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Sonoma Safeway to undergo major remodel

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Safeway is due for a major renovation starting next month but the store will not need to close during the process, according to Safeway Inc.’s director of public affairs, Wendy Gutshall.

Most notable among the planned changes will be the appearance of local street names in each aisle. The change is part of the company’s “Lifestyle” package of renovations, already in place in hundreds of other locations. According to Gutshall, the Sonoma names have been selected by the store’s local manager, Josh Gruenhagen.

“We anticipate the interior renovations to begin in early August and to be completed in the fall,” Gutshall said. The store will remain open during the remodel.

“The inside of the store will have a new look and feel with warm modern décor,” said Gutshall. She added that it will carry more fresh offerings with expanded meat, deli and produce departments, including fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.

The Sonoma Safeway opened at 477 W. Napa St. in 1974. It currently has more than 100 employees. The store includes a deli counter, a meat department, a produce section, a flower department, a bakery, a liquor section, a pharmacy and an urgent care facility run by Action Urgent Care.

The U.S. is in the throes of a consumer movement toward eating and buying local – and many national and international corporations are paying attention. Sonoma locals, on the one hand, may appreciate prominent Sonoma street aisle markers as a tip of the cap to the community, others may regard them as an example of what’s been dubbed “localwashing,” in which large companies adopt localized marketing strategies in order to appear more local.

Safeway aisles will still be numbered, but more than a dozen local street names – like “Broadway” or “Verano” – will appear under the aisle numbers.

Safeway was founded in 1915 in Idaho by Marion Barton Skaggs. It has been a subsidiary of Albertsons since early 2015, and it is currently headquartered in Pleasanton. The Safeway chain has more than 1,300 locations across the West and Midwest.

As of this month, more than 1,000 of its stores had undergone a similar makeover, according to industry publication Supermarket News.

Contact Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

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