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San Antonio Safeway now open

Original post made by Resident on Apr 19, 2013

New Safeway in San Antonio now open. Traffic is very heavy, parking lot has people in yellow jackets directing traffic. I drove by as I had no need to go in.

Anyone have any comments?

Comments (37)

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Just got back. Crowded n opening day. Big store, many choices, great selection. Plan to do most of my shopping there. Puts our dinky stores to shame.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 20, 2013 at 4:14 am

The Midtown Safeway has all the grocery items I want or need, and I can walk to it.


Posted by shopper, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

I can walk to the midtown Safeway, too, but I rarely go there. Very limited selection of fresh produce or ethnic foods. I only go there for milk and eggs. In the past, we have been driving to Sunnyvale or Cupertino for most of our grocery shopping, but we will give this new store a try.


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

How does it compare to the Menlo Park Safeway?


Posted by nocard, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

I limit my shopping at Safeway because you must use a "card" to get the sale prices. Lucky doesn't use "cards" -- you get the sale prices without having everything you buy being tracked. Just saying.


Posted by cards, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I have had a Safeway card for years and they are not mandatory but it has been useful to me and I have not had security issues. I am not getting any new cards, however, and am annoyed at the constant prompting at CVS for my card - which I don't have - so I limit my shopping at CVS to times when it is absolutely necessary. I think many of us are maxed out on cards and there have been some security/identity theft issues with some, I believe. I can't wait to get to the new Safeway as I find the Midtown Palo Alto Safeway unacceptable. Either way I have to drive.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Toady-- very similar to the menlo park Safeway, but has a bigger seating area for eating. Parking should get better after opening weekend. Midtown Safeway has no bakery, no pharmacy, very little hot food, small fresh seafood, very small salad area, no olive bar --- yes the midtown Safeway truly represents palo alto shopping -- unattractive, with very little choice or competition ( making sure that JJ&F would not have any real competition has killed the grocery stores palo alto)


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I actually like the fact that Safeway has cards and tracks my purchases and where I shop. They can see that I buy a lot at Mountain View Safeway that they don't have at Midtown. If they are going to survey my purchases great, they might as well see that we don't all buy frozen pizza, sugary cereal and packaged deli food. I like them to see the sort of stuff I buy on a regular basis.

For those who think that Midtown Safeway is suitable for all their needs, I feel sorry for the lack of variety in your diet at home, your satisfaction for limited choice, and the fact that you probably shop before 4.00 pm.

I often find that Midtown Safeway is out of full selection of staples such as milk, bread, various produce items after 4.00 pm because they don't have enough shelf space.

I look forward to trying out the new San Antonio Safeway, and will enjoy being able to sit and eat a quick lunch/coffee break, before cruising the aisles and getting some hot bread - something else very difficult to do in Midtown.


Posted by Midtown Safeway neighbor, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

@Not an issue

You must not have been to the Midtown Safeway for a long time, because it DOES have a pharmacy and an olive bar!

I can get essential at Midtown Safeway and it's conveniently close to my house, so I go there quite a bit actually. Otherwise, granted, it's a smaller store and does not have quite as much selection as other, bigger Safeway stores. Although, larger stores often have larger sections of such things as soda drinks and not necessarily that much more selection. The Midtown Safeway does have quite a few items in smaller quantities.


Posted by cards, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I think just about the only good thing about Midtown Safeway is their pharmacy.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Midtown Safeway- you are correct. I was in error. I try to avoid that store like the plague-- poor selection and impossible between 4pm and 7 pm. I used to shop at the Safeway on shoreline, now San Antonio center Safeway will be my store of choice. The new safewayhas larger selections of everything. It will do well and put pressure on piazzas, who opposed larger than 20k square foot stors in palo alto until they decided to enlarge to 24k square feet.


Posted by cards , a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2013 at 11:33 am

Really people? Afraid of loyalty cards?

Learn the card game.

Working in the world of high tech and data made me leery of sharing too much information.

When you fill out the application for store buying cards give them a phony name, data and email. you still can used the card for discounts but they cannot link it back to you. if they ask for a driver license tell the clerk you don't have it with you. They want you to spend more than they care about who you are.

