A sneak peek at Ballard’s new QFC

Boxes are everywhere and employees are busy getting Ballard’s new QFC on 24th Ave NW ready for the grand opening on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.

“We’re really excited to take the community by storm,” store manager Bob Goodman tells us. He says that this is your neighborhood market and he wants to hear what you’d like.

The 40,000 square foot store has all the basics: meat, fish, bakery, produce, dry goods and dairy. It also has some added features like a Starbucks kiosk, sushi, a walk-in wine cellar and a Scandinavian section.

The aisles are long, so they decided to split them half way.

There is plenty of free parking underground with elevators that let you out at the produce section in the northwest corner of the store. The store will be open 24-hours after the 7 a.m. ribbon cutting on Wednesday.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

74 thoughts to “A sneak peek at Ballard’s new QFC”

  1. What I'd really like is for the folks who worked at the QFC that was there previously to be given first dibs on jobs at the new store. That's what I'd like.

  2. From the photos it looks a lot like Metropolitan Mkt on lower QA.

    But please please PLEASE, let them carry Adam's No-Stir CRUNCHY PB, not just No-Stir Creamy like Fred Meyer.

  3. Dont blame qfc or the developer for the size of parking stalls. The city, via the building code, sets the dimensions for parking stalls and drive aisles.

  4. I'd like the QFC and its parent company Kroger to be worker-friendly instead of a belligerent juggernaut that embraces the race to the bottom culture of the worst of U.S. business.
    More or less.

  5. yay finally! I'd rather give my money to ballard market, whole foods, or TJs, but convenience wins out for me here. Walking from 24th to 15th was less than ideal. Walking across the street? Much better.

  6. I love you Geeky Sweedes – but I am thinking that the “peek inside” looks like …… like the inside of a QFC.

    One thing I think they need to do is level 24th so that I am not walking up to 70th with all those groceries.

    SU[#], ever try the peanus budder at Trader Joe's?

  7. No, the city only sets the MINIMUM required size. The developer then decides if they want to make minimum sized spots to squeeze in more cars or real spaces that people can use.

  8. I hope they get workers with good customer service this time! The last workers who worked at the old qfc were so rude and snooty. People spend a lot of money at grocery stores, the least they can do is get friendly workers.

  9. ….Oh and I hope they sell those cinnamon and sugar boxes of hard toast ya break up and put in a bowl of hot buttered milk! I can't seem to find those anywhere since ballard qfc closed. :)

  10. But move on where? According to the perpetually aggrieved loony left, we're not allowed to shop at QFC, Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joes. I mean, what's left?

  11. Yay! It's really happening. Biking to Fred Meyer, Ballard Market, or Trader Joe's isn't bad, but walking a block and a half for groceries again will be wonderful.

    I have the feeling my ZipCar account will be getting far less use.

  12. Except the race to the bottom is being led by the average American consumer. People don't want to pay “high” prices for food and could care less about how poorly retail workers are paid and treated. Of course these same people then whine about poor service (apparently the phrase “you get what you pay for” means nothing to them). Time and time again people prove with their wallets that price comes first and all else is a distant second.

    Even “enlightened” liberals are often hypocrites. Most liberals claim to support better worker treatment but then they go and rail against companies like Starbucks and Costco (who provide their employees with benefits) and instead advocate shopping at mom and pop stores (who almost never provide their employees with benefits). These people also refuse to shop at Wal-Mart because they claim Wal-Mart damages local communities but have no problem with purchasing from Amazon. Never mind that Wal-Mart collects sales taxes which are then used to fund local fire departments, schools, etc. while Amazon does not collect sales tax therefore denying needed funding for local schools, fire departments, etc. Amazon also lobbies very heavily to prevent legislation that would require them to collect local taxes. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/business/27di

  13. You get what you pay for. You may think you're spending a lot of money on groceries but that doesn't mean Kroger is making a lot of money. Grocery stores have some of the lowest margins of any retailer, typically around 1%. If you want better customer service then stores need to better compensate their employees and that means higher prices.

  14. Love the store. Not so much with the white 1980's brick, or the gross metal 'art' on the outside of the building – same 'art' on the outside of the Fremont PCC. Looks like a rabid can opener hit up a junk yard and vomited on the building.

  15. It's not even the size so much, as that they're hard to get into. Angle parking would be infinitely preferable (and indicate the one-way nature of the lot more clearly). The same is true of the ones under the library.

    The worst parking spots I've ever seen, by the way, are some of the ones at Garfield High School (near the intersection across from Ezell's). I swear someone goofed up the line painting on that section of the lot. They're not even consistently sized, and the thinnest ones wouldn't take anything wider than a motorcycle.

  16. I've worked customer service for next to nothing – low wages, no benefits…and yet my co-workers and I still managed to be nice to the customers.

    IKEA pays some of the highest retail wages around, and has *terribly* rude employees.

    It's the tone the management sets, really.

