Safeway Community Markets will be rebranded once again as Andronico’s Community Markets by the end of 2019, according to Safeway spokesperson Wendy Gutshall.
Andronico’s, a small chain of supermarkets founded in the Bay Area in 1929, was acquired by Safeway five years after it filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Following the acquisition, four of the five remaining Andronico’s stores were rebranded and named Safeway Community Markets in 2017. There are currently four Safeway Community Markets in the Bay Area — two in Berkeley, one in Los Altos and one in San Anselmo.
Charlie Henry, head sales clerk at the Shattuck Avenue Safeway Community Market, worked at Andronico’s for 20 years and left following its acquisition by Safeway. He said he came back to Safeway Community Markets when he heard the name was changing back to Andronico’s.
“Andronico’s was very high-end and had a lot of special products that Safeway just doesn’t have. We had very neat vendors, not your average vendors. … If you wanted nice products, you’d come here,” Henry said. “When it was Andronico’s, I bought from there almost every day. I spent a lot of money there.”
After Andronico’s was founded in 1929, the family-run business was bought by Renovo Capital in 2011.
John F. Andronico, the grocer’s former CEO, was considered a “pioneer” of industry marketing techniques such as “waterfall” produce cases and made Andronico’s a place known for its selection of specialty items, according to an obituary for Andronico published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We had produce that we bought specially from farms that no one else could get and all nice items. You’d pay a little more, but it’s better quality,” Henry said. “Safeway doesn’t do that anymore.”
According to Gutshall, customers can expect to see changes to fresh choices and product assortment as part of the rebranding.
In addition, the products available at each store will vary by location to meet the needs of customers at that particular store.
“Customers will find expanded fresh offerings prepared in-store by skilled chefs from Andronico’s recipes. The stores will carry more local choices, natural groceries, specialty items, and inspired made-from-scratch meals and treats,” Gutshall said in an email.
The transition to Andronico’s was supported by a panel discussion with Safeway Community Markets store managers to get feedback and incorporate suggestions made by customers and employers, according to Gutshall. No changes to employment are expected as part of the transition.
Andronico’s well-respected brand and customer loyalty made it an important asset for Safeway, according to Gutshall.
Contact Meera Srinivasan at [email protected].