I have always said that the song ‘New York New York’ is about the wrong place. ‘If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,’ should be about California. Moving to California from Texas 33 years ago was the biggest wake-up call of my life. It was expensive, crowded and the most competitive place I had ever lived (and to be clear I have lived in a lot of states). I thought when Lefty got transferred to California it would be so fun; backyard barbecues, new friends, sunshine and bliss. Fast forward…many of the people that we met from Chicago, Dallas, New York and Minneapolis decided within 2 years they couldn’t handle it and were moving back to their hometowns. California is tough, competitive and the backyards are fenced in so ‘dropping by’ for a barbecue doesn’t happen often.
So this brings me to my message - the sad story of business that is surrounding Haggen markets. In the news this week, Haggen announced plans to close all of their California stores, retreating back to its home base in Washington. *Note the word ‘retreating back’*
Quoted in the news in Orange County, “The move caps a whirlwind year for the grocery chain, which expanded on a massive scale from 18 stores to 164 in the spring only to end up closing most of their new stores in California, Nevada and Arizona within months. In the process, the company filed for bankruptcy and sued competitor Albertsons for malicious business practices in a $1 billion case.”
In Orange County, eleven stores will close down in Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Corona Del Mar, Laguna Niguel, Trabuco Canyon, Ladera Ranch, Tustin, Irvine and Yorba Linda.
Just remember this as you venture into your new business – everything seems easy, everything seems simple and fun. The reality is that business is tough, ruthless and non-forgiving. If you are ready to jump in, make sure you wear your life jacket.