Rainbow Foods to close Jan. 9

Fifty-nine workers affected at FL grocery store


The Forest Lake Rainbow Foods was busy on Tuesday, but it will be empty as of Jan. 9. The closing will eliminate 59 local jobs. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Clint Riese
News Editor

The last day of business for Forest Lake’s Rainbow Foods will be Jan. 9. The impending closure of the grocery store at 289 SW 12th St. and the loss of 59 local jobs was announced last week by Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc.

Though the announcement comes less than three years after the closing of Marketplace Foods on Lake Street, the Rainbow decision was attributed to slow sales.

Vivian King, director of public affairs, said the company has found it challenging to control costs as the tough economy continues to impact families’ budgets.

The first wave of layoffs will come on that Wednesday, Jan. 9, while the final date of all employment in Forest Lake will be Saturday, Jan. 12. The company is actively working with employees to place them in the many Rainbow stores in the St. Paul market.

“The decision to close our Forest Lake Rainbow was a very difficult one and one we did not take lightly, as we knew it would impact more than 50 employees in addition to our loyal shoppers in the Forest Lake community,” King said.

The grocery store opened as Festival Foods in 1988. A $3 million expansion in 1996 brought the square footage from 34,000 to nearly 50,000. It was at that same time that its name switched to Rainbow Foods.

Milwaukee-based Roundy’s purchased the store in 2003 after Texas-based Fleming Cos. filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Looking Ahead

Forest Lake Mayor Chris Johnson learned of the news via a notice dated Nov. 1 that was sent to him as required under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

The letter, signed by chief human resource officer Jessie Terry, stated the company expects the shutdown to be permanent.

“This is not a happy decision for us,” Terry wrote. “We are grateful to all of our employees for their many contributions to the business.”

Johnson hopes the void in the Westlake Plaza will not remain for long.

“We’re disappointed to see a long-standing and valued business in the community leave,” he stated. “With that said, hopefully as one door closes another will open and something new will come into that space and provide replacement for the jobs being lost.”

Westlake Plaza has been owned since 2003 by Investors Real Estate Trust (IRET), of Minot, N.D. IRET knew for some time that Rainbow was considering closing, as the grocer’s departure comes at the end of its lease, said asset manager Dick Kvanbeck.

IRET has received interest in the location but is not ready to make any announcements, Kvanbeck noted.

“Things change and you have to adapt and  move forward,” he said. “Our goal is to obviously bring in a quality tenant or tenants that will continue to bring traffic to the center.”

Bloom Commercial Real Estate is IRET’s leasing broker.

  • F.L. Resident

    As long as that Wal-Mart stands there it will be a tough decision for any business to move in!

  • Another FL Resident

    Unfortunately, for the people that work at Rainbow, the Wal-Mart has a much cleaner and organized environment for shopping. I am surprised Rainbow was able to hold on this long after the expansion at Wal-Mart. Good luck to the employees losing their jobs, you’re in our thoughts.

  • FL Resident

    Too bad WallyWorld was allowed to expand into groceries.
    Let’s force out the real grocery stores for another big box store!!
    It’s all politics & small town politics are just as bad as big city politics.
    I support small town business & won’t step foot into that Walmart.
    Politicians don’t seem to care about small business anymore despite the fact that small business is the back-bone of this country.
    They’re getting taxed right out of business or being forced out of town, especially in Minnesota! Pathetic.

  • Resident

    So sad that this store is closing. Prices are so much better than Cub Foods and I refuse to buy Walmart groceries. Good Luck to all employees.

  • Herman C.

    they took our joooooobbbbbbbbbbbsssssssss

  • Another Rainbow Customer

    Wow! The best store in town and it can’t make it because Walmart squeezes the blood out of their suppliers, so shoppers will be buying 100% imported food rather than USA produced food like the products in the rest of the store. The other older competiter could improve by making a simple logical store layout improvement.
    Best wishes to the Rainbow employees.

  • ann

    I do not agree that Walmart has a much cleaner and organized environment for shopping. To trundle to the back of the store for eggs and milk is annoying. Walmart’s meat and especially produce do not compare to this Rainbow’s. And do not get me started on the annoyances of Cub’s layout. Rainbow, you will be sorely missed.

  • Jen

    Rainbow is my favorite… Sad to hear it is closing!

  • nicole

    NO !!!! I cant stand cub food and walmart, rainbow has better quility food at a better price. Now i will have to drive all the way to fridley or coon rapids to do my grocery shopping. Why or why do they have to shut down the best grocery store in the area.

  • Rob

    I stopped going to Rainbow a couple of years ago for 3 reasons. 1- Long check out lines usually because they only have 2 or 3 lanes open. 2- I have never seen a store be out of product so much(Poor inventory management?) 3- The place is a dump compared to Cub or Wally World.
    I wish Rainbow would of been a better store being I live less than a block away, but they did it to themselves. They should of remodeled years ago like the Rainbow in Maplewood. Very clean and modern with a much better selection.

  • chris

    I will miss Rainbow. I am used to it. I know where everything is. I do not like Cub, but will have to shop there now. I refuse to shop at wal-mart.

  • Jeremy Rector

    My Old man and I liked that store Dude…………….Once it’s gone it ain’t comin’ back!