The “Social” Safeway will again open for business, but in a striking, brand-new building, just in time for Mother’s Day, on Thursday, May 6, at 1855 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. This will mark Safeway’s third new full-service grocery store opening in the nation’s capital in 20 months, and the company’s most state-of-the-art store, that will also be its greenest to date.
It is the company’s 16th store in Washington, DC, and will operate 24-hours a day. Festivities celebrating the store’s opening will begin on Wednesday, May 5 with an exclusive, invitation-only gala to be held at the store that evening. The grand opening ceremony with ribbon cutting will take place the following morning on May 6.
Corporate History in City
The new 71,067 square-foot Safeway - constructed only 376 days after closing on April 26, 2009 - will continue to promote the character and historic nature of its upper Georgetown neighborhood, maintaining the open, inviting atmosphere that resulted in people dubbing it the “Social” Safeway. This store has been nicknamed the "Social" Safeway by its customers, largely given its tradition as a hub and natural meeting place for friends and neighbors, right alongside the power brokers and members of Washington’s elite, who have been known to regularly frequent the store. Safeway welcomes the opportunity to provide a newly enhanced store for the community to gather and shop.
In order to bring this new lifestyle concept to the neighborhood, the existing Safeway was razed with the new store being constructed at the front of the former parking lot, creating a more urban pedestrian-friendly storefront. Safeway’s sales floor will be located entirely on the main level of the new retail center, which will also feature several street-front shops. There will be an entrance on Wisconsin Ave. to Safeway’s lobby where shoppers will easily access the store via escalator, stairs or elevator. The store will shelter abundant parking directly underneath with additional open air parking spaces located on a deck at the store’s rear customer entrance.
Safeway has strong roots in the Georgetown community, beginning nearly 80 years ago when the company acquired the Sanitary Grocery Company and operated for many years in Georgetown as Sanitary Grocery before changing the banner to Safeway.
This will be the fourth Safeway store at this location on Wisconsin Ave. Since its early beginnings in Georgetown, each new facility was designed to set the standard in grocery retailing. This store will be the urban supermarket for the 21st century, and will have the distinction of being both the greenest and largest grocery store in the District while still respecting local architecture and scale.
Store Highlights and Amenities
The Georgetown Safeway will utilize its popular lifestyle format. This floor plan emphasizes the store’s perishable offerings with an ambience previously associated with department stores, creating an environment not often found in the retail grocery business. The use of wood such as mahogany and other natural materials is prevalent throughout the service departments, along with kiosks that replace the traditional counter areas found in previous generations of Safeway stores. Recessed energy efficient incandescent and halogen lighting is now used to establish a warm atmosphere and direct attention to the merchandise within each department. Construction of the store incorporated USGBC (U.S. Green Building) green building practices, as will its building operations.
Inside, the store will truly illustrate and underscore Safeway’s dynamic Lifestyle concept with its wider array of offerings that will appeal to a myriad of shoppers. Highlights include an expanded wine and beer section that will feature a wine cellar complete with a wine steward on staff; a, specialty cheese department with a cheese expert and certain varieties flown in fresh daily from Europe; sit-down sushi bar with sushi chefs preparing the menu on-site; brick-oven pizza featuring the exclusive Genuardi’s brand; fresh, Italian-style gelato bar; an upgraded Starbucks coffee bar, along with an indoor/outdoor seating area featuring a fireplace, HD televisions, complimentary WiFi, and open balcony overlooking Wisconsin Avenue.
Customers will also be able to enjoy some of the standard convenience amenities found in many Safeway stores such as a SunTrust Bank and Bergmann’s Dry Cleaners, along with the more traditional offerings of a pharmacy, the widest variety of essential grocery and general merchandise items, full-service deli, service meat counter able to accommodate special orders, a large floral shop with ready-made bouquets as well as customized orders, and expanded fresh seafood department.
The open-flame hearth oven, where European-style Artisan breads will be baked fresh daily, will serve as the focal point for the full-service, from scratch bakery. Shoppers will encounter a bakery more reminiscent of a patisserie, and can select from an assortment of fresh breads (featuring several exclusive varieties with guaranteed hot French bread available during dinner hours) and baked goods in addition to a wide assortment of gourmet desserts and personalized birthday and wedding cakes.
Another unique element will be found in the Produce Department with a nut bar offering a wide selection of warm, ready-to-eat nuts that can be flavored or ground on site to create spreads and butter. In addition, hundreds of varieties of fresh produce, including the broadest assortment of organics, will be available in the large produce area.
Within the key service areas, the deli (identified by "At Your Table" signage) offers a wide variety of hot and cold prepared foods including the company's line of fresh Signature Stock Pot soups, made-to-order sandwiches and salads. Other features within the department will include a separate self-serve olive bar, salad bar and home meal replacement bar where shoppers can select from a variety of hot entrees and side dishes to create ready-to-serve meals in a matter of minutes.
The new store will feature an expanded floral department with an array of household and decorative accessories in addition to an expansive assortment of fresh-cut flowers, topiaries and potted plants. The floral staff, which will include designers, will also be able to assist shoppers with custom orders for weddings, proms and other special occasions.
In the meat department, a specially designed service case will be found, allowing customers to personally select from a choice of freshly cut or fresh, pre-packaged meats and to receive cooking tips or recipe ideas from the in-store chef. Shoppers will have the option to have all fresh meat and seafood seasoned or marinated for them at no additional cost. Many varieties of fresh fish and seafood will be on display and ready for purchase in the seafood case.
The Georgetown store was designed and built to be the first LEED-certified grocery store in the District of Columbia, and Safeway’s second LEED-certified store (the other being located in Santa Cruz, Calif.).
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 50 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America based on sales. The company operates 1,725 stores in the United States and Canada and had annual sales of $40.8 billion in 2009. The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. Safeway supports a broad range of charitable and community programs and, in 2009, donated more than $250 million to important causes, such as cancer research, education and hunger relief.
Safeway’s Eastern Division employs approximately 18,000 people and operates 172 stores, including 37 Genuardi's Markets in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with 73 Safeway stores in Maryland, 42 in Virginia, 15 in the District of Columbia and five in Delaware.