When people think of the college-town of Bellingham, images of quirky coffee shops, tight-knit music scenes, outdoors adventurers and a general sense of "off-beat funkiness" comes to mind. That uniquely Bellingham experience is now being exported to the region, and its first stop is Bellevue.

Haggen, the Bellingham, Washington based grocery company, has announced that its new store concept will open in the Crossroads area of Bellevue on November 16, at the site of the former Top Foods. The store marks the first stage of a company-wide rebranding effort that seeks to introduce the Haggen philosophy of "Northwest Fresh" it has cultivated in Bellingham to its other stores throughout the region with a core focus on the brand pillars of homemade, delight and community.

Some of the highlights of the changes taking place at the Bellevue Haggen include:

Convenience store feature inside the front door where customers can easily get their must-have items such as milk, eggs and coffee without having to walk through the entire building

Bellingham-centric "store within the store" specialty shops including: Lummi Fish Market, Chuckanut Deli and Mt. Baker Bakery

New "Haggen's Original" Private Label Brands featuring the finest ingredients

Fish & Chips bar (with choice of sweet potato or regular French fries)

Haggen is the largest independent grocer in the Northwest with 28 stores in Washington and Oregon. The Crossroads location represents the first in what will be a three-year roll-out of a complete redesign and rebrand of its products, services and shopping experiences.

"We have always been a family-run company proud of our Northwest heritage," explained Rick Haggen, son of founders Ben and Dorothy Haggen. "For 80 years, we have made it our mission to provide the very best the Northwest has to offer, including the finest quality products, fair prices, personal customer service and a flair for doing it different.  We've always felt Bellingham epitomizes the Northwest experience, and it is our intention to export that to the rest of the region."

While these kinds of changes are often associated with high-priced grocery outlets, Haggen is committed to competitive pricing.  In fact, it has developed technology that will guarantee competitiveness with larger corporate grocery outlets on key products.

"We are dedicated to being the eastside's hometown market, providing high quality and excellent value on a wide variety of products," explained C.J. Gabriel, Jr. (Gabe), president and CEO of Haggen. "Part of Haggen's " Northwest Fresh" philosophy is about being a good neighbor which means we remain committed to giving our customers a good deal without compromising quality."  

The store is open during construction but will close for one day, on November 15, in order to complete the final build out and design finishes.  

The new store will open November 16, marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the morning. Grand Opening festivities will continue through November 19. Some of the activities over the four-day celebration include contests and giveaways, live cooking demos and a fill the Mayflower foodbank drive, to name a few.