Safeway Protest Hasn’t Changed a Thing

According to this report of the protest that was held today, organized by Councilmember Thomas, didn’t do anything to change Safeway’s mind. In fact, Councilmember Thomas was told beforehand that the decision by Safeway to leave was final.

Here is an article on the rally: Neighbors Rally, But Safeway Will Close

Now there is talk about what the Council is going to do to bring a retailer into that spot, specifically, a grocery store. The problem with trying to get another grocery store to come in is whether or not a “good” grocery store would go into that location. The shopping center is already in need of a makeover. It is downtrodden and does not look appealing. Hopefully, Councilmember Thomas will take the initiative on this and take advantage of the situation to draw in a developer who will remodel the shopping center. The shopping center is within the Great Streets Program that is suppose to come to Rhode Island Ave NE, and, this is probably a great way for Thomas to show leadership of bringing the kind of change to our Avenue as he made over a year ago. A good developer, with the proper incentives (TIF, etc), could do wonders with that location especially given its location next to a metro station.

17 thoughts on “Safeway Protest Hasn’t Changed a Thing

  1. Instead of trying to preserve a crappy, rodent infested grocery store, DC should try to lure a Walmart to that location. But they should insist that they tear down what’s there and build a two story type store that would have underground parking. I’ve seen Walmarts elsewhere that are of this design.

    I know Walmart’s been looking around at a site in DC, this would be a great opportunity. This would provide a lot more jobs to NE residents as well.

  2. About 4-5? years Kmart and Walmart tried to come in at the Home Depot/Giant Food location near the Brentwood/RIA metro. Kmart has undergone major financial problems and could not afford to open a location there. The Greater Brookland community fought against having Walmart at that location. With the number of Targets opening up in DC including Fort Lincoln, Walmart might have a chance this time. Have you started a petition to rally support? because if you don’t you will have a lot of opposition.

  3. It drives me crazy that people protest Kmart/Walmart/Target, when the alternative is *literally* rodent-infested stores that don’t provide much use to begin with. Rather than force everyone to drive to Virginia or Maryland to buy things that stores like Walmart sell, we should be welcoming them to our community. People were against Bed Bath & Beyond coming to Gallery Place, but having that store downtown has helped residents immeasurably. Even though it’s a big chain. If one of the big chains (let alone a great store like Wegmans or Trader Joe’s) comes to this location on Rhode Island, it will improve the lives of all of us nearby residents.

  4. Woodie,

    I think a Walmart would be good, but I’m not sure if the community as a whole would want it. Would the opposition be from certain vocal organizers or does the community as a whole just not want one? If no one wants it, then I don’t think anyone should force the issue.

    Maybe a poll on this site would be a good start, just to gauge interest.

  5. The protesters against the Walmart can be found on You can learn how they organized against the Walmart and what methods they used.

    Just last year “Five Guys” which Michelle Obama loves to sneak to had rat infestation, too. Why does “Five Guys” get to stay open after they’ve cleaned up their act and not Safeway?

    Before Yes! came to 12th Street the Brookland CDC tried to recruit Trader Joes, but was turned down because of the demographics. Yes! is pretty much like Trader Joes.

    I just want a good grocery store on RIA anywhere between 17th Street, NE and Eastern Avenue, NE. Can somebody put up a poll for a grocery store in this area? We desperately need it!

  6. Has anyone ever heard of Walmart’s Neighborhood Market stores? Here is how they are described on the Walmart website:

    Neighborhood Markets offer a quick and convenient shopping experience for customers who need groceries, pharmaceuticals, and general merchandise all at our famous Every Day Low Prices. First opened in 1998, there are now 152 Neighborhood Markets, each employing about 95 associates. A typical store is about 42,000 square feet. These smaller stores are meant to “woo shoppers with easier parking, less crowded aisles and quicker checkout. Neighborhood Markets feature a wide variety of products, including: Fresh produce, Deli foods, Meat and dairy products, Bakery items, Frozen foods, Canned and packaged goods, Dry goods and staples, Condiments and spices, Health and beauty aids, Pet supplies, Stationery and paper goods, Household supplies, Drive-through pharmacies, One-hour photo centers.

    This sounds like it could be a perfect fit in our community, especially since parking is at a premium. What do you think?

  7. I’ve been to a Neighborhood Market store in Louisville, KY. It had everything that a typical grocery store has, though the store was smaller. They built the store in an older, established neighborhood as an in fill development.

  8. Don’t forget to post this polling site to Eckington and Edgewood have groups, too. I’m sure Walmart would welcome any opportunity to establish residency in DC. How much organic food do these Walmart Neighborhood Marts sell? I’ve heard Walmart has been reducing its inventories during this recession/depression so it can sustain profitability. Isn’t Walmart known as the largest employer in the world?

    1. I posted it to the Brookland group on Wednesday, but I don’t see the post. Maybe this is an effort by certain “activists” to not give others a chance to voice their opinion.

