Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

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Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Brian Lutz »

It's been noted that for the most part, older and smaller Safeway stores have been slow to receive the Lifestyle design package, particularly the Marinas, which seem to end up with a hodgepodge of older styles. If you're wondering what a Marina with the Lifestyle format would look like, the store on Sunset Boulevard in Renton (which originally opened in 1964) has just completed a remodel to the Lifestyle design. Granted, this is a somewhat larger Marina store than usual(HistoricAerials shows that it got expanded sometime during the Seventies) and the Marina storefront got buried under a new facade sometime during the Nineties, but inside it's still obvious it's an old Marina store. I managed to grab a few pictures while I was in the neighborhood.

Live Maps Link showing the store before the most recent remodel. Note that the Pizza Hut in the parking lot is a smaller delivery/takeout only location, and isn't to the normal scale you'd expect for a Pizza Hut. The KFC also looks to be fairly untouched, even bearing some original "Kentucky Fried Chicken" signs from the late Seventies/ early Eighties.

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The store as it was in 1964 when it opened. The 1980 image shows the expansion of the store, and the 1998 image shows the replaced storefront.

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The 90s storefront, which appears to have gotten a new coat of paint.

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I suspect there was probably a Circle-S sign here at some point, and the Tully's sign is covering up its labelscar. Until the remodel put a Tully's inside the store, there was an espresso cart out here covering this wall.

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The back of the store. All the floors have been retiled, and a lot of the fixtures seem new. I believe the beams had already been repainted before the remodel though. They did turn down the brightness of the lighting and add a bunch of new fixtures, as seems to be customary for Lifestyle remodeled stores. I actually think the lighting here looks better than in some of the newer remodeled stores I've been in, but it's still not as nice as the newly built one in downtown Bellevue. Poor lighting seems to be a problem in some of the remodeled Safeways around here.

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The produce department. The curved wall over in the flower department is a carryover from the previous design. There's a similar one on the other side for the Deli / Signature Cafe area.

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The front of the store. Unfortunately, the "It is our pleasure to serve you" sign that was here is now gone, but at least they put in the "Serving Renton since 1964" sign.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Alpha8472 »

These are really great photos.

I have seen photos of other false-fronted Marinas turned into Lifestyle stores. It is interesting that they seem to have even painted the ceiling a light brown color. This does seem to dim the store. However, I have noticed that more recent Lifestyle stores don't seem to have quite as dark lighting as previous versions.

I walked through the unremodeled 90s decor Safeway on Tice Valley in Walnut Creek today. That store is a sort of a gable marina combo. The ceiling was very tall, but it was painted stark white including the beams. The floor seemed like it was in perfectly acceptable condition, but it was white. I wonder why they always like to replace the floors with brown tiles. I heard that the store will be remodeled, but it will take some time for the city approve the permits. I'd like to see how they remodel the stark white store.

I find it interesting that Safeway has kept this Marina store. Safeway has been rabid in their effort to try to demolish and replace 3 Marina stores in Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany. People from the neighborhoods have stated that they don't want gigantic ugly new stores. Most of the local people want to remodel and slightly expand the current stores.

It seems like everything a Lifestyle Safeway needs can fit into a Marina store.

This is the first time that I have seen Safeway open a Tully's Coffee kiosk in a newly remodeled store. Albertsons has replaced some of their Washington Starbucks with Tully's. A newly remodeled Lifestyle Safeway down the street from me added a Starbucks a couple of months ago. Safeway appears to still be adding Starbucks kiosks in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Perhaps Tully's is giving Safeway a more profitable deal. Starbucks probably asks for too much of a percentage of coffee sales. However, Starbucks is a better known name and some people won't drink anything that doesn't have a Starbucks logo on it.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Brian Lutz »

As I said in the last post, this particular store was expanded at some point during the Seventies, and presumably the extra room added (which looks to have been a few thousand square feet or so) was enough to warrant the lifestyle treatment. I suspect you'd have a hard time doing much with the produce and bakery departments on an unexpanded Marina store. It seems like in most cases Safeway is more likely to replace older stores with new ones than to try to update them though, although the larger stores around here tend to be kept up to date fairly well (probably because the stores are in relatively close proximitiy to Safeway's regional offices and a number of manufacturing operations.)

