Residents: S.W. Safeway Improves Service

Empty shelves and long lines have agitated Waterfront customers at the local Safeway store. But after months of complaints the store is making improvements and managers have refocused their attention to provide better customer service.

The Waterfront Safeway has been a recurring problem for residents. The Ward 6D Advisory Neighborhood Commission met in September to discuss the condition of the store, a subject that has been on the ANCs agenda since June.

“This store is not very well maintained overall,” Mary Williams said. “Inside, loads of discarded items cover the floor and shelves. Even the express lines are long. But there have been significant improvements.”

Williams complained to management about the conditions and said managers have been very responsive to complaints.

“Not only did I talk to store managers…but other top regional managers of the entire chain,” Williams said.

Mark Morrison, newly hired store manager said although he’s only been working for one week customers have given him “honest opinions” about the Safeway’s service.

“Some have admitted that they have seen improvements,” he said. “Our goal is to focus on customer service, clean and well-stocked stores.”

While the store still could use more cashiers and keep better stock, all hope isn’t lost. Some customers have a love-hate relationship with this Southwest grocery store. Williams said she feels a “certain loyalty” to the store because its loyalty to the community.

“I continue to patronize the store because I know the situation will change for the better if we work with the company,” Williams said. “This is one of the only stores to remain in this neighborhood when it was not the best place to be. The store should be given credit for providing service over the lean years – they should be allowed to take part in the prosperous years.”

In its backyard, a new Safeway is being built as part of the Southwest Waterfront Redevelopment Plan, so there are no plans to renovate the store.

Until the new store is finished in 2010, Morrison said his priority is to “get back to the focus” of customer service.

“I’m looking forward to the new store,” Morrison said. “But until then we have to focus on making this one a better place to shop.”