The Inner Sunset has a reputation for being a relatively affordable slice of San Francisco, but for years, many locals found the area's only sizable grocery store, Andronico's, too expensive.
Today, local bargain hunters can rejoice: the 87-year-old chain has completed its conversion into a Safeway, and its Irving Street location reopened today with significant alterations. We stopped in to check it out.
The location is now a "Safeway Community Market," which targets a slightly more upscale "specialty niche," a representative for the chain said when it was announced. But Safeway Club prices are in effect, and will be applied whether or not you have a membership card—“for this location only,” said an employee.
The produce section has been rearranged and restocked with Safeway’s “O Organics” line of fruits and vegetables, a significant change from the locally sourced items previously sold by Andronico’s.
"They moved everything around, and it’s still expensive," said a woman who was shopping. However, this reporter observed that prices appeared to be in line with other Safeway locations.
“I’ve worked here for years, and now I can finally afford to shop here,” one employee told Hoodline.
No one has lost their jobs: Andronico’s approached Safeway about the deal because employees at both chains were part of the same union.
“Accrued vacation, health and retirement benefits will be kept,” read a statement released by Safeway last month. “Additionally, Andronico’s employees will now have a broader opportunity for transferring to sister stores and/or applying for promotion within the Safeway system.”
Not all the inventory survived the changeover. Gone are the Meyer lemons, fancy packaged deli sandwiches, and custom-made tortilla chips, along with a host of other high-end products.
The signage still says “Andronico’s Community Markets,” although it will soon change to Safeway branding. Today, staffers wore Safeway name tags and roamed around the store, assisting customers. Through this afternoon, the store is offering free reusable grocery bags with purchases.
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