Monday, January 11, 2016

Goodbye, Albertsons Florida - 1974-2016


Originally posted 11/24/15 - pulled shortly after until further notice received - reinstated and updated 1/11/16

     That day I've been dreading has finally come, yet finally had to begin to accept. The Albertsons name will be no more in Florida by Spring 2016. However, there is a slight twist to this from the company full of surprises. Those three remaining Albertsons stores aren't closing, or being sold to Publix, or anything like that. They're dropping the Albertsons name to become Safeway stores (I definitely did not see that coming)!

     Thanks to an anonymous contributor for e-mailing that in to AFB. This name switcheroo seems to have been a sudden decision, as Albertsons halted all work on the remodels of the last three stores because of this (which clears up a lot for me, and for our next post). According to the contributor, Albertsons has since resumed the remodels, but these current remodels will now be switching the stores to the Safeway look and feel. While Albertsons is finally going to end up like Kash n' Karry, Food Lion, Kroger, A&P, and all those many other chains that tried to establish a Florida division, at least Albertsons will continue to live on through their new sister chain Safeway, and with the Albertsons Florida Blog. I guess this recent news is going to make my upcoming post on December 6th even more special than I thought. 

     Goodbye, Albertsons Florida. You had the most successful run of any non-Florida based supermarket chain that tried to establish a Florida division, lasting 42 years and operating 170 stores over that time frame. Some Florida divisions barely lasted two years, so I have a lot of respect for you Albertsons, being able to take on Pubix for as long as you did, even though you eventually fell to them in the end, like all the others. I hope your Safeway division stores aren't too much different from the Albertsons stores. Maybe this new name will be the start of a new era of supermarkets in Florida, but all it does is add more mystery to the entire remaining presence of Albertsons/Safeway in this state. It just seems odd to me that Albertsons would bring the Safeway name to Florida. Has the Albertsons name been tarnished that much here? This will bring Safeway back to Florida for the first time since the 90's when they sold off their relatively small, short lived Save and Pack warehouse division of stores. That means this will be the first appearance of the actual Safeway name ever on a store in Florida. 

     The Safeway Florida stores are expected to be fully up and running by Spring 2016. If you want to experience Albertsons Florida one last time, your time is running out. 

     Anyway, good luck with Florida, Safeway, and I wish your stores the very best. Let's see what you can do in this state, and let's see how this works out. I've heard Publix is some pretty stiff competition, but they really need someone to really give them a scare. Will that be Safeway?   

     So as we mark the end of yet another Florida supermarket era, I will continue to keep everyone updated on this.

Until the next time,

The Albertsons (and now Safeway I suppose) Florida Blogger


  1. Wow! I didn't see that coming either. Maybe they think by changing the name the stores will get more business, or there's an existing Safeway distribution center closer to Florida than an Albertsons one (since I think I remember you saying the Albertsons product was coming out of Texas). In any case, so long, Albertsons Florida, and welcome Safeway!

    I assume that clue you mentioned to me is in this post ;) And lol at your name change!

    1. This post wasn't the clue, I just found out about this this morning! I wasn't planning on giving this big of a hint when I said that the other day. The clue I was referring to was the 1,000th photo I uploaded to flickr a little while back, which I included in this post in Black and White.

      Both Albertsons and Safeway use the same distribution centers now, no matter what the store is branded as. The distribution center Albertsons has been using in Texas was most recently used by Safeway to supply their Randall's division, although there was a SuperValu distribution center (which Albertsons used to own) somewhere in that area as well, which the Florida stores were supplied from from 2012-2014. Albertsons has been established in Florida for 41 years, and this will be Safeway's first appearance. Albertsons might be thinking this will help business, or it may be the seeds of something bigger. Things just got even stranger with these stores.

      And the Albertsons Safeway Florida Blogger or ASFB doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely as AFB does, so I think I'll keep my old name. I do have an idea for a new logo though...

    2. Ah, okay! I hadn't thought about that, but when I saw it here and on flickr I thought it was the same photo.

      I agree! Looking forward to seeing how it works and what, if anything, comes out of it.

