Safeway and Hillsboro, Oregon

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SamSpade
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Safeway and Hillsboro, Oregon

Post by SamSpade »

(Background: Hillsboro is the third largest city in the Portland Metropolitan region and the largest in Washington County, usually just a little ahead of Beaverton at about 90,000 residents)

Safeway seems to be struggling in the Hillsboro, Ore. area. In the city they also have a few Albertsons stores there which are in good condition but not price conscious, for sure.

Yesterday I was in both and was surprised how time and time again, the "Signature" store brand was more expensive than a name brand item that was on sale. I think someone mentioned this being an issue in their region recently as well.

In addition, the one Albertsons I was in must be pretty slow as in both canned goods and housewares there were still a few 'Essential everyday' items on the shelves. The store wasn't very busy when I was there but is clean and maintained. An employee politely asked me if I needed help (stocker / backup cashier). There was no Starbucks in this particular location and it has Supervalu decor.

Safeway in Aloha (technically neither Beaverton nor Hillsboro) hasn't been updated from the early 1990s Safeway decor despite being right across from a major regional employer [Intel]. Further down the road in "central" Hillsboro is another Safeway which I went into for the first time yesterday. Here are some photos from Yelp:
Safeway Hillsboro photo page
I wouldn't really want to shop here. The decor is in OK condition but the flooring is largely cracked and when I first walked in it smelled horrible. I had to dart over to floral and sniff on a few things to get that out of my nose. Never a good sign when a food retailer smells... (and no, it wasn't the Albertsons 'fish' smell). There were also a ton of items missing from the small produce department. Despite it being the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday, no produce smiths were working. Of note, the main exterior sign is the modern Safeway S but inside and shopping center signs have the old red and white. This shopping center also has a Target with a pFresh department and other stores that sell groceries (Dollar Tree, Ross).

The Safeway that is on NW 185th Avenue where Beaverton and Hillsboro come together is a really pleasant store that is Lifestyle and seems pretty busy despite Trader Joe's operating in the same center. A Haggen on the Beaverton side closed in 2011, back when everyone though Haggen was "ok" but perhaps struggling a little. Nearby there are a Whole Foods Market, Grocery Outlet, Target (pFresh) and Walmart Neighborhood Market (in a former furniture store!) competing for grocery dollars. Fred Meyer and Albertsons are each a few miles away.

Pricing wise, Safeway was a little more expensive than its sister store and private-label items were more expensive than those at Target. Name brand items were close to the same as those at Target but Target's were "everyday pricing" prices and Safeway/Albertsons were sale prices.
Super S
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Re: Safeway and Hillsboro, Oregon

Post by Super S »

I was in that Hillsboro store a while back. I noticed the signage and the older interior. But the store was one of the busier Safeway stores I have seen in recent years. When I went in there every single checkstand was up and running.

As for that Safeway in Aloha, for some reason I seem to remember this building sitting vacant for a few years and then opening as a Safeway. I am not 100% positive about that though.

I do find it interesting though that there are still a few Safeways out there, in a variety of areas and conditions, that have largely escaped the Lifestyle treatment.
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Re: Safeway and Hillsboro, Oregon

Post by SamSpade »

SamSpade wrote: June 11th, 2017, 6:48 pm Safeway in Aloha (technically neither Beaverton nor Hillsboro) hasn't been updated from the early 1990s Safeway decor despite being right across from a major regional employer [Intel].
I had reason to stop in this store this week. It's received a colorful lifestyle remodel sometime since the summer. Honestly, with new lighting, historical photos, some layout adjustments, and new flooring, this store looks nice.

For whatever reason, the store exterior didn't receive any new signs and no Starbucks was added though. I had no idea anything changed. The nearby Rite Aid has the new logo.
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Re: Safeway and Hillsboro, Oregon

Post by storewanderer »

SamSpade wrote: April 17th, 2021, 8:08 am
SamSpade wrote: June 11th, 2017, 6:48 pm Safeway in Aloha (technically neither Beaverton nor Hillsboro) hasn't been updated from the early 1990s Safeway decor despite being right across from a major regional employer [Intel].
I had reason to stop in this store this week. It's received a colorful lifestyle remodel sometime since the summer. Honestly, with new lighting, historical photos, some layout adjustments, and new flooring, this store looks nice.

For whatever reason, the store exterior didn't receive any new signs and no Starbucks was added though. I had no idea anything changed. The nearby Rite Aid has the new logo.
I think Safeway is continuing to improve its performance in the Pacific Northwest through better ads and some price cuts. In many stores the fresh departments have also gotten a lot better but some stores still come off as very low volume. They still seem to be underperforming Fred Meyer in terms of customer counts, etc. by far despite these changes.
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Re: Safeway and Hillsboro, Oregon

Post by storewanderer »

That Aloha Safeway, I went into it. The remodel actually looks very good there. If you look closely you can see they did it pretty cheaply. The bakery self serve case, refrigeration, etc. is all straight from the 90's. I was in the store early afternoon and there were less than 10 customers inside, one checkout open, and self checkouts open (nobody was using them and no employee was watching them). There were two full carts plus one rack of "reduced" bakery items back at the back wall, perhaps the most I've ever seen at a Safeway. Fresh departments in general didn't have much out to begin with (had enough... just very minimal). This store looked fresh inside but was clearly struggling.

I went down the road on TV Highway to the next Safeway which had the 00's interior before. It too has been remodeled into the Colorful Lifestyle interior. This store was noticeably busier but still not very busy (the self checkouts were largely unused, the two cashiers were staying busy but didn't have lines). They did not replace the floor and that was a real mistake as the old floor is shot, especially around the produce refrigeration where there are ugly black spots. This store also did not seem particularly clean. Again nobody was watching self checkout in this store. They also had a ton of markdown product in this store.

Between these two stores I passed a Fred Meyer. It had hundreds of cars out front. It was very, very busy. It looks like Albertsons is speculatively remodeling poorly performing stores in hopes of turning them around. Based on what I saw above I don't think it is working. The problem is Safeway- having run down stores like these two stores for decades with extremely high prices gave Safeway a very bad reputation with the customers. Hence almost everyone is at Fred Meyer. Perhaps they should run a price cut program and try to rebrand some of these poorly performing Safeway units to the Albertsons banner and see if on some whim that improves performance (doubt it... but who knows).
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