Redding Safeways Under Seige

The local media in Redding has been debating whether or not there is a crime wave over there. KCRA reported that their two Safeways have had different experiences lately.

From KCRA:  “Crime statistics by the Redding Police Department show in January 2015, the Safeway on Pine Street had 151 calls made to police from that location with 15 arrests. In February, after the store changed its hours, the number of calls dropped to police to 67, with arrests dropping to seven. Those numbers stayed consistently lower for the months to come.”

Translation: when this store started closing between midnight and 6am, their police calls dropped to less than half the former numbers. However, the other Redding Safeway, which continues its 24-hour open policy,  has seen its police calls GROW from 57 calls and three arrests in February to 109 calls and 19 arrests in May.  In other words, they doubled.  

It appears this is a whack-a mole situation- the trouble calls move around to where the OPEN stores are.  What if they BOTH closed down during the wee hours? What a concept!

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SAFEWAY IS HIRING!!

In Eureka, anyway. Good local Union jobs! Everyone starts out part-time. Do not be fooled by the phone listings in the phone book. The first is actually the pharmacy,   the second answers with a fax tone.
 No, instead go online at Safeway.com, click on “careers’ and download the application form then call the customer service number, 269-0133, when you’re ready to bring it in. Good luck!

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Safeway For Sale

You may have heard by now that the second largest grocery chain in the country (after Kroger) is in talks with a potential buyer. The announcements have been coy about the identity of the potential buyer but speculation has centered on Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm that bought 600 Albertson’s stores in 2006, and pared the lot down to 200 over the next seven years.

Safeway, headquartered in Pleasanton, is the fifth-largest employer in the East Bay and currently owns 1400 stores.  It has already divested itself of 213 stores in Western Canada and is in the process of unloading 72 Dominick’s stores in Chicagoland, apparently getting itself in shape for a sale.  Safeway is being closed-mouthed about negotiations as would be expected. The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represent Safeway employees, are posting updates on their website, as available.  Cerberus was involved in a similar takeover of the Albertson’s chain  in 2006 which , according to the Union, “did not go well”. If any stores are closed, you would expect them to be stores in low-income areas or historically unprofitable stores. Considering the long distances between the  North Coast stores (Crescent City, McKinleyville, Arcata, Eureka and Fortuna, with Eureka already converted one store to a VA Clinic) one would think the remaining stores were safe, but who knows?

Traditional grocery stores have come under intense pressure from competitors such as WalMart, Dollar General and on the other end of the spectrum, Whole Foods. Kroger’s reported a 3% growth for the first three quarters of 2013 while Safeway showed less than 2%.  Whole Foods reported 5%, which if you’ve shopped in their stores explains their nickname,  “Whole Paycheck”.

Let’s hope that things go smoothly and well for our friends and neighbors who work for Safeway. Change happens but hopefully this will be positive change.