On February 16th, QFC announced they would close the Wedgwood QFC – along with their Capitol Hill location – in 60 days with April 24th being the store’s final day. The decision to close the “underperforming” stores was “accelerated” due to the a city council policy to require an additional $4/hour hazard pay for grocery store workers, a policy Kroger (the parent company of QFC) claims is the city’s “attempt to pick winners and losers among essential businesses and workers.” The decision and statement drew interest over the blame placed on local policy to require supplemental compensation to grocery workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. It should be noted that Kroger has made similar statements and closed other grocery stores in other communities due to “hero pay” ordinances. Among the responses to QFC/Kroger’s announcement, a protest organized by UFCW Local 21 was held on April 9th in front of the store.
In the end, Wedgwood’s QFC and its employees – many of which live in the broader community – have been caught up in a Cincinnati-based company’s political or business case decision to end a 50+ year history of grocery service at 35th Ave NE and NE 85th. For whatever reason Kroger made the decision, we will be sad to see the employees leave our community. We understand many of them are being transferred to other QFC/Kroger stores. The Wedgwood Community Council extends our heartfelt gratitude to all of the employees who have provided excellent and friendly service to our community over the years.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO THANK QFC EMPLOYEES, THERE’S STILL TIME! A special thanks to Gabe Galanda, Jordan Royer, and Shaun Vinyard who organized a GoFundMe campaign that raised $11,000 which will be distributed to QFC employees on Thursday, 4/22, at 3PM. Councilman Alex Pedersen will be present as well to extend his well-wishes. A giant “Thank You!” card is at Cafe Javasti for those who would like to say thanks (see photo).
Since QFC made their announcement, we have been in communication with the property owner who has graciously provided us with periodic updates. At the time of writing, QFC has yet to formally notify the property owner that they intend break their lease. We understand they have several more years on their lease. We know the community highly values grocery at that location into the future, which we have communicated to the owner. However, the lease is a legal document and without formal notification from Kroger/QFC, the owner is not able to advertise the site or market the site for a new grocer. We will continue to coordinate with the owner into the future and will continue to advocate for a long-term grocery provider to be the anchor of that location into the future.