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Smart & Final makes bid for three local Haggen stores 

–Smart and Final will seek court approval to take over some of the locations being closed by the bankrupt Haggen chain, according to a news release sent out by Haggen representatives on Monday.haggen bankruptcy

Haggen filed motions to approve two separate asset purchase agreements.. Gelson’s Markets signed an asset purchase agreement for eight stores in California and Smart & Final signed an agreement for 28 stores in California and Nevada. Both agreements are subject to bankruptcy court approval.

Stores included in the asset purchase agreement with Smart & Final include local stores:

• Atascadero – El Camino Real Atascadero
• Paso Robles –Creston Road Paso Robles
• San Luis Obispo – Johnson Ave San Luis Obispo

Haggen is seeking a court hearing on Oct. 19, to hear the company’s proposed global bid procedures. Parties interested in participating in the sale of stores need to submit an indication of interest by no later than Oct. 26. The procedures provide for a deadline for submission of bids to purchase some or all of the assets on Nov. 2, with an auction scheduled on Nov. 9. The hearing to consider the results of the auction will be held on Nov. 24.

Haggen previously requested approval to begin going out of business sales in the identified non-core locations and will exit operations during the last weeks of November. The sale process has been designed to be, “fair and transparent in order to derive the highest bid for the stores and to maximize value for the estate and creditors in an orderly process.” Haggen says that the procedures will allow the sale auction(s) to be conducted in a controlled, fair and open fashion that will encourage participation of financially capable buyers.

If approved by the court, Smart & Final plans to have the stores open by the summer of 2016.

Three of the Haggen grocery stores that are being closed in San Luis Obispo County may become Smart & Final stores.

Smart & Final LLC has signed an agreement with the struggling grocery chain to purchase 28 stores in California and Nevada, including the locations in Atascadero, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo at Johnson Avenue, as part of Haggen’s ongoing bankruptcy. The purchase price of all 28 stores is $56 million, according to a Smart & Final news release.

The purchased stores will be converted into Smart & Final Extras, which feature more bulk organic options and household items, according to the news release. The stores are also larger than traditional Smart & Final warehouse stores.

Smart & Final already operates three locations in the county — in Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo — and about 270 stores throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Northern Mexico.

Media representatives for the company did not respond to request for comment Monday on whether the existing Smart & Final stores in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo would close to make way for the newer locations.

The agreement is still dependent on approval from the U.S. bankruptcy court. The timing of the conversion process would vary on a store-by-store basis, but if approved, is expected to start during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter of 2015 and to be completed during the company’s second quarter of 2016.

The fate of the other three other San Luis Obispo County locations is still up in the air. The Los Osos store is slated to close this month, and the San Luis Obispo at Foothill Boulevard and Arroyo Grande locations are expected to close as well unless a buyer comes forward.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.

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