  17. Check online at the official site. I don't remember seeing any openings at this one but when I last looked was a couple of months ago.

  18. Not to drag this thread too off topic, but the reason why a lot of open minded people choose to spend their money outside of major chains is that the profits stay in the neighborhood instead of being shipped back to somewhere like Bentonville Arkansas and then to China. When your neighbors have money the community as a whole gets more benefits.
    I agree that some chains like Costco treat their employees better than some smaller “mom and pops” but it is hardly universal and the damage that some of these same corporations can do lobbying with the profits is astonishing.

  19. Yes! I am so, so pleased that this is re-opening. We moved to Ballard about 2.5 years ago…the QFC closed only 7 months after we moved in, and we've been doing the drive to Safeway ever since. It will be great to be able to just walk to the store again.

  20. Read the article. Amazon doesn't collect taxes in most of the states it has operations in. Washington is an exception, not the norm.

  21. I think your missing my point. If you refuse to shop at Wal-Mart because they harm the local community (and I agree with you on this) by shipping profits out of the community then isn't shopping at Amazon (or just about any other etailer) just as bad? If anything, it's worse than shopping at Wal-Mart because at least SOME of the money spent at Wal-Mart DOES stay in the community in the form of collected sales taxes. When you buy from an out of state etailer NONE of the money goes back to your community. That means for most of the country Amazon is worse than Wal-Mart (it's all moot here in Seattle since we don't have Wal-Mart).

    Also the whole notion of profits being shipped back to Bentonville is flawed. The profits for Wal-Mart do go back to Bentonville but the don't stay there. Wal-Mart is a publicly traded company which means the profits go to the shareholders. Those shareholders are located all over the planet. In fact, if you have a 401k with an index fund there's a very good chance you are, at least indirectly, a Wal-Mart shareholder.

  22. Management tone is part of the equation but compensation is still a greater part of the equation in most firms. I've read more articles on retail compensation than I care too to know this. Training is another big factor and something most retailers invest very little in.

    Also keep in mind that pay and compensation are NOT the same thing. Compensation is considered pay plus the value of your benefits (health insurance, profit sharing, 401k, paid time off, etc.) REI pays minimum wage in most of their stores but they offer a great benefits package which is one reason why they have one of the lowest turnover rates in retail.

  23. Oh, I'm not denying it, and I think you're quite right in general. But you did say “Amazon does not collect sales tax” without qualification, which is not correct. Also, Wal-Mart does plenty of tax evasion of various sorts (not sure there's any large company with clean hands there).

  24. Agreed. Ballard Market is nice but they're lack of a decent butcher counter and bakery often sends me to Whole Foods for those items. I really wish they could revamp Ballard Market to be a clone of Central Market. That place is amazing.

  25. Pretty much. One reason I do some of my shopping at Whole Paycheck is because they're one of the few stores that still has a butcher counter. Most stores these days have eliminated that section forcing you to pick from whatever is wrapped in the little styrofoam trays.

  26. BTW, the real evil of Wal-Mart isn't that they ship profits out of the community. The real evil is how they force their vendors to cut costs over the years resulting in massive job losses all around the country.

    They're now a point where even multi-billion dollar CPG firms like Procter & Gamble, Kellogg, Unilever, etc. are now completely beholden to Wal-Mart because so much of their business is with Wal-Mart that they literally can't survive without them. Wal-Mart is in many ways worse than the banks and auto industry when it comes to being too big to fail but nobody in the government is even thinking about looking at Wal-Mart. They're profitable now so what could possibly go wrong, right? Oh wait, that's what the banking and auto industry said.

  27. Of course the counter argument is that Wal-Mart is a great advocate for us, the consumer. Sure,Wal-mart makes more money, but their strong-arming also brings down prices for the millions of people that shop there.

    I've read some articles that try to demonstrate that the benefit to the huge number of consumers, against the cost to business and employees is still a net win for the US economy.

    I'm still up in the air about Wal-Mart, but my point is, that it isn't just Wal-Mart that benefits. It's more complicated than that.

  28. I was a huge fan of the old one. Given the amount of space, it's pretty amazing just how much stuff they were able to pack in there.

  29. True enough. It is all shades of gray. My issue is with people who try to turn it into a black/white issue. Wal-Mart is evil but they're not the only evil ones out there. Problem is a lot of people who view Wal-Mart as evil don't bother to look at the business practices of other companies they patronize (including mom and pop operations!)

  30. Yep, that's exactly the argument I heard when I talked to people in Bentonville. They say they'd like to treat their employers better but they just can't because it would drive up costs. This is true to a degree.

    Whether or not Wal-Mart is a net win for the US economy is open to debate. I've read compelling articles stating the case both ways. One thing that is interesting is that you really can't get an accurate picture of the impact of Wal-Mart on the US economy because Wal-Mart is notoriously secretive when it comes to disclosing information. The make Apple look downright open source by comparison. What studies there are out there usually rely on numbers that are extrapolated or inferred. Personally, I don't shop there because I don't like the way the treat their employees though this decision is made easier by the fact that there isn't a Wal-Mart nearby.