So take back control. The stores still want your money ....and you get the discounts.






Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I went about noon on Friday (opening day).. which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. The place was very crowded, and quite hectic.

I noticed that there was a bit of a problem with vehicles getting into/out of the parking areas. There is street-level parking in front of the store--but not that much. There were store employees directing traffic at the first/crucial intersection. This seemed to help a bit, but it was clear that there were too many people there for the natural traffic flow that the center designers planned for.

There is parking on the top of the store. It might pay for first time visitors to go directly up the ramp and park on the top of the store. This will get you in/out without a lot of bother.

The place is so big that employees are constantly communicating with each other on the store intercom--making the experience not too different from being in a Las Vegas casino.

With Walmarts, Whole Foods and Safeway now operating at the San Antonio Complex--there will be a lot of competition for smaller stores. It's hard to believe that Sprouts will survive. Miki's never really hard a chance. Finding a market that can survive in the small Alma site will be very difficult.



Posted by Boo hoo, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] I want reasonable selection, hot fresh food, a bakery, large fresh seafood, big selection of frozen items.
But that is the free market--except in Palo Alto--where store size is dictated by having to protect 1 local store.
If you enjoy shopping at the midtonw safeway, then have at it. I will be at the San Antonio center safeway.
Feel free to join me if you want a real shopping experience


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

@cards

Actually, if you use a credit card with that loyalty card, they've identified you. The only way to not track you is use cash.


Posted by April, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm

My Palo Alto money will be going to the new Safeway. About a mile more of driving, but a better store than midtown Safeway for sure.


Posted by Johnny, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I am eager to see the new Safeway, but there is one huge issue making me want to take my grocery dollars to Palo Alto or Menlo: Mountain View's new draconian bag ordinance. I have no huge issue with banning the plastic bags, but paper too? I used those paper bags to collect my recycling items. I hate bringing reusable bags. They get gross after awhile, and I am never sure how many I need. Have you ever had raw meat juice leak out? So now am I supposed to waste water by washing my bags?

T&C Trader Joes, you may have a new regular customer!


Posted by WilliamR, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Would someone please post a link to an actual Palo Alto City Council policy statement or resolution limiting grocery stores to 20K square feet in order to protect JJ&F Market? Every thread on grocery stores in town brings this up, but it seems to be one of those 'everybody knows' urban legends.

I will donate $100 to the charity of choice of the first person who can actually document this as a City policy.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I haven't been to the new Safeway, but I'm considering it. Can some one answer this about the Mountain View bag law. Will they just put your items back in the shopping cart?

I don't need any bags, especially the reusable ones where I have to pay to carry other peoples advertising. Putting the items back in the cart is the best solution to the various haphazard totally inconsistent bag laws.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Don't know how Target and Walmart will manage without plastic bags.

I propose taking a box - cardboard or otherwise, to put my goods in at Target and tell them I am not interested in buying a bag to do their advertising.

I think Menlo and Palo Alto will be charging for paper bags soon.


Posted by not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm

William R

Here is one article that discusses the 20K square foot cap:
Web Link

here is another:
Web Link
"Two years ago, JJ&F Market, Co-op and Piazza presented petitions to the city with thousands of customer signatures asking that the 20,000-square-foot standard be upheld. "
and
" The 20,000-square-foot cap helps ensure fair competition..... Palo Alto, for instance, caps their groceries at 20,000 square feet. This assures that groceries ... are competitive at a size that is neighborhood friendly." If we grant an exception that will harm existing markets that are within the 20,000-square-foot cap (Piazza, JJ&F and Safeway), aren't we likely to end up with fewer choices rather than more?

True the above is an op-ed but the facts are clear--a 20K square foot cap was put in place to stifle competetion and protect JJ&F.

Johnny and Outside observer
MV cannot give you a paper bag, but they will sell you them for 10 cents. I think Palo ALto will have that rule soon as does most of San mateo county.
You just tell them that you will just take the cart!!!!
Or you can use your own plastic bags that you bring from home


Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm

> I will donate $100 to the charity of choice of the
> first person who can actually document this as a City policy.

There is one section of El Camino on the west side (Barron Park section) that is zoned for a 20,000 sq. ft. limit for any retail. But there is no general, city-wide, zoning restricting retail to 20,000 sq. ft.


Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm

How is the parking at the new Safeway in San Antonio?


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm

See the links I posted above, Wilson. But the real question is, if there are no written limits regarding grocery stores, then why are all the stores so small? Could be that unwritten rules have been put into place, as discussed in the links provided, to protect certain stores, some which do not exist today.


Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm

> See the links I posted above, Wilson.

The information in my posting came from Steve Emslie--who was Director of the Planning Department at the time.

This 20,000 sq. ft. limit has been a favorite rumor of people in the Midtown area for decades. Sadly, it seems to have gained "legs".

If you have any doubt, contact the Planning Department and ask for zoning code that restricts footpring size.


Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm

> But the real question is, if there are no written limits
> regarding grocery stores, then why are all the stores so small?

All of these stores were built in the 1950s--when this size seemed appropriate. There has been some resistence to Safeway increasing its footprint at the Middlefield site, but no specific resitence to other sites. It's just that we've seen more stores closing in PA than opening. Finding a site for 100K sq. ft. (plus parking) is not easy in this town, at this time.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Thanks, Wilson. Based on my readings it appears that the limit s an u written rule that has been enforced by vocal neighborhood activists who are against free market and fear real competition in the grocery stores in palo alto. The op- Ed from jay hammer that I linked makes thatclear. It was written when the alma plaza luckys/ albertsons was trying build a larger store. Note that piazzas also pushed for a 20k limit, due to fear of competition-- now they are at 24k square feet.


Posted by George, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm


Store cards: Just use a fake name. My cat has had a Safeway card for years. At CVS, they will let you use a "courtesy" card at the checkout if you ask. They finally just let me keep the card, so I have a card with NO information about me.

Paper bags: Just pay ten cents for a paper bag, then use it several times or many times, and then use it for your garbage. Cloth bags are unsanitary and get gross, and then you have to use expensive water to wash them, plus put detergent into the bay. Not green.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 22, 2013 at 4:37 am

If we're charged for bags on environmental grounds, there should be a charge for parking.


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

Amazing that Palo Alto is now getting on the stupid no-bag bandwagon and then suddenly, CPAU wants to raise your water rates.

Interesting.

BTW, hiding behind a fake named loyalty card doesn't do you any good. If you only knew how much information they do have you from your credit card use (look up that article about Target sending new baby coupons to a family before the parents knew their daughter was pregnant). Really, cash is the only way you will ever regain your privacy. Seriously.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

@Toady: Cash and a disguise -- remember the security cameras.


Posted by Palo Alto native, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Love the new Safeway! Thank you for adding self check out.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Tried the new Safeway today. Great place. Parking will be the one thing that would stop me going for just a couple of items on the way home.

In the parking lot there are too many spots reserved for electric cars, car shares, car pools, etc. and no definition of what these mean.

Best thing is going to be using the roof parking which is going to make a quick stop take longer than expected.

But, the store is good.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I have used the card at Safeway and other stores. Don't have a problem with email, or any kind of privacy issue. I use the Fresh and Easy care, sometimes get offers or deals in my email box.

I have a email account for junk and other for business. I get more junk in the business box from places I never heard of, dealt with or even asked for. Yet even day they end up there only to be deleted.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Resident-- I have been to targets in san Jose-- you have the option to buy a bag or bring your own. Does not seem to have any effect the business. In fact the stores love it because they now charge you for something they used to give you for free-- more profit for them..
Musical--- I think if the environmentalists want us to not use plastic they should pay for our cloth bags. Plus an enterprising company should bulk plastic bags in northern California.
I think the parking will be better as time goes by. This new store is great. The midtown Safeway is inadequate and I refuse to shop at piazzas given their hypocritical stand on holding the line on store size until they could enlarge.


Posted by cards, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Finally made it to the new Safeway - huge - spacious feeling and attractive, too.
I had a hike to return my cart since I was parked far from the store, so I suggest they have cart collection areas added farther out. Otherwise, I think this particular store will suffice for one-stop shopping most of the time. I brought a bunch of my misc. reusable bags and put the larger items loose back into my cart. Seems ok unless it is raining heavily sometime, when a store bag would be needed for overflow.


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