Safeway's original SoCal division

Uh...California.

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pseudo3d
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Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by pseudo3d » 01 Sep 2015 19:43

I know all about Safeway's more eastern divisions pre-1990s, which they had to divest before later trying to grow through acquiring regional chains (to disastrous ends, ultimately culminating in the purchase of the entire company) and one of those divisions was the Southern California division. These stores were sold to Vons for some cash and a stake in Vons, which Safeway would buy the rest of a few years later. Vons had a few of the Marina stores for certain, but where exactly did Safeway have its facilities like its distribution center and headquarters? In Houston, the entire division was spun off with the management led AppleTree buyout, and those facilities were sold to H-E-B a few years later when the debt-laden company couldn't hack it.

To date, Vons has two distribution centers of its own (full integration with the rest of the Albertsons Southern California division and their two distribution centers hasn't happened yet, although they did vacate their converted department store HQ in Arcadia to consolidate with the existing Fullerton Albertsons offices), a massive distribution facility in Santa Fe Springs (Norwalk area), and a smaller one in El Monte. El Monte seems to be where the Safeway division might have been, as I can even see an office building nearby that could've served as the original HQ. Was this it, or a now-defunct facility elsewhere?

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steps
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by steps » 01 Sep 2015 23:37

I've wondered this for awhile myself. There really really isn't much history of Safeway in Southern California before the VONS takeover back then (a few photos/details here and there) but not nearly as extensive as Safeway history up north or in other states Safeway division were in. Would be interesting to get some details about Safeway in Southern California.
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pseudo3d
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by pseudo3d » 02 Sep 2015 07:45

I'm sure there's some newspaper articles that could help, but I don't have access to them. It's kind of cool that Safeway was just in that many areas for half of the country, with so many divisions like in Omaha, Kansas City, or Little Rock. Only after the merger does Safeway/Albertsons have most of those areas back (Omaha/Sioux Falls off the list), but not nearly in the numbers they had before.

klkla
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by klkla » 07 Sep 2015 15:47

pseudo3d wrote:I know all about Safeway's more eastern divisions pre-1990s, which they had to divest before later trying to grow through acquiring regional chains (to disastrous ends, ultimately culminating in the purchase of the entire company) and one of those divisions was the Southern California division. These stores were sold to Vons for some cash and a stake in Vons, which Safeway would buy the rest of a few years later. Vons had a few of the Marina stores for certain, but where exactly did Safeway have its facilities like its distribution center and headquarters? In Houston, the entire division was spun off with the management led AppleTree buyout, and those facilities were sold to H-E-B a few years later when the debt-laden company couldn't hack it.

To date, Vons has two distribution centers of its own (full integration with the rest of the Albertsons Southern California division and their two distribution centers hasn't happened yet, although they did vacate their converted department store HQ in Arcadia to consolidate with the existing Fullerton Albertsons offices), a massive distribution facility in Santa Fe Springs (Norwalk area), and a smaller one in El Monte. El Monte seems to be where the Safeway division might have been, as I can even see an office building nearby that could've served as the original HQ. Was this it, or a now-defunct facility elsewhere.
At the time of the Vons acquisition in 1988 Safeway's distribution center was in Santa Fe Springs (now currently a Vons distribution center). They also had a Cragmont Soda facility in Santa Fe Springs, and dairy & bakery plants in Commerce on Boxford which I believe is still operated by Vons, as well. The offices were in Downey if i remember correctly.

The San Diego stores had their own distribution center in National City. That was closed in 1987.

El Monte was where the Vons distribution center was at the time of the acquisition. The corporate offices had been in El Monte as well before moving to Arcadia a few years earlier.

pseudo3d
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by pseudo3d » 08 Sep 2015 08:37

Wow! Cool, thanks! The Safeway SoCal division appeared to have been the last and the largest divisions they divested, and that's probably why they accepted nearly a third of Vons in the process (and makes me wonder what stores, if any, Vons/Safeway divested). The soda plant appears to be in business still (and apparently, so is the bottled water facility in downtown LA, since the name popped up during the California drought crisis).

I'm sure that like the closure of National City, at least one of the Albertsons/Vons distribution centers WILL be closed and sold in the near future.

klkla
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by klkla » 08 Sep 2015 12:52

pseudo3d wrote:(and makes me wonder what stores, if any, Vons/Safeway divested).
Yes. They had to divest nine Safeways and three Vons.

