and seafood counter, wok and ramen bar, burrito bar, in-house made sushi, grab-and-go meal kits and an indoor and outdoor seating area, to name a few. Some local vendors handed out free samples.

“We are excited to open our doors to the Ballard community,” said Kerri Hunsley, Ballard store manager. “We are honored to have partnered with local nonprofits and hired amazing staff from local neighborhoods. We have sourced a variety of products from more than 175 vendors across all departments, and many of them are hyperlocal vendors from the Ballard area. We look forward to being your neighbor and serving the Ballard community for many years to come.”

One of those vendors is extremely local: Fremont Brewing’s production facility is right across the street from New Seasons. Named after a shingle mill constructed in Ballard in 1888, Fremont created “Shingle Town Hazy India Pale Ale” exclusively for New Seasons.

“From the windows of our Ballard production facility, we watched the demolition of the old building and the construction of New Season’s first Seattle store on that site with great anticipation,” said Matt Lincecum, Fremont Brewing Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to welcome New Seasons to the neighborhood with Shingle Town Hazy IPA.”

As shoppers drove into the parking lot, they were greeted by protesters demanding better worker conditions at New Seasons, which is not a union workplace. We talked with Chris Heim, a longtime employee from the Hawthorne store in Portland who drove up to take part in the protest.

“I’ve seen a lot of things deteriorate and degrade, as far the quality of the job,” he said. “I’m trying to get as many people together to show solidarity with Seattle. There’s a worker network that’s coming together to fight back against corporate greed for better wages, better benefits, better staffing. Under-staffing is one of our biggest issues.”

Some protesters also claim that the store has “retaliated against Portland workers who spoke up about working conditions,” a claim that New Seasons refutes. “The National Labor Relations Board investigated two claims of retaliation and dismissed both claims as having no merit,” New Seasons spokesperson Nicole Brooks told Seattle Weekly. In February, New Seasons announced CEO Wendy Collie is stepping down in a “strategic shift” in the organization.

New Seasons opponents, who are supported by UFCW 21, are also protesting against the company’s planned expansion into the Central District.

New Seasons is entering an increasingly competitive grocery store market in Ballard. Ballard Market, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Amazon Fresh are just a few blocks away, and a new PCC will open early next year in the Ballard Blocks II development.

In the days to come, New Seasons has several events planned, including wine and chocolate tastings and store tours with nutritionists.

(Both New Seasons Market and its opponents, New Seasons Stories, are advertisers of My Ballard.)

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Andrew Daisuke
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Andrew Daisuke

Prices on various items seem to be on par with QFC/Freddy’s, that deli seemed pretty damn nice, as well. God help you if you try to take the left to go east on 46th as you leave the parking lot. Tight!

SER
Guest
SER

I was also there a little after noon. I know some folks think the location is odd because of the other nearby grocers, but New Seasons blows its neighbor Fred Meyer out of the water when it comes to a *real* meat department with an actual butcher (rather than some random kid summoned over from another department and who’d try not to laugh in your face when you ask for anything beyond ground beef and chicken breasts). It’s like a slightly less expensive Whole Foods, which for my purposes is ideal. In fairness, FM is a very convenient Wal-Mart type store (I get a lot of household items there, and there’s a good pharmacy and a Chase branch, etc), but I foresee that most of my meat and produce needs will come from NS, supplemented by Trader Joe’s.

Buttoncat
Guest
Buttoncat

I’m not crossing picket lines. I support Fred Meyer, and their meat section is well staffed, not as described above.

Goballard
Guest
Goballard

Welcome to the neighborhood new seasons. UFCW what a joke. New Seasons is a B-Corp and beloved in Portland. Don’t let them scare you NS, they are just afraid of a great new product competing.

Ballard Needs Eats
Guest
Ballard Needs Eats

I drove past Leary/46th around 4pm yesterday on my way to the gym, and the line of cars to get into the parking lot stretched out to Leary, so good for them. I’ll check it out eventually…Ballard’s gotta eat!

Scott
Guest
Scott

So, the union bullies were at it again eh? Their reps were at the Greenwood FM months ago stirring up the kettle when the word got out a few were leaving to go to NS. What are they afraid of here, a little competition? The new hires at FM will be unionized, sending in their precious dues, and that IS the bottom line here, and throwing a fit like when you take away a Binky away from a baby is getting old and tiresome. Protests are like car alarms. The sky is not falling. Lack of competition though does breed complacency, as we witness with government here locally.

