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The Facts on the Met Market Move

The Metropolitan Market atop Queen Anne has closed after 50 years. Terry Halverson, whose company, Fresh Markets Northwest, owned the business, started his career here, at the age of 14 (it's said), bagging groceries. Before long, he bought the place, then known as Queen Anne Thriftway, from its owner, Dick Rhodes, and eventually acquired several other neighborhood groceries around town: Admiral, Proctor, and others, ending up with six stores. In 2004 he turned the Admiral Thriftway into the flagship of the newly named Metropolitan Market mini-chain. After competitor Larry's Markets imploded, Halverson bought the Larry's on Lower Queen Anne and completely transformed it.

The half-block site on Queen Anne Avenue is being redeveloped for residential use and there isn't enough room, Halverson says, for a traditional supermarket. The nearby Safeway is on a full block, and has what Met Market lacks: room for 60-foot semis to back into the loading dock without using side streets. The current building, under 20,000 feet, is barely big enough to qualify as a modern supermarket at any rate, but without easy deliveries and (easy parking for customers) it's a non-starter. The developer, Joe Geivett of Emerald Bay Equity, has developed several other properties nearby, but can't make the numbers work for Metropolitan.

Instead, Halvorsen has made another move, buying the Thriftway in Magnolia, three miles away, from its longtime owners Jim and Lynne Penhollow. Met Market will remodel and modernize the Magnolia Thriftway, on 34th West at Thurman, starting in September.

What could go into the space on Queen Anne? Funny you should mention it; there's a well-established specialty grocer just two blocks away, in a cramped and crowded building, who would move in a heartbeat: Trader Joe's.

-Ronald Holden