A new super duper gourmet type of Safeway opened in the SF Bay Area. Some of Safeway's markets are trying to attract the upscale crowd who might give some of their business to Whole Foods.
One market even has a gourmet cheese counter, not the usual junky supermarket type, but the whole wheels that can be found in nice cheese shops ... and there are even cheese tastings.
Reading this article below, others are going after the Wal Mart business by adding non grocery merchandise like televisions, etc. I don't know if I ever want to see the day when I tell someone that the charming sweater I'm wearing was purchased at Albertson's.
One poster on the SF board wrote:
"Exclusive Safeway shoppers are *mostly* people who are too frugal or apathetic to shop "gourmet" and/or lack the time and mobility to shop "discount". "
I don't agree with that statement. I think that people still mostly shop at the standard supermarkets like Safeway for the bulk of thier goods.
Despite my own extensive use of specialty stores and farmers markets, when I go grocery shopping it is at a traditional market. The only reason I don't shop Safeway currently is that their prices are not as good as the other traditional markets in my area like Albertson's and Raley's. There is nothing in terms of quality that distinguishes Safeway from those markets to make it my choice.
Personally I hate megastores. Like one person in the article said, I want to get in and out as soon as possible. I'd be happy if markets had little mini marts up front so milk or other staples could be bought on the quick.
When I want lawn furniture, I'm not going to Safeway. If I do buy that type of product from a market it is an impulse buy because it is there.
I wish markets would concentrate on what they do best ... groceries. Up the quality of the produce, have butchers that are accessable, knowledgable and care. Have a decent deli section, not that gloppy potato salad, dry fried chicken and greasy rotissary.
Thinking about it the only REAL reason I go to Whole Foods is for the deli food.
Let each grocery store have a real say in what their market sells. If in an upscale area that favors gourmet cheese, put that cheese counter in. If in a Hispanic neighborhood, cater to that market with produce that reflects the taste of the customers.
Anyway, here's an article about some of the recent market trends.