Dino
Guest
Dino

“the line of cars to get into the parking lot stretched out to Leary” was caused by paving work on NW 46th. They had flaggers and were allowing just one lane of traffic almost directly in front of New Seasons. Great timing/coordination, City of Seattle! Hmm, wonder if this was Kshama’s idea?

Skip
Guest
Skip

Ballard Needs Eats: Wait….cars? What cars? All these new people in Ballard don’t drive.

Ballard Needs Eats
Guest
Ballard Needs Eats

@Dino: I did not know that. It does sound fairly idiotic, in regards to the timing.
@Skip: plenty of old folks still left. Say, do you think the war on cars is because we’re trying hard to not have the ‘old’ Ballard of ‘old’ people from the 80’s/90’s? The blue hair brigade with their seatbelts hanging out the side of their car doors?

Truth
Guest
Truth

@Goballard:

New Seasons is a B-Corp and beloved in Portland.

Was beloved you mean. They are owned by a private equity firm, so don’t let all their faux feel good advertising fool you. They are just as beloved in Portland as Stumptown, who sold out to an international holding conglomerate and went downhill quickly after.

But it’s a free country, so no ones stopping you from shopping here, except Dino’s wacky conspiracy theory about SDOT. I think people will realize quickly that it’s just Whole Food prices with much less quality and take their business back elsewhere. Most people will continue to shop at grocers that don’t have a history of treating their workers poorly while hiding behind their B-corp designation.

@Scott:

Lack of competition though does breed complacency

Did you forget to take your meds again? There’s at least a half dozen competing grocers nearby.

Concerned Ballard Millenial
Guest
Concerned Ballard Millenial

That meat section looked pretty sweet (not literally)

Megan the Vegan
Guest
Megan the Vegan

Meat?

: (

Taxes for Homeless Dogs
Guest
Taxes for Homeless Dogs

Sounds about right for Seattle. The company was cleared of the employee allegations by the NLB, but there is still some protest nonsense going on, and surely there will be bums and panhandlers who can’t be bothered to work hanging around hassling people and stealing from the store.

Seattle is a giant parody of itself. Jobs are here. Get one and stop trying to gouge everyone else to pay for your awful, low IQ life choices. Would these protesters prefer to have more unemployed people? I’m as pro union as the next guy but I don’t see anyone protesting Starbucks, Amazon, or any other huge non union operation.

Truth
Guest
Truth

@Sockpuppet:

Oh you mean the same NLRB that is run by recent nominees, the noted anti-union Marvin Kaplan and John Ring? The same case that involved just two of the many cases alleged against New Seasons, which was almost immediately appealed?

Oh good, that little bit of information should put all of our concerns to rest. Huzzah for New Seasons!

I’m as pro union as the next guy…

Thanks, I needed a good laugh! Unless you mean our buddy Scott as “the next guy”, that I can believe.

Taxes for Homeless Dogs
Guest
Taxes for Homeless Dogs

If they’re operating in Seattle and they violate any regulations, then I’m sure we will hear about it.
You many have noticed, that is if you’ve ever darkened the doors of a job site or pulled a shift anywhere that involved standing or moving instead of staring at screens, that today’s pool of workers is filled with lazy types who can’t punch a clock and check their phones all day – then get outraged when they get passed over for promotion or a raise.

New Seasons COULD be a terrible unethical/ illegal operation for all I know, but it is true that many people would rather protest or you know, LIVE IN TENTS and slam drugs than actually work for a living. We all know you reflexively side with the slackers, thieves, and incompetents. no need to remind us.

Hey, how about that Korean Peace deal?

elenchos
Guest
elenchos

Weird. After that town hall, it sounded like the angry old men had discovered a new love of protest and direct action. I thought they said it’s OK to be disruptive if you feel strongly enough about something. Like you’re mad at the city because of… things? Home prices being too high/low, too much gentrification/homeless encampments, property tax too high/don’t tax Amazon. Righteous anger. Justification, right?