TheQuestioner
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by TheQuestioner » 14 Nov 2015 20:54

I remember visiting a SoCal Safeway on a visit in the mid-80s, seemed more or less like what I was used to back in Washington D.C. I was surprised to hear of their troubles back then because they were a powerhouse on the rise in D.C. during that era. In the 70s, Safeway was a major presence, but so were other chains like Grand Union, Acme, and A&P. Giant was dominant and the others all seemed to fight over who was #2, #3, #4, etc. Safeways stores were ALL small, somewhat rundown-looking Marinas from the 60s or pre-Marinas that were even older than that. I recall there being a big push to build bigger, "modern" stores in the early 80s, around when they changed from the Circle-S logo to the blocked-in S. These became pretty common by the mid-80s in D.C. and that's when they pulled ahead of everyone but Giant. I guess that approach didn't work out in a lot of other markets. Still seems funny how bifurcated California's grocery region is, with certain chains locking up North or South, and others struggling and withdrawing completely sometimes from the "other" half of the state.

rich
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by rich » 23 Nov 2015 00:43

Safeway was the dominant chain in the DC area until the 1970s. They had more stores than anyone, esp. in DC and NoVA. Giant was more dominant in the Maryland suburbs and had rather few stores in DC as long ago as the 60s. Grand Union was a distant third and A&P was a relatively minor factor. Acme always had a small footprint even though they had entered the market in the 20s.

Safeway built larger stores than A&P, but was slow to build really large stores. The typical Marina from the early 60s was 22-26K sf. Giant had many large stores that had begun with their Super Giant format and Grand Union had an odd collection of stores that included stores with up to 45K sf in the 60s. Safeway opened a few in store pharmacies in the 60s and experimented with an upscale "international" format but was slow to move into "Super Stores" (30k sf or larger with multiple service departments) and that was true everywhere. They also kept some very small stores into the 70s and a few of those still operate as supermarkets, like the Metro on Columbia Road in Adams-Morgan. Safeway had relied on their presence in fast growing areas to increase sales and that put them at a disadvantage with chains like Giant that aggressively developed new formats and larger stores.

JohnKeys
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by JohnKeys » 02 Sep 2018 10:43

Regarding the SoCal SAFEWAY division headquarters, they were located in Downey at 12200 Bellflower Blvd, just due North from Imperial Hwy. The building is still there, intact, now occupied by a Kaiser Permanente health care facility. Driving into the lot and around the building, it still maintains its original 60's style architecture, with a few modern updates and refreshments for the current tenant. Its not a very large building (I suppose large at the time) its hard to imagine that an entire division was run from there. I have photos of the building (Kaiser occupied) if interested. It certainly brought back many memories for me.
And of course when VONS purchased the SoCal division in the late 80's, they vacated the Bellflower building. I believe the (original) Vons hdqtrs were in or near the Meat Service center (now closed) in El Monte on Shirley Avenue. Both combined Vons and Safeway operations eventually moved to a refurbished May Company at 618 Michillinda Ave in Arcadia for their new SoCal headquarters.

klkla
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by klkla » 02 Sep 2018 21:30

JohnKeys wrote:
02 Sep 2018 10:43
Regarding the SoCal SAFEWAY division headquarters, they were located in Downey at 12200 Bellflower Blvd, just due North from Imperial Hwy. The building is still there, intact, now occupied by a Kaiser Permanente health care facility. Driving into the lot and around the building, it still maintains its original 60's style architecture, with a few modern updates and refreshments for the current tenant. Its not a very large building (I suppose large at the time) its hard to imagine that an entire division was run from there. I have photos of the building (Kaiser occupied) if interested. It certainly brought back many memories for me.
And of course when VONS purchased the SoCal division in the late 80's, they vacated the Bellflower building. I believe the (original) Vons hdqtrs were in or near the Meat Service center (now closed) in El Monte on Shirley Avenue. Both combined Vons and Safeway operations eventually moved to a refurbished May Company at 618 Michillinda Ave in Arcadia for their new SoCal headquarters.
Everything in your post sounds correct. They did occupy some other buildings in and around Downey and Norwalk, so not everything was in the Bellflower Blvd. location. I remember human resources and 'checker school' being in a different building, for instance. Also, some stores had district offices and hiring/training facilities in them, as well.

Jason B.
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Re: Safeway's original SoCal division

Post by Jason B. » 24 Apr 2019 07:04

A 1981 Safeway Southern California division television commercial (aired Feb. 16, 1981 on KNBC-TV channel 4 Los Angeles/Burbank) appears in this YouTube video beginning at 1:59:45:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZBTXDShaK8

The old "circle-S" logo still was in use. This was a time of high price inflation, so the commercial emphasizes "LOW PRICES" and "INFLATION FIGHTERS." An onscreen disclaimer that appears with the sale prices says, "Prices effective in So. California and Las Vegas area except San Diego Imperial Counties and Catalina through Feb. 18." A sung jingle says, "We've given low prices a new name: Safeway."

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