As for coffee stands, I'd say most of the Safeways around here still have Starbucks in them. A number of the larger ones also have bank/ credit union branches, and those seem to vary as well (the one in downtown Redmond has a BECU, but the ones in Kirkland and Overlake have USBank.)
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by maynesg »

Hi,Great photos!
I can answer why supermarkets in general do notuse white floors
any more and replace them with solid colors. It isto hide the dirt, Scuf marks from shoes carts etc. Floors are buffed every day but white is hard to maintain.
As far as Starbucks being replaced at Albertsons. Its happened
in many Acmes (Milburne Coffee) . I been told that Starbucks is a verry demanding partner andwill not guarantee that they will not locate a store in your strip mall or parking lot. Customers don!t realy seem to mind the change
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by marshd1000 »

There is also a newly remodeled Safeway in North Bend, WA that has a Tully's. I am guessing that with Starbucks cutting back, that could be the reason that Tully's might be getting some sites. In the case of North Bend, there is a Safeway gas station across the street from the main store and that building has a Starbucks in it. Also there is a Starbucks in the main strip mall where the Safeway is. I also have seen the conversion of a Starbucks to a Seattle's Best Coffee at the Fred Meyer in Shoreline, WA. Of course, SBC is a Starbucks brand. I am guessing that in some cases, Starbucks may not want to cannabalize their existing stores. In other cases, the market may support a kiosk and a regular store in the same strip mall.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Alpha8472 »

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many Starbucks located in the same shopping centers as Safeways with Starbucks kiosks. It is ridiculous. I believe that too many Starbucks are just overkill. I think that some people would drive out of their way for Seattle's Best Coffee or Tully's. In the Bay Area, Tully's is very rare and SBC is only found in Borders Books.

Longs Drugs had two Seattle's Best Coffee kiosks in two of their stores nearby, but CVS closed them down just a few weeks ago. Even though Seattle's Best Coffee is owned by Starbucks, SBC uses different coffee bean blends and many people like the flavor better. SBC uses loose leaf teas and SBC serves Javanilla Ice Cream and milkshakes. Starbucks doesn't have ice cream or milkshakes, but they do have frappuccinos, which are just blended ice and coffee. SBC does have Javakulas which are like frappuccinos, but the Oreo Cookie ones at SBC are the best.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Brian Lutz »

It's not unusual to see Starbucks all over the place around here. The local (Bear Creek) Safeway here in Redmond has a Starbucks in it, and there's a Starbucks in the shopping center. In addition to that, there's another Starbucks in a small center on the other side of the street from there, and there's one in the Target a couple of blocks away, AND in the Fred Meyer across the street from that. And I don't even drink coffee.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Alpha8472 »

One reason that Safeway and other supermarkets added Starbucks to their stores is that Starbucks offers expensive and popular non-coffee drinks. The frappuccino drinks have non-coffee versions. These are very profitable and can cost well over 6 dollars.

Teenagers often see Starbucks as a cool place and get frappuccinos. Often parents buy their kids frappuccinos just to keep them occupied in the stores. Non-coffee drinks cost less to make and bring in lots of money.

I don't drink coffee, but I have tried many of the non-coffee drinks at Starbucks. I can see how they are addicting to those who love sweet sugary drinks. I don't drink them anymore, because I have heard from baristas about how much trouble they are to make. Starbucks keeps them on the menu, because they are so profitable. Many people say Starbucks has lost its focus on coffee and gone crazy over the unhealthy drinks.

The Lucky near me has created their own Pacific Coast Cafe kiosk. They make the non-coffee drinks and they priced them less than Starbucks. The kiosk is very popular.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by Alpha8472 »

I went to a Marina Safeway yesterday in Martinez, CA. It had the Lifestyle format. There was a false front, but the Marina ceiling was visible inside. The store was larger than an old style Marina. I assume that the store had been expanded years ago. What I found interesting was that the spot lights had to be suspended from long wires attached to the tall ceiling.

What would happen in an earthquake? It think all of the lights would come crashing down.

The store was indeed very dark and dim. It had a sort of a gloomy look.

I noticed that the store had fluorescent lights that were covered with plastic light covers. A Safeway store down the street that just received a Lifestyle remodel has exposed fluorescent tubes. Perhaps Safeway is going with a cheaper lighting solution on their latest remodels.
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Re: Renton Marina Safeway gets a Lifestyle Remodel

Post by storewanderer »

Safeway has a lot of different "levels" of lifestyle remodels. Some are much better done than others. That would explain the lighting differences you see. Another big difference in some is a re-tiled bakery area where not as much of the production area is visible to the customer, compared to the standard Safeway bakery set up since the 70s where the large production area is frequently visible to the customer.

Some don't get a new floor in center store either, just around the perimeter.

Some get new cases in deli, bakery, dairy, for example and others don't...

It really varies...

Most of the lifestyles being done at the present time are a cheaper version referred to internally as "lifestyle light." The location I usually go to has yet to get a lifestyle remodel and is still with its original 1996 interior.
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