Buuuuuuuuut…. no. We’re back to “get off my lawn”. I knew it wouldn’t last.

Taxes for Homeless Dogs
Guest
Taxes for Homeless Dogs

@Elenchos

No, actually we’re pro jobs, which is why we’re against the head tax.

Here, Elenchos, I’ll walk you through the difficult logic here: when someone TAKES your money without your approval and wastes it, that is not the same as a boycott or protest of a private entity. We can’t opt out of taxes, and more than we can vote on whether to let nepotistic perverts hire their “special friends” as overpaid consultants.

I have no idea if the allegations against New Seasons are true, but at the very least they didn’t waste BILLIONS of taxpayers dollars on junkies and then have the gall the demand MORE. Yes, get your junkie tent and angry pit bulls off my lawn, out of our parks and green spaces and get off the sidewalk.

Truth
Guest
Truth

@Sockpuppet: If they’re operating in Seattle and they violate any regulations, then I’m sure we will hear about it. Just because a corporation is not violating the law doesn’t mean what they are doing is ethical. If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a decay of worker’s rights over the past 50 years. What they are doing now, wouldn’t have been legal 30 years ago. Doesn’t make it right, my tiny handed friend. You many have noticed, that is if you’ve ever darkened the doors of a job site or pulled a shift anywhere that involved standing or moving instead of staring at screens, that today’s pool of workers is filled with lazy types who can’t punch a clock and check their phones all day – then get outraged when they get passed over for promotion or a raise. Well, at least you admit it. You have a mentally delusional view of a typical worker and based on this nutjob view, you believe they should have no workers rights. How American of you? We all know you reflexively side with the slackers, thieves, and incompetents. no need to remind us. Drat! Bested by our mentally ill Sockpuppet and his intelligently thought… Read more »

Lindy
Guest
Lindy

Great store! Loved it, I’ll be a regular. I still will go to Ballard Market, Trader Joe’s and PCC too but it’s nice to have options!

Pork Pie
Guest
Pork Pie

I’m on my way over there now. It’s great to have all these choices!

Hot Dog and Cupcake Day
Guest
Hot Dog and Cupcake Day

The store was lovely and was logically laid out, although a little small. And to someone who mentioned “crossing a picket line”, they’re not on strike. It was a protest line, which is different. And that meat section was indeed gorgeous. Good to know that they have a real butcher, because the other stores’ meat departments are not that great. Especially our local Fred Meyers. Sometimes they can be helpful, but more often than not they get defensive when you ask for help, or argue with you when you ask a specific beef or pork question. Cranky, even. I buy meat at different stores, but if I’ve got the money to spend more on a really nice cut at a store with a good selection, New Seasons it is.

Laura Bean
Guest
Laura Bean

I’m totally not a paid shill and I love New Seasons, just like the other comments above me. Unions are communism and workers rights are un-American, so shopping here makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! May New Seasons reign for 1000 years!

Fremont GenXer
Guest
Fremont GenXer

I live in Fremont but would definitely take the bus up to get a crack at that meat selection.

Beleszove
Guest
Beleszove

I lived in Portland for 17 years and LOVED New Seasons, like really loved New Seasons- loved their quality, selection, and mostly how they treated their employees, so I was totally stoked to hear they were opening in Ballard. I was shocked (not using that hyperbolically) to learn how much they’ve changed as they’ve grown and expanded, not just moving away from their roots, but going over to the dark side (again, not hyperbolic) in a way that is almost incomprehensible; it breaks my heart, really. Under the newer management, they cut staffing, benefits, harassing employees started actively Union-busting, and hiring big time union-busting lawyers, funded by Endeavor Capital and Murdoch. I will not set foot in this store, nor any New Seasons unless they return to their core values and I recommend you don’t either. Do your research…know what the *true* cost of that rutabaga is!

Beleszove
Guest
Beleszove

This article does not adequately address the horrors enacted by New Seasons. Check out the accounts of hundreds of New Seasons workers without the publicity spin here and you will realize that awesome meat selection is tainted.
https://www.facebook.com/newseasonsworkersunited/?hc_ref=ART-wVyn2VATm37ETIYQetCBlIc79Kny-BorbW6eOPcpjZZny8G1hiHjwjiS1ZOYesk