      I don't blame you, haha! Excited to see the new logo :)

  2. As it is from an anonymous commenter, I would take the news with a grain of salt, especially with it coming so early (just a month away). Some comments I would have if this is in fact true:

    - I hope it isn't some sort of prelude to deleting the Louisiana Albertsons, although there are more of them there.
    - Albertsons FL has its loyalists but the reality is Albertsons FL is a has-been. I wouldn't be surprised if there are people who don't know that those stores actually exist. (You wouldn't believe how many unironic "What? Kmart's still in business?" quotes I've heard from people in real life over the last several years)
    - Based on the "early bird cameo" of the Oak Harbor WA Safeway, I'm afraid "Safeway look and feel" involves painting the store in earth tones (ugh) because the Lifestyle décor is so ingrained with Safeway's image, even though Lifestyle is already dated, and Albertsons should've killed it first chance they had instead of continuing it.
    - Even if the name does change, they'll likely keep the best features of Albertsons (the cookies, I imagine, will stay the same), much like Oak Harbor.
    - Would they really change it this soon since the new brands aren't even "all there" yet (I assume?)


    By the way, in regards to the DCs, the Albertsons Florida center sold to Gordon Food Service, which based on what I read, did supply the stores at least for a while. The Louisiana stores were served initially by the Dallas warehouse (sold to AWG but served the Albertsons in the division), then switched over to a SuperValu warehouse in Indianola MS (never owned by Albertsons).

  3. Another wild thought--what if the stores are being transferred to the Eastern division, up in the Washington DC area?

    1. I still get the Albertsons Florida DC situation mixed up in my mind, as it bounced to a few different places over that span of a few short years.

      I just sent you an e-mail that addresses some of your comments here. As for some of the others:

      - Yes, there are many people that think Albertsons has been long gone from Florida, and don't realize these three stores exist. However, these people actually miss Albertsons, and would have probably patronize them again had they opened more stores. Now Albertsons will just have to hope these people will realize the connection between Albertsons and Safeway.
      - I guess these stores will most likely be ending up with Lifestyle decor then. I wasn't sure what interior Safeway was using since the merger. I was hoping it would be Albertsons' current interior, but with Safeway logos. The earth tones thing is similar to what Publix is using now, and everyone down here wants to be like Publix, so I guess they'll fit in (as much as I think earth tones are being overused these days).
      - I can't imagine the product selection changing that drastically, especially since the two companies are working on becoming pretty similar in terms of selection and pricing. I hope they don't mess with the meats and seafood departments too much, as that's what Albertsons was always famous for around here.
      - You did mention that the Eastern Division stores are closer to Florida than the Houston Division by a few hundred miles, so that could be a possibility for what's going on. I don't think the Alabama Albertsons stores will be effected by this, but who knows where else they might try to do a name swap.

  4. I don't think that people would need to know the Albertsons - Safeway link to shop there. Safeway is successful in its own right and many people in South Florida that have come from others parts of the country talk about Safeway and how awesome it is. Changing the name a lone without even changing what Albertsons Florida stocks its stores with would be enough.

    That being said...I don't buy this story. This couldn't got hat un noticed by South Florida Business Journal or other publications that follow this news. I have a friend that works for Opportunities Sales and Marketing Group, Inc which works with supermarkets in Florida to help them improve marketshare and he generally knows everything about that industry here...and he has not heard of anything like this and none of his contacts at Albertsons know of this either. I wouldn't have posted this so quickly, even though whoever said this has a great idea of squeeze some much needed success out of these stores here.

  5. The three Albertson's stores' conversion to Safeway could lead to something bigger. Either Albertson's is going to expand the Safeway banner organically across Florida and the southeastern United States, and/or it may be another suitor for an acquisition target - Southeastern Grocers (Bi-Lo, Harvey's, Winn-Dixie).

    The slate of supermarkets in the southeastern United States may have fewer participants through mergers and acquisitions.

    1. I would think most winn dixies would be beneath Albertsons/safeway standards as they are old dirty and would need total remodels