Safeway to buy local supermarket Andronico’s

Joshua Jordan/Staff

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Safeway is set to buy Andronico’s Community Markets, a local supermarket chain founded in Berkeley more than 85 years ago.

Currently, Andronico’s has five locations with two stores in Berkeley and one each in San Anselmo, San Francisco and Los Altos. Safeway entered into an agreement to purchase all five Andronico’s stores and plans to rename some of them.

“I’m not happy to hear this,” said Richmond resident Mary Hiltz, who commutes to Berkeley to buy her groceries at Andronico’s.

According to Safeway spokesperson Teena Massingill, the newly bought stores will provide the community with low prices and expand the local and organic options available for customers.

“Andronico’s approached Safeway earlier this year about purchasing their stores … with the goal of preserving union jobs and keeping the stores operating in the same friendly, local way their customers have come to enjoy,” Massingill said in an emailed statement.

Each location will be closed for a short period of time in December, according to Massingill, but all current Andronico’s employees will keep their jobs and continue working for the same pay and benefits.

Bonnie Hampton, a former UC Berkeley music teacher and frequent shopper at Andronico’s, echoed Hiltz’s sentiment, saying she is not pleased with the agreement.

“I just won’t shop here anymore, even though it’s very convenient for me,” Hampton said, noting that she thinks Safeway’s products are not as good as Andronico’s. “I’ll probably try to find a more specialized kind of place.”

The two supermarket chains are collaborating to ensure a smooth transition for Andronico’s employees and customers. Safeway is committed to keeping the “local heritage alive,” according to Massingill.

“I’m imagining it will change the dynamic of the store,” Hiltz said. “I do shop at Safeway for certain things and so … if it’s just another Safeway, I guess I won’t have much choice.”

Contact Semira Sherief at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @semshreif1.