Customers lament closing of Wedgewood, Capitol Hill QFC stores

SEATTLE — Two QFC stores will close for good in Seattle Saturday. The parent company, Kroger, says it was pushed to close the underperforming stores when the City Council imposed $4 an hour more for front-line grocery workers.

So many people say they will miss these stores. Their small size made them an intimate setting that neighbors say they cherished.

This could be mistaken for just another store in a national grocery chain. But to those who shop here, this QFC is special.

“I feel sad about it,” said Wendy Lendrum. “Yeah, I live right around the corner.”

This has been Lendrum’s go-to store in the five years she has lived in Wedgwood.

She says she went here more than other nearby stores.

“It’s a very small QFC as opposed to the QFC at U-Village,” Lendrum said. “It’s quaint. It has a very nice community feel to it. And the cashiers knew who we were by name and face.”

“It makes no sense,” said Yvonne Henderson, who shopped at the Wedgwood store while raising her children. “It’s political. You know you don’t want to pay your workers four more dollars? Excuse me.”

QFC made no secret that its decision to close its Wedgwood and Capitol Hill stores was based on a Seattle City Council mandate that large grocers pay their front-line workers an additional $4 an hour in hazard pay.

“We have been giving appreciation pay as well as bonuses and rewards,” QFC spokeswoman Tiffany Sanders said last February. “Really, for these two struggling stores, this decision by the city made this decision for us.”

“Yeah, don’t get me started on the City Council,” said longtime customer Paul Stanton.

He agrees with Kroger.

“I mean the grocery business is a very thin margin business anyway,” said Stanton. “They think these guys all have this huge profit. They don’t.”

And soon they will no longer be in this Capitol Hill location.

“I’m going to miss this store,” said Virginia Phillips, who says she drove here from Montlake. “Because it was always a great place to run up to when you needed a few groceries.”

They won’t be in Wedgwood either, two more losses in a year filled with them.

“I feel a lot of people, it’s going to bring a hardship,” said Karen Rispoli, a Wedgwood customer. “And I just don’t think big corporations take little people into consideration.”

QFC says 90% of those working here are moving to other stores.

And so at 9 o’clock Saturday night, after 24 years in this location, this QFC will close for good.