Tag Archives: Andronico’s Community Markets

Safeway to buy, rebrand Andronico’s Markets

Andronico's. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Eighty-seven years after founding its first grocery store in Berkeley, the Andronico’s name will disappear for good by the end of 2016, after being acquired by Safeway.

Safeway is buying Andronico’s Community Markets, according to both companies, and Andronico’s five stores will be renamed Safeway Community Markets. Andronico’s two stores in Berkeley, and its other three — in San Francisco, San Anselmo and Los Altos — are slated to undergo the transition in December and each store will be closed for a short period of time during the changeover.

No jobs will be lost as a result of the purchase, said Andronico’s CEO Suzy Monford, who told Berkeleyside that the union that represents both Safeway and Andronico’s staff “wholeheartedly supports” the move, and that she herself is delighted with the development. Monford said there were around 350-400 employees in total across the five stores, with 35 in the group’s corporate office.

Read more about Andronico’s Community Markets on Berkeleyside.

In a statement released to Berkeleyside by Safeway, the grocery giant said Andronico’s approached Safeway earlier this year about purchasing their stores “with the goal of preserving union jobs and keeping the stores operating in the same friendly, local way their customers have come to enjoy.”

Andronico’s, which was founded in Berkeley in 1929 — and at its peak had 14 stores in the Bay Area — declared bankruptcy in August 2011 and was bought by Renovo Capital, along with A.G. Ferrari, another local food group.

Wednesday morning, representatives from Safeway, along with Monford, were on the grocery market floor in Berkeley’s two stores talking to staff about the news and its implications. … Continue reading »

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Alameda Kitchen transforms places, produce, people

Vegetables donated to Food Shift's Alameda Kitchen. Photo courtesy: Food Shift
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Dana Frasz loves food. She hates waste.

Frasz especially hates when perfectly good produce is thrown into trash bins because of something as silly as aesthetic imperfections. She knows why food was created — to feed people. Still, six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables go to waste each year in the U.S. solely on account of cosmetic imperfections. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans are food-insecure. Frasz finds this completely unacceptable.

“It’s unjust,” said Frasz. “It’s nonsensical, this crazy reality of hunger in the presence of so much abundance.” … Continue reading »

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New Whole Foods store wake-up call for Andronico’s

Whole Foods Gilman first day in the produce section photo Neil Mishalov
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Today at 9:30 a.m. a new Whole Foods Market broke bread rather than cut a ribbon, and opened for business in the rapidly transforming Gilman shopping district in West Berkeley. The store, and the competition it represents, has been a catalyst for at least one other local grocery chain to sharpen up its act. Early reports suggest the market will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood for local residents.

An estimated 600 people took tours of the new Whole Foods store last week in the lead-up to today’s opening at its location on 10th and Gilman streets. This is the second Whole Foods store for Berkeley (the first one opened at Ashby and Telegraph in 1990), the 41st Whole Foods in Northern California, and the 401st nationwide. It will be open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily while the Whole Foods-owned Allegro Coffee roastery in-store, its first outlet on the West Coast, will be open from 6 a.m. every day.

The 47,000-square-foot market, with 85 car parking spaces, including electric charging spots, and 12 bike spaces, is employing 200 staff, two-thirds of them from other Whole Food stores while the rest are new staff members, said outreach team leader Kristen Tantarelli. … Continue reading »

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Neighbors angry at parking restrictions at old Andronico’s

For many years, customers who patronized the shops at Strawberry Walk at 1432 University Ave, could park in a lot right in front of the stores. But now the lot will be reserved exclusively for customers and employees of Saver's Thrift, which will open in November across the lot at 1414 University Ave. Photo: Natalie Orenstine
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A recent court ruling that gives exclusive parking lot rights to the owners of 1414 University Ave., former home of Andronico’s, has left nearby business owners fuming.

In August, an Alameda County Superior Court judge decided that Palo Alto’s Berkeley Bazaar Partnerships (BBP) is the sole owner of the parking lot that sits between 1414 University and 1432 University, even though tenants and customers of the former address, known as Strawberry Walk, have been using the lot for decades. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXVI

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OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD Outstanding in the Field, the farm-dinner series that has inspired pop-up supper clubs across the country, is landing close by. It will do two dinners at East Bay Farms this year. On Saturday, June 15, Sibella Kraus, founder of the SF Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, will be hosting a dinner at one of her projects: the Sunol AgPark, an 18-acre farm managed by Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE). Guest chef will be Guillaume Bienaime of Portola Kitchen in Portola Valley. Start time: 4 p.m., $200 per person. The second OITF dinner will be on Sunday, June 30, at Knoll Farm, Brentwood, with guest chef Leif Hedendal, founder of the Dinner Discussion series. This is one of a few vegetarian events OITF does each year. Farmer Rick Knoll is a farming pioneer who has come up with some unusual and successful agricultural techniques that have gained recognition over the years, such as compost teas, minerals for the soil, and growing edible weeds. Start time: 4 p.m., $190 per person. Visit OITF for full information about the dinners. … Continue reading »

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Countdown to new CVS in former Andronico’s on Telegraph

CVS on Telegraph. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Construction workers have been spotted on Telegraph Avenue in the former Andronico’s location north of Derby Street, which is set to feature a CVS store and pharmacy in the 26,455-square-foot space.

Bill Cantrell, superintendent of construction for Eleven Western Builders, Inc., estimated recently that work could be completed by April, “but we don’t want to raise false expectations,” he said. (Ted Friedman, who has written for Berkeleyside, shared this information with us.) (Update: After this story was published, Berkeleyside heard from a CVS spokesperson who said they plan to open the store in May.)

