Tag Archives: Safeway


Op-ed: An open letter to Safeway about carrying the National Enquirer

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Dear Safeway,

I have been a longtime Elmwood resident who normally shopped at Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl. I loved the quality of the food and the experience at both. I liked how I felt when I left the store: good, like I was nourishing my family and also my spirit. When the new Safeway opened up, at first I would only go there to shop dry-good items. But the obvious care in sourcing, the new organics line, the quality … Continue reading »


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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Oakland Dust rubs pay homage to local barbecue

Lloyd Ross of Oakland Dust. Photo: Alix Wall
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If you grew up in the East Bay in the 1970s, chances are you may remember Flint’s BBQ, a legendary take-out spot on Shattuck Avenue just beyond the Berkeley border that usually had a line of people waiting for their links, ribs or brisket, with several slices of Wonder Bread to mop up the sauce.

Lloyd Ross is one of those who remembers it fondly.

In his house, Flint’s was a Sunday tradition. He’d go with his dad to pick up barbecue. “By the time we made it home, half the links would be gone and my lips would be on fire,” he recalled fondly. “This is where my love affair with pork and all foods began.”

Ross, who was born and bred in Oakland, still lives here today. And he’s the creator of a new spice rub for meat, poultry and seafood proudly bearing his city’s name, Oakland Dust. “I created Oakland Dust for my love of food and for the city I proudly call home,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Philz Coffee on College Avenue opens today

Philz on College Avenue. Photo: Kate Williams
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The third East Bay location of Philz Coffee is officially open for business. The College Avenue location in the new Safeway complex threw a soft opening party Tuesday as a welcoming gesture to the neighborhood, with the full management staff, including founder Phil Jaber, in attendance.

Philz, founded in 2003, has been opening new locations at a rapid clip over the past year; it opened on Gilman Street last summer and it held a grand opening for a Redwood City location last month. And, according to TechCrunch, Philz recently closed on $15 million in funding in order to expand operations beyond California. CEO Jacob Jaber told TechCrunch that he plans to open at least 10 more locations nationwide by the end of the year.

The College Avenue Philz joins the Gourmet Ghetto and Gilman District shops in the East Bay. It is part of the new Safeway shopping complex, and will soon be joined by C.R.E.AM., the popular cookie and ice cream shop. … Continue reading »

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New Safeway on College Avenue opens to crowds

A new 45,000-square foot Safeway opened on College Ave. on Jan. 15. Photo: Celia McCarthy
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Hundreds of people jammed into the spanking new Safeway store on College Avenue on Thursday. Most were there to gawk at the shiny surfaces or taste a variety of free samples, but plenty of people were there to shop, happy to have a large grocery store back in the neighborhood.

The new store is 45,000 square feet and cost about $35 million to build, according to Chris Pattillo, chair of the Oakland Planning Commission, who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The store employs about 160 people, and 65 of those union jobs are new, she said.

“We’re excited,” Bernard Hardy, Safeway’s vice president of retail operations told the crowd that had assembled for the in-store speeches. “Tell your neighbors we’re back. We’re excited about being back in the neighborhood.” … Continue reading »

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Solano Avenue: The pressure is on for North Berkeley shopping district to up its game

The Oaks on Solano, as of September 2014. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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When French-style bakery La Farine abruptly closed up shop on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue this summer, there was an outcry from local residents. Its departure also created another empty storefront on a street that has its fair share of them, particularly in its easternmost stretch, near The Alameda.

But La Farine owner Jeff Dodge said he misses the North Berkeley commercial district and is actively looking for a way to return there. And Gina Gould, the landlord of the building Dodge vacated, at 1820 Solano, said she’s confident she will sign up a new, likely food-related, business for the space before Christmas.

The new store will join a cluster of new businesses that have opened, or are about to, on the wide shopping street that stretches 2 miles east to west through Albany and Berkeley.

Will they bring new energy to a street that is known for its gigantic annual Solano Stroll event, but which, unlike Berkeley’s Elmwood or Gourmet Ghetto neighborhoods, retains a slightly folksy feel? … Continue reading »

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Construction halted at Safeway on College and Claremont

A shot taken Dec. 5 by video cam of the Safeway lot on College and Claremont.
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Update 1/24/14: After three months of no activity, Safeway is reporting that construction resumed on the new Safeway store on Jan. 21. The company finally received a building permit from the city of Oakland after it consulted with the Rockridge Community Planning Council and other community groups, according to the Safeway website.

“As you may remember, Safeway signed a settlement agreement over a year ago with several Rockridge community groups that required Safeway to confer with them about major design refinements after the City of Oakland approved the project for construction.  Over the past five months, we have had very productive meetings with these community groups regarding design changes that were needed in order to accommodate the store’s structural and operational systems.  We have now reached a point in those discussions where we can resume activity at the site, while continuing to communicate with the community groups as construction progresses.”

Original story: For the past two months, there has been no construction at the site of the new Safeway store at College and Claremont avenues on the Oakland-Berkeley border.

The Pleasanton-based company halted work on the project after Oakland stopped processing its building permit. Oakland took that step because Safeway had violated its 2012 agreement with neighborhood groups to discuss major design changes before submitting a permit application to the city.

