As Peltola puts thumb on scale of competition, a new Costco store opens in Anchorage

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Businesses, event planners, rural Alaskans, and every-day Costco members will have another option to purchase bulk food and other goods in Anchorage, when a new Costco Business Center opens at 1074 N. Muldoon Road in Anchorage, near the Tikahtnu Commons.

Costco Business Centers are already located in 12 states. On Feb. 2, Alaska will get one of these “super bulk” stores that caters to restaurants, hotels, rural cooperative buying clubs, and companies that use large quantities. It will be a huge benefit for rural Alaskans who want to buy in bulk on their shopping and medical trips to Anchorage.

Costco, which has consumer warehouse outlets in Juneau, Anchorage (two with one on the way), and Fairbanks, is the second large food seller to expand its Alaska market footprint in just three months.

Amazon opened up a major distribution center in November in midtown Anchorage.

Meanwhile, Alaska’s Rep. Mary Peltola is trying to tamp down competition by preventing Kroger and Albertson’s from merging to compete in this ever-changing free marketplace, where other businesses are quickly making their moves.

Peltola was on the House floor earlier this week proclaiming that the Federal Trade Commission had postponed a decision on the merger until later this year and that she continues to fight the merger of Kroger and Albertson’s. This is a position consistent with the Big Labor unions who support her.

Peltola is following in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have attacked the grocery business sector relentlessly, even though the companies are having to pay ever-higher wages to union-controlled workforces and even though shareholders were measurably harmed by the Biden Administration’s economic shutdowns and mandates in 2020 through 2022, shutdowns that have been proven to have caused drastic harm to the economy.

Amazon distribution center is one of the biggest game changers in the Alaska consumer zone, cutting delivery times dramatically for online shoppers. Amazon now operates its own cargo flights through Amazon Air and also has warrants to acquire minority share in Atlas Air Cargo; both operate with daily Amazon cargo coming through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The new 66,0000-square-foot sorting center in midtown Anchorage is where packages get put on vans for delivery on the Alaska road system.

Three Bears is also in expansion mode. Three Bears has 13 grocery stores with more on the way in Eagle River, Cooper Landing, Ketchikan and North Pole.

Walmart has stores in Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Kenai, Ketchikan — nine retail units across the state. IGA has eight stores in Alaska and Alaska Commercial Company has 33 stores, primary in very-rural Alaska.

41 COMMENTS

  1. I want them to merge. Palmer carrs shelves are half empty, it appears Huffman carrs gets all the good stuff. So we have to shop at Freddy’s to get a good selection.

    • If you allow them to merge then soon there will be grocery store and in the world and they will control the prices and what’s on the shelves. We need competition.

    • The shelves are empty because of Fred’s ordering system, not because of shortages or competition. Kroger is trying to squeeze costs to generate cash to buy Albertson’s/Safeway out right without debt. Screw the customer. Another good bit of our comestibles are being shipped to China. As for the difference between your two stores: that is a staff performance issue. We’re fighting this in Fairbanks also.

      • I can only say that as Fred Meyer have progressively became Kroger over the last decade or so, I have liked shopping there less and less, and have noticed prices rising (disproportionate to the general cost of living) higher and higher.

        I used to be a regular Fred Meyer shopper, but now I go there only occasionally, and buy relatively little there. Costco and Three Bears have become my go-to grocery stores, along with certain foods that I buy in bulk from out of state directly.

  2. Let free market run it’s course. The Biden judge blocking Jet Blue and Spirit Airlines merger will most likely push Spirit Airlines to bankruptcy. Kroger and Albertson’s could be the same way. If they aren’t allowed to merge (i.e. create efficiecies) then one or both may fail to exist.

  3. “Meanwhile, Alaska’s Rep. Mary Peltola is trying to tamp down competition by preventing Kroger and Albertson’s from merging to compete…”

    Suzanne, do you ever read what you write before you post it? This is nonsensical. A merger would reduce competition, and cement a grocery monopoly for a majority of Alaskans. How would only having one grocery store be “competitive”??? Unless they’re forced to divest stores, this is going to guarantee closed stores and higher prices. A monopoly is by definition the opposite of competition.

    I’m amazed that anyone reads this and takes it seriously – it’s about as pointless of an analysis that one could come up with if they tried. Keep shilling for corporations, and enjoy Florida!

