NEW: Tacoma 1924-2020

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Great Pumpkin
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NEW: Tacoma 1924-2020

Post by Groceteria » 06 Jul 2020 19:40

Sorry. This took forever because i was working on so many other things simultaneously.

I may add some more notes later.

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Andrew T.
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Re: NEW: Tacoma 1924-2020

Post by Andrew T. » 09 Jul 2020 09:18

There's one thing I can always count on western cities to provide: Safeway artifacts galore!

Two 1940s-era Safeways in Tacoma are still selling groceries as independent markets: One at 3908 6th Ave (which had its architectural details obscured), and one at 208 S 45th St/4502 Pacific Ave (which is in fantastic condition).

There's another well-preserved 1940s store with ornate details at 111 North G St. And another at 721 Morton St! And another on 5441 S Sheridan Ave! And another at 5206 S Tacoma Way! I'd have a field day there with a camera if I had a chance to visit.

215 S 84th St is a 1950s shoebox/barrel-roofed building. Not the most intact example of its kind, but at least it's there.

There is a Safeway marina store at 701-707 S 56th St that's still in operation. False-fronted and remodelled to oblivion, alas, but it still exists. If Google is any indication, the arched roof is still visible from inside the store.

A second, non-operational Safeway marina stands on 3507 E McKinley Ave. This one has been converted to a church(!), but the original facade curvature and windows are still intact.

I checked Historic Aerials, and 1302 S 38th St (a Safeway site since 1955) was rebuilt at some point between 1990 and 2002.

There are also intact 1970s store buildings at 8400 Steilacoom Blvd SW in Lakewood, and 14926 Pacific Ave S in Parkland.

Interesting to see A&P's short-lived Pacific division also make an appearance here. One of these stores (at 9201 Pacific Avenue) is still fairly intact as a U-Haul place. A vintage sign for the shopping centre has also been repurposed.

It's also interesting that the local outfit that purchased A&P's Tacoma stores, Manley's, disappeared in the 1980s without a trace. I wonder what the story was?
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: NEW: Tacoma 1924-2020

Post by explorersea » 07 Sep 2020 19:58

Andrew, since its supposed to hit 119 here today and we are in a pandemic I have some indoor time, you may find some of these insights helpful from 1980-2000 time frame

Safeway 365 (3507 McKinley Ave) is a Marina that closed shortly after Safeway 1437 (1302 S 38th) opened, the building is now a church and in very good condition

Safeway 456 (6704 19th St. West) is a post Marina store that opened in 1975 and closed shortly after Safeway 1246 (6201 6th Ave )opened, anticipating customers of 456 would make 1246 their new store, the old store is a gym today

Safeway 1246(6201 6th Ave) did indeed replace a 1960s era Marina store, the new store experimented with a one hour photo shop at the front of the store when it opened, the trial was apparently not fruitful as it was removed

The Safeway at 701 South 56th St is an interesting story, it closed when Safeway 1437 (1302 S 38th) opened, the Marina store sat vacant for some time and no one leased it so Safeway renovated it and reopened, the venture must have proved profitable as Safeway added a fuel station at a later time

The 1970s stores, 8400 Steilacoom and 14926 Pacific Ave S were both replaced by larger stores not to far away

Safeway 1437 (1302 S. 38th) did indeed replace a 1950's era store

Interestingly Safeway opened 3 new stores the same day in 1994, 1436 (1624-72nd St E), 1437 (1302 S 38th) and 1448 in Sequim WA

The 1980s were a challenging period for retailers, the economy was soft, interest rates high, and a host of new big box grocery discounters (Big Bear, Top Foods, Food 4 Less, Stock Market) were giving legacy grocers grief. Safeway opened many smaller footprint stores with few amenities including manual cash registers at this time. Fred Meyer was mediocre at selling Groceries but that would change. Tradewell stores were auctioned off, Lucky never caught on in the Pacific Northwest and exited, and A&P was long gone. The 1990's were a breath of fresh air, the economy was improving, interest rates were sliding and Safeway began to build large stores with all the amenities. By the end of the 1990s the new Goliath was Walmart, they really changed the Grocery store dynamic, the game was now acquiring stores to gain leverage, some of these acquisitions were very smart, some were disastrous, Vons, Carrs, Dominicks to name a few for Safeway. Eventually nearly all of the lack luster big box discount grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest would close one by one.

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