Cantrell told Friedman that the new CVS, at 2655 Telegraph Ave., will include a discount liquors section. … Continue reading »

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Let in snow: Kids, adults come out to play in Berkeley

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Never let it be said it doesn’t snow in Berkeley. Kids turned out in their warm fleeces and mittens on Sunday to enjoy a winter wonderland on Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto. The Snow Queen paid a visit to the transformed parking lot near Virginia Street, there were holiday crafts, and warm cider and cookies courtesy of Andronico’s Community Market. The event was organized by the North Shattuck AssociationWilliam Newton dropped by and took these photos.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Ace Hardware looks to move to Andronico’s site

Berkeley Hardware has been in its present site for 50 years. The proposed move will take it west on University. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Berkeley Ace Hardware, which has been in its present site at 2145 University Avenue for 50 years (and in business near that site since 1895), looks poised to move to the old Andronico’s building at 1414 University Avenue. The lease has not yet been signed by Berkeley Ace Hardware’s owners, Bill and Virginia Carpenter, but realtor Michael Korman said a “fundamental agreement” had been reached.

“We hope this will go,” Korman said. “It looks very promising.”

Berkeley Hardware’s move has been spurred by the planned Acheson Commons development, which will see the construction of 205 new residential units in the block that includes the hardware store. The landmarked exterior of Berkeley Ace Hardware will be preserved, but the closure during construction made relocation imperative if the store was to continue in business. The parking area currently behind the hardware store will also be lost in the redevelopment.

Berkeley Hardware is the oldest operating business in Berkeley aside from the University of California. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

2117 san pablo
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GREEN SOLES On Fourth Street, the space vacated in January by A La Folie has been snapped up by Convert Shoes. The owners say they opened the store “to give our customers more of what they clearly want — sustainably made shoes that are simply great looking.” Brands include Timberland, Doc Marten, Keds, Seychelles, New Balance, Redwing, TOMS, Palladium, and Native. They also offer collaborations with Jeffrey Campbell (vegan) and J Shoes. Convert is at 1809B Fourth Street, tel: 510-649 9759.

While we’re on Fourth, it’s worth knowing that the street is holding a Spring Sidewalk Sale on Saturday April 14, 12-5pm, where merchants will be offering 40-60% off prices. Live music, 12-4pm. More details on the Fourth Street website.

FOOD OUT DRUGS IN Despite the best lobbying efforts of Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who asked the owners of the old Andronico’s space on Telegraph Avenue to rent it to another grocery chain rather than a pharmacy, CVS is moving in, according to the Daily Cal. The Andronico’s closed in November shortly after the University Avenue store was also shuttered in the wake of the parent company declaring bankruptcy. The new CVS will be up and running by early 2013 if all goes to according to schedule. … Continue reading »

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Top food stories from Berkeley in 2011

Andre Green from the Berkeley Food & Housing Project cooks for the neediest in the community. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back to see what food stories created a buzz around town and on Berkeleyside in 2011.

Granted, there’s an arbitrary nature to such end-of-year lists. But it’s an opportunity to take stock of the city’s culinary culture.

For the purposes of this post we’ve focused on food news stories, which doesn’t take into account the dozens of interviews with foragers, farmers, artisans, advocates, chefs, cooking teachers, preservers, pasta makers, cheese purveyors, pop-up restaurateurs, and farmers’ market vendors we’ve published during 2011.

This year also saw controversial coverage of corner stores, reporting on detractors of school food, an insider’s take on speed dating with a veg-friendly focus, and a widely criticized first-person piece on disappointing camp chow.

Readers may differ on what food stories caught their attention. Feel free to add your own highlights (or low points) in the comments section.

In alphabetical order: … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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SMOKY NO MORE Ken Looney has closed his Looney’s Southern Bar -B-Que at 2190 Bancroft Ave. after five years of operation. He closed it Dec. 11 because he could not come to acceptable terms with the landlord when his lease expired, according to an employee at one of Looney’s Oakland locations.

PHARMACY SHUFFLE No official word yet but informed sources say Walgreens will be moving from its location on Shattuck and Allston Way across the street into the space once … Continue reading »

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Bates: City needs another grocery store, not pharmacy

When the Andronico's on Telegraph closes, city officials are hoping the building's owner will rent to another grocery store
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City officials are lobbying the owners of the soon-to-be-vacated Andronico’s on Telegraph to rent the building to another grocery chain rather than a pharmacy.

Mayor Tom Bates sent a letter on Dec. 1 to the Conference Claimants Endowment Board, the fund that owns the property at 2655 Telegraph, urging its administrator to find a tenant that will “serve the Berkeley community.”

The endowment board had been ready to sign a lease with CVS pharmacy, but agreed to consider an offer from a grocery chain, said Bates.

“I indicated to them it would be wonderful to have a grocery store there,” said Bates. “They indicated to me they had concerns about the viability of a grocery store in that location because of the competition from Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods. They … told me they would consider it.” … Continue reading »

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Infusion of money should spiff up remaining Andronico’s

CVS into old Andronico's space. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Starting in January, shoppers at Andronico’s Markets should start seeing upgrades in the chain’s remaining five stores, including new refrigeration cases, revamped displays, and shelves stocked with additional goods.

The revamp is part of Renovo Capital’s quest to capture a greater market share of the high-end grocery business, a sector Andronico’s competed well in until money troubles and a lack of capital forced the chain into bankruptcy.

“The specialty market segment is very competitive,” said Adam Alberti of Singer Associates, a firm hired by Andronico’s to talk to the press. “There is a whole host of upstart companies, as well as the more established ones like Whole Foods. Andronico’s has a strong brand and a significant loyal customer base and we think we can compete successfully in that environment.” … Continue reading »

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