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Oakland Safeway gets green light for makeover

Oakland's Planning Commission has given the green light to Safeway to completely raze its current site at 51st and Broadway. Image: JRDV Architects
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By Karen Hester

[Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on LOAKAL, and has been reprinted here with the permission of its author, Karen Hester. Hester, a community advocate who has followed the Safeway project for years, shares her personal reflections of how the project approvals came about, and what it entails.]

For those of us who live in North Oakland, the redevelopment of the Safeway store and its surrounding parcels at 51st and Broadway is the biggest development to happen in the area for possibly the next 50 years, after MacArthur BART’s makeover. At its September meeting, the Oakland Planning Commission unanimously gave the green light to Safeway to completely raze the current site in two phases. Safeway has the master lease for the whole site and its main motivation has been to compete with the upscale and thriving markets in Oakland and Berkeley, including the Berkeley Bowls and the two Whole Foods, as well as Trader Joe’s. Another extreme makeover for the Safeway at College and Claremont also received Planning Commission approval last summer after a long fight with local neighbors. Demolition has already been completed on that site. … Continue reading »

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Demolition starts on Safeway on College Avenue

Demolition began Monday on the Safeway store on College and Claremont.Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Oakland Mayor Jean Quan joined Safeway officials and neighborhood activists Monday to celebrate the official groundbreaking for a new store at the intersection of College and Claremont avenues.

After a few hellos and speeches, everyone got down to the main event: watching two huge bulldozers start to tear down the 49-year-old structure.

“Right now we have a store to knock down so let’s get some sledgehammers and get going,” Todd Paradis, Safeway’s real estate manager, said to the two dozen people assembled. … Continue reading »

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Safeway on College to close on July 8 for major rebuild

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The Safeway store at the intersection of College and Claremont avenues on the Berkeley-Oakland border will close on July 8 for 12 months to undergo a major rebuild which has been more than seven years in the planning.

Neighborhood appeals against the project — which will create a bigger store with a public plaza, rooftop parking and a number of small retail outlets — caused the delay. Concerns centered on the scale of the proposed store.

Eventually the size was reduced, and the store was brought down to street level (from a proposed second-floor design); limits were agreed on the number and type of other retail outlets on site; Safeway was required to provide enough parking for the new development, and to pay for parking permits in perpetuity for nearby residents.   … Continue reading »

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What fate a memorial plaque at College Avenue Safeway?

Safeway plaque
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If you happen to park in a particular spot in the parking lot of the College Avenue Safeway, near the Claremont Avenue exit, you might stumble on what seems to be a grave marker.

Someone buried in Safeway’s lot on the Oakland-Berkeley border? Unlikely, given California’s burial restrictions — some of the strictest in the nation.

The plaque is in fact a memorial for a young woman who died in 1998 at the age of 29, and whose birthday happened to fall on the day Berkeleyside came across the plaque last week.

Cherese Henderson worked at Safeway in the late 1990s.

Linda Jordan is one of four remaining Safeway employees who worked with Henderson. She recalled the day she died. “Cherese and I were on the way to taking food to a funeral for the son of a customer who had been killed at Jack-in-the-Box,” she said. “Cherese called the next morning, saying she wasn’t feeling well.” Cherese died about an hour after that call of a blood clot in her throat, Jordan said.

The memorial marker was donated by then Safeway store manager, Rich Matasage, said Jordon. After Berkeleyside noted that memorial markers can be expensive, Jordan said: “She was worth it. She was a special person: warm, loving, caring.” … Continue reading »


New Safeway on College green-lighted, designs revealed

A bird's-eye view of plans for a new Safeway on College Avenue. Source: Lowney Architecture
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A new Safeway grocery store and retail development planned for College and Claremont avenues has gotten the nod from Oakland officials after seven long years in the making, and a hard-won community consensus on the heels of steep resistance from many residents.

The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to deny a neighborhood appeal against the project, after representatives from several community groups reached an agreement with the grocery store company earlier this week. (The appeal could not simply be withdrawn, despite the signed agreement, due to procedural rules, city staff said.)

The settlement agreement over the particulars of the College Avenue Safeway project resulted from several intensive mediation sessions, run by Oakland Councilwoman Jane Brunner, between Safeway and neighborhood reps over the past five weeks. The sessions came about in the face of a possible lawsuit from community members who opposed aspects of the development that had been approved by the Oakland Planning Commission. … Continue reading »

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Residents air concerns about College Ave. Safeway plans

Dozens of local residents attended a community meeting Dec. 13 to hear the latest about the College Avenue Safeway plans. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, 5:23 p.m.: Via Stuart Flashman, “After another five hours of negotiating today (following up on two hours over the weekend) the agreement has been finalized. The RCPC Board (which has been primed for a vote since Friday) promptly approved the agreement by electronic vote. The other two groups (FANS and BPOD) will be voting tonight, but the community negotiators are unanimously recommending approval.”

Original story, 2:15 p.m.

With what may be the final major approvals for a new Safeway store on College Avenue set to take place Tuesday night before the Oakland City Council, residents came together for an update late last week.

About 60 community members attended a session Thursday night run by several mediators who have, along with Oakland Councilwoman Jane Brunner, helped broker a deal to get Safeway to respond to neighborhood concerns and bring negotiations to a close so the project can move forward after seven years in development. … Continue reading »

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