Safeway closing downtown store

THURSDAY, AUG. 31, 2006

Safeway at Third Avenue and Maple Street is closing after 50 years.

The store, which opened in 1956, will close on Nov. 4, said Safeway District Manager Brian Kingsbury.

At about 24,000 square feet, the Third and Maple store is the smallest Safeway in the area and a poor candidate for the “lifestyle” renovations Safeway is undertaking elsewhere, he said. Those improvements include adding and expanding fresh departments, such as floral, deli and takeout food selections.

“There are just so many more departments today. The lifestyle concept is just a completely different concept than 50 years ago,” Kingsbury said.

About 38 employees who work at the store found out about the closure on Wednesday. Kingsbury said the company plans to offer them transfers to other local stores, including Safeway’s 11 locations in Spokane County and outlying stores in Coeur d’Alene, Newport and Davenport. Employees will retain their pay and seniority, he said.

“That store is blessed with some highly talented people – some who have been there forever,” Kingsbury said.

Safeway, which operates about 1,800 stores nationwide, leases the location at Third and Maple.

The company’s new stores have about 55,000- to 60,000 square feet of space, Kingsbury said. The Third and Maple store was significantly smaller and contained a huge amount of storage space, he said.

The store’s 9,000-plus square feet of storerooms catered to an era when deliveries were spread further apart. Today’s stores have significantly less storage because groceries are delivered seven days a week, he explained.

Safeway on 29th Avenue has already been remodeled and the company’s Market Street store is currently undergoing renovations, Kingsbury said. Stores at Sprague Avenue and Evergreen Road and at Shadle Shopping Center are also slated for lifestyle remodels.


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