Seattle’s Central Co-op suddenly closed the doors of the former Tacoma Food Co-op on Monday, seven months after the two merged. But CEO Dan Arnett said the hunt is on for a new Tacoma location.

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Central Co-op suddenly closed the doors of the former Tacoma Food Co-op on Monday, only seven months after the two merged.

“The Central Co-op 6th Avenue site in Tacoma is closed for business and a search for a new location in the Tacoma area has been initiated,” according to a notice posted on Central Co-op’s website.

Central Co-op had been negotiating with the landlord at the Tacoma site since January but could not reach mutually agreeable lease terms, said Dan Arnett, the co-op’s president and CEO.

The landlord wanted higher rent and a longer lease term than the co-op was willing to agree to, Arnett said.

The landlord could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

The former Tacoma Food Co-op operated at the 4,000-square-foot site for five years.

But Central Co-op believed the site had limitations, including its small size, and had been looking for other sites, Arnett said.

“We tried for shorter-term extensions and things,” he said. “We knew that locking into a long-term deal didn’t make a lot of sense.”

The Tacoma location’s dozen employees will be laid off.

“This is not a decision we make lightly. It’s not the way we would like things to play out,” Arnett said.

The two co-ops merged in December, citing greater buying power and sharing administrative costs as some of the benefits to the move.

The smaller Tacoma Food Co-op, which opened in 2011, had struggled with delivery schedules and limited buying power. It had 2,300 member-owners before the merger and last year logged $1.65 million in sales, Arnett said.

Central Co-op, before the merger, had 13,000 members and about $25 million in annual sales at its one location on 16th Avenue and East Madison Street in Seattle.

Arnett contended that after the merger the Tacoma site offered better prices and products, and better wages and benefits for its employees.

He says the co-op is committed to reopening elsewhere in Tacoma.

“We’re leaving this site,” he said. “We have no intention of leaving this community.”

In addition to its Madison Street and Tacoma sites, Central Co-op is vying with Portland-based New Seasons to become the anchor tenant for a mixed-use development at the Capitol Hill light-rail station.