Blog: What Will Happen to Safeway?

The new Safeway is great, but will it have a negative impact on Albany?

*Because it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a "news" post and an opinion piece, this is an opinion piece. I have no association with Patch except that I comment on here (and use my real name).*

Have you seen it? Have you been a target of aggressive advertising to get you to check out the newly renovated Safeway? Personally, I think it's a great addition for our local community, and I'm glad that the process worked efficiently to get us to this new shopping experience.

Except it's not in our immediate community. Our Safeway has remained stagnant. As my husband and I shop–even though the store is a new experience–many of the faces remain the same. It seems much of the staff with whom whom we interacted on a regular basis have transfered to the new place. I also see many familiar faces of neighbors or regular shoppers going the extra distance for the bakery, larger meat counter, or the better beer selection.

If this trend continues, I see 3 potential options.

  1. Safeway will realize how much business is being lost at the current store on Solano and push the city and community to be able to make the necessary changes to the store.
  2. The store will remain stagnant, and my family will keep giving business to the store further away except in "emergency" runs for milk or any other single item.
  3. Safeway will pull out of the location because the store is losing customers, staff, and money, and there is no chance of ever getting the improvements.


Albany needs a plan and action soon. Two of the recently elected city council members were explicitly supportive of completing this process on Patch. (here and here), but now that Whole Foods has pulled out, let's focus on businesses that are already here and have a more immediate impact on the city.

The last article from Patch staff was on April 19, and the last article that focused on Safeway was the announcement of a meeting on May 2 (it could be noted that the poll on this post has 81% of all responders "definitely" supporting the new Safeway).


Side note: could the new Safeway plans include cell towers? I'm unfamiliar with the city's rules for this area.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

alice gaxiola December 08, 2012 at 05:19 AM
During the time that our council was diddling about remodeling the Solano Safeway, Berkeley remodeled thier Safeway and El Cerrito built a new Safeway from scratch. You can't please all the people all the time, but it seems 81% is a pretty overwhelming consensus. I hope we get some action soon. I would love to see a new Safeway on Solano with a coffee shop, bakery, nice deli, meat counter etc.
DALE GREENE December 11, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Count me in as supportive of a new Safeway on Solano. I, too, have shopped at the remodeled Berkeley Safeway, and it was a pleasure to spend my money in the clean Well designed store. Why doesn't Albany deserve a comparable store with it's bakery and expanded services?
Robert Marshall December 14, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I would love to see a new Safeway on Solano too. However, it must be recognized that the plot of land ham strings the project significantly. Both the north Berkeley and El Cerrito store locations have tons of space to work with compared to what is there to work with in Albany. While, on the surface, I like the idea of Safeway moving to the place where Whole Foods had wanted to go, is that a practical suggestion? Doesn't Safeway own the current property at a very low property tax rate? Why would they want to give that up for a lease that's most likely a lot more, and certain to see increases the longer they stay there?
Dover December 14, 2012 at 06:23 PM
According to the current Solano Ave store manager, even if new plans are approved tomorrow, two other projects (the College/Claremont and 51st/Pleasant Valley stores in Oakland) must be completed before any work is started here.
Robert Marshall December 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM
College/Claremont was approved by Oakland in July 2012 so that doesn't surprise me.


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