The old Safeway is becoming a Sav-A-Lot

By Stephanie Liotta Atkinson

Here’s a bit of gossip for Insider discussion…the old Safeway site at 4th & RIA NE will be tenanted with a Sav-A-Lot.

Save-A-Lot bills itself as “one of the nation’s leading extreme value, carefully selected assortment grocery chains, operating nearly 1,200 value-oriented stores in all types of neighborhoods — urban, rural and suburban,” delivering “savings, up to 40% compared to conventional grocery stores.”

More details are available from Washington City Paper’s Lydia DePillis

22 thoughts on “The old Safeway is becoming a Sav-A-Lot

  1. Sav-a-Lot is a bit like Aldi’s. They seem to carry a few more name brands than Aldi’s does. It’s a bring-your-own-bag place. I think it’s owned by the same company (in Minnesota?) that owns Shopper’s.

    1. Development Fail. I don’t doubt that there are probably many in the neighborhood who could use a Sav-a-Lot but….

      Can’t they at least just blow up the rest of the site then? Pretty please?

  2. I have been holding my breath for a Whole Foods, Harris Teeter or even a Target, not a Sav-A-Lot. That sounds as bad as the place with the God awful yellow banners that already over there.

    1. My understanding (from 2011 blogs) is that Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s were all approached about the old Safeway space but all declined – the first two because space not large enough and the last because the space was too large.

      While some may consider Save-A-Lot a bad choice there seemed to be no other takers. I personally would ‘ve loved to see an ice skating rink or a seafood restaurant/market but I guess Save-A-Lot beats having an empty space.

  3. Having seen the Safeway in McLean, I have seen what Safeway can do with a small footprint store. It seems at odds to have a Sav-A-Lot there and a Five Guys across the street. What I see is one side of the street is for the new residents and one for the existing. Fascinating to see what will happen.

  4. Sav-a-lot coming to that location has been rumored for nearly a year.

    Now, let’s focus on Trader Joe’s at RIARow!

  5. I guess Sav-A-Lot is better than a vacant store, but this news about doesn’t really stir the imagination.

    FYI all: This weekend an EYA realtor hosting an open house at Edgewood’s new EYA Chancellor’s Row townhouse development said that the McMillan Sand Filtration Site (which is slated for pretty dense mixed-use development over the next few years) will be anchored by a HARRIS TEETER.

    I feel a little more excited about a Harris Teeter, but may end up walking to Sav-A-Lot sometimes out of convenience.

    Steps in the right direction!

  6. I have never been to a Sav-A-Lot, so while my knee jerk reaction is disappointment, there can be decent discounted food markets (e.g., Market Basket in New England) that can offer discounted food by cutting out the overhead spent on delis, bakeries, pharmacies, etc. I’ll withhold judgment for now, because I am more concerned with the street-front property along RIA NE!

  7. I’m delighted that Sav-a-lot is coming to the old Safeway spot. I’ve shopped at one of their stores in Florida, and also at the Sargent Road location in Hyattsville. They’re great for the basics, meats aren’t bad, too, although their produce can be hit or miss. I love Harris Teeter, too, and would have preferred one nearby, but in these tough economic times, the Sav-a-Lot will save us all some money. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  8. Great. Another Ward 5 development deal that assumes our ward’s primary customer is an elderly pensioner. How about some better retail options for the growing number of young families? I need an organic butcher, not off-brand canned peas.

    1. Nothing screams re-development away from poverty like a shopping center with a Forman Mills and Save-A-Lot! I’ll probably still walk to Giant than the Save-A-Lot despite living literally right next to the Save-A-Lot on Bryant St out of spite alone. I will not be supporting that establishment.

      1. I could be wrong, but I feel there are already a LOT of options for the lower income families living in the neighborhood. There are not, however, ANY upscale options or community hangouts.

    2. Thing is, there are A LOT of lower income families and elderly pensioners people living in the neighborhood. While I would love more upscale options, let’s not forget that many of of neighbors can only afford canned peas, so shouldn’t they have options? Companies do market research and obviously, this is what the market is bearing for this location right now.

  9. I have to agree with Mark on this one. Why dont they start thinking about the new younger families moving into the neighborhood?? I dont see that enriching or helping our neighborhood at all. Ugh! Come on guys….how can we convince trader joes, whole foods, etc that we are worth taking a look at??

    1. FoRIA is having a meeting on Monday the 23rd where one of the topics of discussion is attracting businesses to the Avenue – who do we want, how do we do it (I’ll be moderating that part myself). The Harris Teeters and Trader Joes of the world are making a calculation that we are not a good bet right now. Obviously a number of Ward 5 folks who follow this blog feel differently. So there’s a disconnect between supply and demand here that we can possibly remedy if we effectively lobby businesses. If you want to participate in that conversation, I’d suggest coming to Monday’s meeting:
      FoRIA All-Hands Meeting
      DATE: Monday, January 23, 2012
      TIME: 7:30pm-9pm
      LOCATION: Art Enables, 2204 Rhode Island Avenue NE

  10. On one hand, it’s good to see vacant stores being occupied and economic activity taking place in Ward 5. On the other hand are very valid concerns around the economic vitality of the corridor and market saturation. Yes, a low-cost grocery chain could benefit many in the Ward. But it seems very unlikely that it would provide an anchor for future investment in the corridor the way a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods would. Regarding market saturation, the government’s “Small Area Plan” for Rhode Island Avenue made it clear that there is an over-saturation of certain kinds of establishments, i.e. auto parts stores, liquor stores, etc. in the area. Having a diversity of businesses would benefit old, new, rich, middle-class and poor residents alike. If the strip mall with the Sav-a-Lot can’t provide that diversity and create new momentum for the area, hopefully other subparts such as Rhode Island Row or the downtown Woodridge area between 18th Street and 24th Street can.

  11. It is unrealistic to expect any high-end retailer to move into RIA Shopping Center. It is a run-down center with no amenities. It has tennants that scream low purchasing power. It has Rhode Island Row just down the street, obviously nearer the Metro. Why on earth would Trader Joe’s – or any retailer of quality – sink their money into RIA? The sooner the city razes the whole development the better.

    1. JRawlings,

      They said the same thing about Home Depot. “Why on earth would any retailer sink their money into RIA?” At one time the RIA Home Depot was the highest grossing Home Depot on the east coast. There is only one other Trader Joe’s in DC which is in NW. A Trader Joes at RIARow (or even the new SavALot) location is a guaranteed success. For me shopping at Trader Joes in Bethesda is not an upscale experience. That part of Wisconsin Avenue needs a lot of work. I’m really enjoying reading the various comments expressed by others. And, I am glad to read people in Edgewood on this blog, who live right next door to the new SavALot, letting us know how they feel. We need more viewpoints because this area is is diverse and growing in diversity.

      1. Woodie,
        Home Depot is an entirely different case – it was a brand new development whereas the Rhode Island Avenue Center is comparatively run down and is better suited for short-term, lower end stores.

        The best we can hope for is a complete revamp of that site, with mixed-use buildings in its place instead of empty parking lots and vacant storefronts, but that’s years ahead.

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