    Also if you look at Wal-Mart and Costco you start to notice a few differences. Both are committed to the idea of the lowest price possible for their customers. It's very much THE driving mantra of both firms. However, Costco compensates their employees FAR better than Wal-Mart. One other big difference: executive compensation. Jim Sinegal, the CEO of Costco, rightly points out that there's a contradiction when Wal-Mart cuts employee comp in the name of low prices while their senior executives make millions. Sinegal, while not exactly making minimum wage, is among the lowest paid CEOs in the Fortune 500. Have to give the man credit for putting his money where his mouth is.

  31. Ballard Market and Central Market are owned by the same company. The only thing holding our Ballard Store back is the lack of space. Central Market is HUGE.

  32. My secret dream is that they close Greenwood Market and use the resources to bring Ballard Market up the level of Central Market. Then I'd finally be able to do all of my shopping in one place.

  33. I know, they also own Greenwood. They could expand Ballard though it wouldn't be cheap. With Greenwood possibly having to close to make way for an expanded Fred they might have a good enough reason to expand Ballard to be more of a destination store than a neighborhood store (similar to how Whole Paycheck works)

  34. Does current the property even have room for an expansion? I would love that store to grow too. They need a proper butcher/bakery etc…

  35. No idea, not even sure if they own the space. My guess is they'd have to expand west into the parking lot and the regain the parking spaces by removing the strip mall along the south side of the lot.

    A bakery and butcher counter are exactly what that store needs. They do a decent job of trucking stuff in but it's just not the same as having a full service counter.

  36. remember Qfc is based originally from Bellevue, and now owned by Fred Meyer/ Kroger, but still based almost solely from Bellevue… Local????

  37. Having the sidewalk back today is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Nice big sidewalk, no more streetwalkin', hoping I don't get killed…

  38. “Qfc is based originally from Bellevue, and now owned by Fred Meyer/ Kroger, but still based almost solely from Bellevue”

    Sorry Donkey22 but you're totally wrong. I know because I've spoken with the people at Kroger. They maintain a fairly small office in Bellevue with all major decisions coming from Kroger HQ in Ohio. The local office handles administrative issues and local marketing and that's about it. They are not “based almost solely from Bellevue”.

    Safeway, Whole Foods, and most other major chains have similar regional offices in the Seattle area.

  39. When the largest retailer forces the producers to trim costs so far that they can't stay in business then who wins? The race to the bottom leaves us with a bunch of minimum wage earners and the unemployed who then have to shop at Wal Mart…the only winner is Wal Mart.

  40. I think there is an error in your logic. It's not like you can't buy air conditioners anymore because Walmart drove them all out of business. You can't buy American made air conditioners, because we simple expect far too much compensation for repetitive manual labor factory jobs at this point.

    How would you feel if Walmart drove a bank out of business that paid it's top execs huge bonuses. I think you'd be jumping for joy. You just don't consider the average american greedy because they want 20x what someone in China or India is willing to be paid for the same amount and quality of work.

    And before you go scream slave labor, unsafe working conditions, realize that while those terrible jobs exist, there are actually a much greater percentage of jobs there that are what they would consider decent jobs. Sure, they can't afford to eat out 4 times a week, or have a 3000 square foot home with 4 tvs, but those things are not rights. They are unbelievable luxuries that we Americans have all grown accustom to.

    Now I am all for stomping out terrible working conditions, but when you look at it globally, I think its a much more complicated and interesting question.

  41. So you're cool with the entire population of the world including yourself working for pennies so the price of an air conditioner drops by a few bucks?
    I'm hardly one of the boycotters, nor a bomb throwing communist, nor any of the other cliches, but I have a certain amount of discomfort in seeing the state of manufacturing, retailing, and business in general as impacted by globalization. Sure it's nice to save a few bucks when you buy a TV, but if the cost of that savings is that there are no jobs anymore then what's the point?
    I remember having some wonderful conversations with my then 94 year old great uncle about the depression era and even more interestingly the days before it and the era of the robber barons. He was very prescient about how we were quickly sliding back to that era with a massive wealth concentration of the few at the expense of the many. He predicted our current economic collapse and was dead on about how it would come about. He wasn't claiming any innate knowledge about the economy, just that he'd seen the exact same thing happen before and couldn't see how this time it would be different no matter how many people fooled themselves into it.

  42. Anyone know if this one has a place to drop off kids while you shop… and is there a coffee shop inside. oh god, please let there be…

  43. Ummm… I've been working for QFC for a few years now and by no means would I say the employees are poorly compensated for their work. We have an excellent union that includes all employees and maintains very competitive compensation.

    And I think it is important to remember that adequate compensation does not necessarily mean that the particular employee is cut out for the job. That's often what leads to poor customer service.

    You won't find that at the Ballard Q though. We were all hand selected based on our customer service skills.

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