    • Suzanne is saying there is plenty of competition: Costco, Amazon, Walmart, 3 Bears, AC stores, and the internet.
      Your argument is akin to the old days when cable tv was considered a monopoly. Now it is almost dead due to streaming from 5G.

      • You haven’t rebutted No Grocery’s argument though. Mary Peltola’s stance on this issue is far from “tamping down” competition. It’s a political shade piece with the author projecting the exact opposite onto a legislator who’s working to protect the current level of competition even you say we already have. Mary and many Alaskans think it could be even better, but we certainly don’t want it reduced down to a single entity bringing in groceries. You should sit in on one of her town hall calls sometime and actually learn about it.

        • The Federal Trade Commission is charged with determining whether the merger is anti-competition or not. As with the Carrs-Safeway merger, Kroger-Albertsons is proposing to divest of certain assets (stores) to other retail/wholesale entities to enable new competition. In theory, K/A combined will be more efficient and competitive in the ever-changing marketplace. As evidenced by the result of the Carrs-Safeway merger, there is little to be concerned about here in Alaska. I can’t speak for the rest of the country but 10,586 Walmarts combined with all other competitors is pretty competitive. As the far as Mary, she is just echoing all the knee-jerk reactions as evidenced here.

      • How many of those are actually grocery stores that are not in major cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau (because a 2-hour commute to Anchorage to go to Costco is not the most feasible for all people)? Carrs, Freddy’s, and 3 Bears (because, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but AC stores are primarily in rural hubs like Aniak, Bethel, and Nome). Once the merger goes, most suburban communities on the road system will have two options for groceries: Safeway/Freddie’s and 3 Bears. That ain’t good.

        • Don’t forget about Walmart, Costco, and Amazon. You drive 2 hours and can’t make it to Costco or Walmart? Strange

  4. I’m glad we have Fred Meyer (Kroger) and Carrs/Safeway (Albertsons). I preferred the old Carrs before Safeway took over and Freddie’s before Kroger. We now have multiple stores for each in Anchorage, with a few former Safeways sitting empty after they took over Carrs. After a merger we’d have fewer stores and more empty. It won’t bring in more competitors.
    Competition is good. Walmart is a monopoly in much of the country as it killed all the local competition.
    More options means more choice on products, price and service.

  5. The opinions of our political representatives in the matters of private enterprise are not what they are being paid for, though they are entitled to have an opinion. The law will determine what is legal and therefore the focus should be on the business of state issues already overwhelming us by lack of solutions. Please put your private interest donors on background and take care of the business of the people. It can be fulfilling.

    • I agree Trig. However, Mary’s persistence on pushing this issue is a red flag for me. There is a reason for her madness. I wonder what she is setting the stage for?

  6. What happened to the C&S deal? Did Peltola not get enough of the grift to let it go through?
    I have no issue with the merger other than Carrs has a great policy of hiring and mentoring disabled individuals. Fred Meyer, not so much. If that changes in a negative way, I’m against it

  7. Mergers eliminate competition.

    It would be helpful if the FTC would hold public hearings prior to making decisions. It would be helpful to have a specific plan and contractual commitments, so the public can weigh in.

    Are there specific plans to reduce the cost of groceries? Does the merger have an impact on food security in Alaska? What impacts did prior sales or mergers have on the cost of food in Alaska?

    Interestingly, the State of Washington is suing to prevent the merger in their state.

  8. Both Murkowski and Sullivan oppose the merger as well. Of course it doesn’t fit your narrative to print that fact.

  9. Me personally would like a store that has eggs. Last week Carrs did not have any. This week Walmart doesn’t have any. Another egg shortage.

  10. “Rep. Mary Peltola is trying to tamp down competition by preventing Kroger and Albertson’s from merging…”.

    🤣😂😂 a merger will ELIMINATE competition!

