Bleak images as Berkeley store closes for remodeling

Empty shelves at the Safeway on Shattuck which closed for remodeling on Saturday March 17. Photo: Joe Parks

There’s something almost post-apocalyptic about these photographs of Safeway on Shattuck Avenue taken just before it closed its doors on Saturday in order to undergo an expansion and complete renovation.

The bare shelves and exposed shabbiness caught the imagination of two of Berkeleyside’s regular contributing photographers: Joe Parks and Michael Moore.

The Safeway will be expanded as well as renovated. Photo: TheRealMichaelMoore

Corn Flakes anyone? Empty shelves and an eerie emptiness at Safeway on Shattuck Avenue. Photo: TheRealMichaelMoore

The store is scheduled to reopen in mid-September. Photo: TheRealMichaelMoore

The store is scheduled to reopen in mid-September. We just know it will look a lot more appealing then. Go to Safeway Shattuck for full details.

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  • serkes

    Good photos to use for a berkeleyside post on “Preparing for quake”


  • Heidileeross

    This really needed to happen.  Excited for the reopening…   I hope Albany decides to do the same thing; I’ll be shopping there for the next 6 months…

  • Voxhumana

    The Albany store is not much better. They’ve delayed maintenance on both stores for years! It’s almost as if they’ve been holding the community hostage in order to get the permits on the new construction. 

  • Berkeley Resident

    Trader Joe’s was extra busy on Sunday night.  I think with the Safeway closed for a while and Berkeley Bowl closed on Sundays, Trader Joe’s is the only option near by for the next few months so they are going to have great business until Safeway reopens.

  • Tim

    Berkeley Bowl is open 10am-6pm on Sundays.

  • serkes

    Proof there’s always room for Jello.

  • jjohannson

    Absolutely… this is not even an “as if” question.  Safeway has been an absentee owner in Albany at least since the start of the recession (when they reduced check-out clerks and have since failed to replace them).  Last night at 6pm, a Sunday night, they were out of milk.  Milk!  This is a grocery store owned by one of the largest food corporations in America, in the heart of a relatively affluent neighborhood.  Their apologists would be the first to tell you they have delivery and storage issues that would be mitigated by doubling their size.  But Safeway didn’t have any trouble keeping milk on the shelves from 1929-2008.

    I don’t just want them not to grow.  I want them out.  Gone.  They’re a bad neighbor, an unaccountable neighbor, and for a company wanting permission to triple its square footage footprint, they are negligent and duplicitous in their core operations.

    The pictures above are disgusting, and if at all indicative of the Albany store’s infrastructural shortcomings, should prompt investigation from Albany and Alameda County health officials.

  • another BUSD parent

    they are also incredibly crappy to their workers, injured or otherwise.

    guess they are consistent across the board!

  • Charles_Siegel

    Seeing their sign “Serving Berkeley since 1927” makes me wonder what their early stores were like.  Does anyone know of pictures of Safeway stores from the 1920s or 1930s?

    The building on Telegraph and Haste that houses Amoeba records used to be a Lucky’s, which might be a hint at how Safeway looked way back when. 

  • Bruce Love

    Back then, Safeway was apparently being formed by the merger of a number of different chains.

    Poke around here?

    update: p.s.: That was one of the things I discovered for myself during an earlier discussion about Trader Joe’s: there’s a surprising number of “grocery store geeks” out there.

  • Guest

     Have you seen the newish Safeway in Alameda?

    I’m glad they finally got past the NIMBY neighbors and are renovating.

  • Guest

    I guess if any of you had ever shopped in a centally planned economy, Soviet era “Universam”, these low stock/empty shelves images would remind you more of that than some “post-apocalyptic” scenario. 

    Wait…  Come to think of it, these were actually taken in the People’s Republic of Berkeley.

  • David D.

    The grocery store options in Berkeley are abysmal. I switched from the North Berkeley Safeway to the Albany Safeway a couple years ago because it has better hours, more checkers, and slightly more stock, but I’ve been doing most of my grocery shopping at the Lucky in El Cerrito. Thank Jeebus we have a Trader Joe’s now. If only something would move into the old Andronico’s on University… (And before you get on my back about it, Monterey Market and Berkeley Bowl West are not full service.)

  • TN

    Monterey Market doesn’t have fresh meats and sections for household goods.

    I can’t think of a department that BBW is missing.

    What am I missing out on when I go to BBW?

  • TizziLish

    True dat. TJ’s was mobbed Sunday evening.

  • David D.

     Normal goods that don’t cost $$? Also, the hours are not very good.

  • The Sharkey

    Berkeley Bowl, Safeway, Andronico’s, Trader Joe’s, Mi Tierra, etc… What do you want that you’re not finding here?

    The only thing I think we really lack is a good Asian grocery store or two.

  • David D.

    The Safeways around here are a joke. BB and Andronico’s are higher end markets (and the Andronico’s near my home has been closed for a few months now anyway). TJ’s only carries specific products.

    In other words, Berkeley lacks a good traditional grocery store. (See Lucky at El Cerrito Plaza and Safeway at Del Norte BART for examples.) I guess people who are from around Oakland/Berkeley are just used to bad regular supermarkets?

  • The Sharkey

    If you shop smart at Berkeley Bowl West it’s cheaper than Safeway, at least for fresh produce. Far fewer prepared/processed options though.

    I agree bout the Safeways in Berkeley being terrible. They wanted to expand and put in one of the fancy new style Safeway stores, but people complained too much and it’s taken forever for them to get anything done. You should try Mi Tierra – I haven’t been but I hear it’s good.

  • David D.

    I agree about the produce. I buy all of mine from Monterey Market. The Safeway produce makes me kind of sad! I’ll have to check out Mi Tierra next time I’m over that way. Thanks.

  • guest

    If a commercial kitchen had refrigerators that looked like those it would get shut down by the city health inspectors.

  • cranky

    Mi Tierra ROCKS!
    Lucky’s in EC is TERRIBLE. Checkers are unpleasant and glacially slow.
    re: Asian Grocerices-Ranch 99 AND Tokyo Fish.

  • The Sharkey

    I loooove Ranch 99 (or is it 99 Ranch?) but alas they are not in Berkeley!

    Never been to Toyko Fish but I hear they’re excellent.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Thanks.  I enjoyed that There are lots of good pictures embedded in the text.  But their links to vintage pictures from the 1950s, 1960s, etc, all seem to be broken.

  • Lee H.

    The Safeways around here ARE terrible. My sister lives in Menlo Park, and I gotta say: the Menlo Park Safeway is fantastic. The store was built new from the ground up a few years ago, replacing a much older store in the same location. The staff is warm, friendly, and helpful. If you ask for a product, they won’t just tell you the aisle number, they’ll walk you to the right location and make sure you find what you need. That’s their regular policy. And when I wanted a butternut squash cut in half, the produce guy promptly went in back, sliced my squash in half, wrapped the halves, and brought them back to me with a friendly smile. Now THAT is a Safeway.

    In Berkeley I shop at Berkeley Bowl West, but as much as my sister wishes for a Berkeley Bowl in Menlo Park, I wish Berkeley had a Safeway as nice as the one in Menlo Park.