Renovated Safeway Opens With Party, Cheerleaders         

There is nothing like going to your regular grocery store that you’ve shopped at for decades and finding balloons, cameras, VIP speakers, performing members of the Washington Commanders cheerleading team, cake, generous appetizers of crab cake, roast salmon, cheese and charcuterie spreads plus tables of fruit, wine and ice cream — culminating with a heavy swag bag full of food and other products.

That was what customers to the now refurbished Georgetown Safeway at 1855 Wisconsin Ave. NW found Friday morning, Sept. 15, when the store officially celebrated its reconstructed interior at a reported cost of $8 million.

“This is a celebration to thank our staff and customers especially,” said Safeway Vice President of Operations Brad Spooner during the remarks.

The store had been operating while under construction for months with everyone customers and staff scrambling to find where the milk and laundry soap and eggs had been shelved this week as every shelf had to be emptied and moved and while every inch of floor had been refurbished.

Craig Gross, Georgetown Safeway Store Director, personally thanked more than a dozen employees individually who had been serving the store for well over 20 years, many of whom were well known to customers as well.

A giant check for $302,339.87 was given to Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) Director Melanie Minzes, CAFB Director and Emily Lauer-Bader, CAFB Director of Corporate Partnerships. The funds were generated from two Safeway Foundation campaigns – KICK HUNGERR and Fill A Glass With Hope.

Checks for $1,000 each were given to the principals of nearby Duke Ellington High School of the Arts Sandi Logan, Hardy Middle School Principal Maurine Westover and Manager of Strategy and Logistics Siddeeqah Malik and Hyde-Addison Elementary School Principal Calvin Hooks.

“I remember when this store used to be located at the back of the property with a large parking lot in front,” said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kishan Putta.  “All the Safeways in D.C. had identifiable nicknames then and this one was best known as ‘the social Safeway,’ ” he said.

By 2010, the entire store was demolished and rebuilt in its present location along the sidewalk with parking in the back and above. This new Safeway made its debut with a store-wide gala — well-dressed customers greeted each other amid ample food and drink.

The crowd cheered when Jack Evans, the former Ward 2 Council member, was given a shoutout and asked to speak. “He made the first purchase in this store after it opened in May 2010,” said Gross. 

Expanded product highlights in the refurbished store include organic and tropical fruits in the produce department, as well as orange juice freshly squeezed in store; an oyster bar in the seafood department, custom-made tacos, pizza, and a fresh made sandwich bar in the deli; expanded sushi offerings.

“A new catering department can handle everything from party platters to full event catering as well as fully prepared ready meals with cooking instruction,” a store official added. “A new wine cellar has also been added with high end offerings and additional craft beers”.

“It’s an exciting and important upgrade in the community,” said Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Keith Anderson.

Store officials were reluctant to discuss, however, any details of new security technology and protocols imbedded in the refurbished store. But they assured The Georgetowner that important upgrades had been made. Safeway was identified at the last ANC meeting as the store most impacted by almost daily “flash” robberies — often by masked young people — in Georgetown. Staff members told the Georgetowner that they were urged not to intervene to prevent anyone from being hurt, but that the occurrences sometimes two and three a day have made them “concerned.”

“In the end it’s not a Safeway problem nor up to retailers to end. It’s the responsibility of the city’s elected officials, especially the city council, to support initiatives that will discourage young people from breaking the law,” a Safeway spokesperson said off the record.

Former Council member Jack Evans, who was the first customer at the rebuilt Safeway in 2010, tells amusing stories to the crowd, including shopping with Pierre L’Enfant. Courtesy Safeway.



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