  11. This is unbelievably biased. If for one moment you think merging into super Kroger is “free market capitalism-which doesn’t exist esp since Reagan” you’re illiterate. We already have ZERO choices for goods: it’seitherOutsourced/cheap/price gouged Walmart, Price gouged, cheaply made, no staff Price gouged by >50% up FM or Albertsons, or worse Way Worse Price Hiked Three Bears (doesn’t pay living wages) which removed our chance to get a decent company here that people like and HELPS THE COMMUNITY GREATLY ie COSTCO (which offers full benefits, eyes, hearing, dental, etc) None of them (other than COSTCO Anchorage) benefit the majority of Alaskans, esp those in the Valley. Those Corp Monops have shut down hundreds of small businesses that do. Big Corps are ALWAYS ANTI-SMALL BUSINESS!!Just know every dollar you spend (1/3 purchases will be Amazon, Walmart or SuperKroger), all of it goes into the pockets of 1% (own 92% of all of our nations wealth), who now own our treasury, due to the 2017 6th Tax Cut for only the top 0.1% that adds $Trillions to our deficit (feel free to Peru’s thru history and SEE what the economy was doing for MOST of US from the 1920s-2020s and you will clearly see what I’m talking about). Be sure to take notice of the latest of 6, Republican tax cuts for Billionaires, at 21% Flat tax in 2017, which is costing us $TRILLIONS of TAXPAYER-FUNDED dollars (the worst tax cuts since the 1920s, when 87% of Americans were at POVERTY LEVEL OR FAR BELOW & THEN YOU LOST Your Job for YEARS)! If you want a strong, connected and happier community, this is just going ensure we never have it nor will be able to survive it. Anyone, anytime can be homeless/poor so one would think they’d want what’s best for all not just the 1% but nope. They’d rather see their communities get more poor, desperate, and soon they’ll know why they’ve sold us all out. Please take an economics class (not funded by a corporation) bc the fantasy “Free Market” was the closest to a “faint possibility” by 1968 (after decades of trust busting,employee & customer regulations & by then the Fed Min Wage kept up with inflation at 12.50/hr adj for infl). No corp was poor, but they demanded more for doing nothing. Back then CEOs paid 40x their lowest paid employee, today it’s close to 400x. Wages for employees have been cut in 1/2, in the richest country in the world EVER for the past 70+ years. Your communities suffer terribly bc of this. Just bc you don’t see it (what a luxury) doesn’t make it not true. Today Fed Min Wage stays at $7.25, 20 states pay that to millions of laborers and we pay big TAX Welfare Queen Corps taxes bc Gazillion dollar companies refuse to pay a wage you can eat upon. ($13,900k/year) is daycare money for the year. Alone. This is ending one way or another and yet few ever actually help those less fortunate. One thing is absolutely true and always will be, this type of greed will always be anti-Christian, evil and sadistic no matter how “justified” it is in your mind.

    • My take on this action of adding another Costco in Anchorage is that this is being done to get the 15 minutes cities set up. I bet that in these locked down 15 minute cities, Costco will be the only food store and Amazon will use their drones to deliver the food to the livestock in their little apartments since they won’t own cars.

  12. Chris Nyman-After 25 years in the food brokerage industry working very closely with Carrs and Safeway here as well as many national food companies i can state without question the Carrs Safeway merger was a financial disaster to the Anchorage consumer. From an anti-trust standpoint It never would have been allowed had Mr Knowles not been governor and basically owed his political existence to Carr-Gottstien. Prices rose exponentially for years after essentially placing the cost on our backs. And allowing Kroger Albertson merge here wb even worse! It will mean hundreds of job losses and massive price increases for the consumer. And the stores they divest to “create competition “ are simply the dogs that will go under exactly as they did when Safeway bought Carrs. For the record I have zero union ties.

    • I don’t understand how Carrs-Safeway was a “disaster” to the consumer when they compete directly with alternatives such as Walmart, Costco, etc. I think many people attribute price increases wrongly to stores when inflation is the real culprit. I do see how a merger can impact a food brokerage business though. I also think IGA is a better “dog” than Alaska Marketplace ever was.

  13. Am I correctly understanding Suzanne’s contention that allowing a merger between two of the largest grocery retailers in the West will somehow INCREASE competition? What am I missing here?

    • No. She is saying in a free market, there will be a new competition for the consumer dollar. Don’t dismiss the IGA effort either. Let’s wait for the ruling from the FTC before we get all twisted about this. Other states are intervening against the merger so lets see what happens. I think the internet may be the biggest threat to retail grocers of all.

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