      I will try the Edgewood and Eckington groups.

  9. Looks like Walmart isn’t being considered in any of the recent negotiations nor the Brookland Safeway Poll results from today:

    From Edgewood & Brookland groups:

    After speaking with Len Harris and Kimberly Clark of Vanguard Reality and forwarding the poll results to them, this is their response to the Safeway Closing.

    1. They are still having talks with Safeway and is scheduled to meet with their Reality Dept. next week in hopes that they would remodel this location.
    2. That location has 35,000sf
    3. Wegmans needs 100.000sf
    4. Trader Joe’s is 15,000sf- not enough to fill the space.
    5. Harris Teeter needs 50,000 + sf.
    6. Vanguard is in talks with Shoppers Food Warehouse and will engage Food Lion next.
    7. Ross Dress Store has inquired about the space and said that they will take the whole building.

    This will be on the agenda of the Edgewood Civic Association Meeting on Monday Feb. 22, at McKinley Tech HS . 7-9PM room 150. There will also be updates on Dash and The St.Martins Apts.

    Thank You!
    Michael Clark

    The following Brookland poll is now closed. Here are the final results:

    POLL QUESTION: What kind of business should go in the 4th and Rhode Island Avenue space currently occupied by the Safeway?

    – Improved Safeway, 20 votes, 10.58%
    – Wegman’s, 50 votes, 26.46%
    – Trader Joe’s, 61 votes, 32.28%
    – Harris Teeter, 27 votes, 14.29%
    – Whole Foods, 15 votes, 7.94%
    – Shopper’s Food Warehouse, 12 votes, 6.35%
    – Food Lion, 4 votes, 2.12%

  10. I am going to echo comments already posted on here. These people who think that Wegmans, Trader Joes, Harris Teeter or Whole Foods are going to move into Edgewood are just kidding themselves. I think the Bloom idea might possibly have some hope, but I’m not counting on it.

    Instead of fighting to keep a grocery store on that side of the street, has anyone thought of possibly pushing Giant to improve/expand the store they already have? The Giant at the metro is HORRIBLE! It is so disgusting I won’t even go to it anymore. We drive all the way to the Harris Teeter on Kalorama to go grocery shopping. I’d rather put the grocery store search effort into adding another store further up Rhode Island where there is NOTHING! I don’t even know where the Woodridge people up South Dakota must go grocery shopping. We could really use a store up here!!

  11. Most people from 17th Street to Eastern Avenue go to Maryland to shop for food, clothing, etc. because of the better quality, selection, and price. As far as I’ve seen the Giant at the Rhode Island Avenue metro is on par with the Giant Food stores in upper northwest DC and PG County.

    The survey results published in the draft of the RIA Great Streets Small Area Plan are biased. They really don’t reflect the needs of the Woodridge community. This blog should have a survey poll for a grocery store in Woodridge. The only worthwhile thing that will come to Woodridge is the Street Car which is noticeably absent from the RIA Plan.

    BTW, a Harris Teeter is planned for the NoMa area (aka NY Ave). Has anyone explored the possibility of a Trader Joe’s or another grocer in Woodridge? There is plenty of space on RIA.

  12. I live nearby in Eckington. I buy my groceries at Trader Joe’s on 24 th Street NW. I asked the manager at Trader Joe’s if they had plans to open more stores in DC. He said they are sourcing supplies out of Philadelphia and CAN’T OPEN anymore DC outlets until the new warehouse is located/built to effectively supply new stores.

    The Rhode Island strip mall is ugly and outdated. It should be torn down and rebuilt and mixed income housing with retail facing Rhode Island Avenue.

  13. I would like the 4th & RIA mall rebuilt because it’s so difficult to get into. I can bike directly there using the Metropolitan Branch Bike Trail but I can’t get directly to the Metro without going a circuitous route. It’s dangerous trying to walk from the Metro to that mall. I’m surprised nobody hasn’t been hit by a train.

    Today at the Giant they have a special promotion in honor of their new renovations. You can get a free $10 gift card and reusable bag. It’s worth going there. I found the customer service very friendly. I was even able to discuss with the Giant workers many of the complaints made on this blog and actions to improve them. The Giant workers seemed interested and responsive.

  14. Thanks for the heads up Woodie. I saw they were having something of a “grand re-opening,” but who couldn’t use free groceries and bags? My neighbors and I have spoken to the new manager and several of the new staff members about problems we see at the store. The improvements have been so swift and dramatic, it’s kind of astounding. The selection and quality seems better already, the checkout lines seem shorter (I think they’re opening more registers), and the staff is so much friendlier and more helpful. There are still many issues to work out (like, why can’t people park in a *^&%* parking spot in this neighborhood? While I probably find it MOST annoying when people park along the curb/in the middle of the lane in the plaza, they do it in the middle of residential streets, too), but I think Giant gets it. They’re going to be competing with Harris Teeter for a different class of shopper, and they’re going to lose if they don’t step up their game.

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