Future of Glenwood Springs’ Safeway property uncertain

Thomas Phippen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Safeway announced last week that its Glenwood Springs location on Grand Avenue will be closing by mid-April, after some 50 years in the market.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

What’s to take the place of the Safeway store on Grand Avenue when the current occupants leave in April is in question.

The lot that Safeway has occupied since the 1990s has not been sold, but a spokesperson for Albertsons Companies said the company would be putting the property on the market.

“We have not sold the property, we are marketing it though,” said Kris Staaf, director of public affairs for Albertsons and Safeway public affairs.

Last week’s announcement of Safeway’s impending closure did renew a local movement to petition Trader Joe’s to move to Glenwood Springs.

Over the past several years, some residents of Glenwood Springs and surrounding towns have posted links to the petition on various Facebook community groups.

Trader Joe’s is a national chain of specialty markets that uses a direct-buy model with its suppliers as a way to keep customer costs down, according to the company’s website. There are seven Trader Joe’s stores in Colorado, according to the site. All of them are on the Front Range.

The petition “definitely is the first part” of Trader Joe’s calculus for opening new locations, said Kenya Friend-Daniel, national director of public relations for the chain.

“We definitely want to be in areas where we know we’re wanted, and where people want a Trader Joe’s,” Friend-Daniel said.

Trader Joe’s does not release information on how many people have submitted the petition, and there isn’t a magic number of submissions the company has to reach in order to consider opening a new store.

“Our real estate team looks at each and every request,” Friend-Daniel said. They look at how much people want the store, whether there’s a good location available and a strong local workforce, she said.

Safeway had been at the present location, 2001 Grand Ave., since the 1990s. In a statement, the company indicated that the business wasn’t working well enough.

“Ultimately, our business analysis indicated that we needed to close the store,” according to the statement. “Like all retailers, we are constantly evaluating every aspect of our business and, while closing this store was a difficult decision, we are focusing on growing our business and reinvesting those resources into remodeling our existing stores in Colorado.”

The south end of Glenwood Springs now has one dedicated grocery, the City Market store a few blocks north at Grand Avenue and 14th Street, and a partial food selection at Wal-Mart. A spokesman for King Soopers/City Market said the company has no plans to relocate the Glenwood Springs store.

Glenwood Springs can support another grocery store, and should have more options as a regional shopping hub, Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Director Jenn Ooten said.

“We would welcome another grocery for sure,” Ooton said. “It’s unfortunate we have this longstanding business that is closing.”

Glenwood Springs captures a lot of consumer spending on groceries from both regional travelers and from visitors, according to a 2018 Business Opportunities study commissioned by the city.

The report showed that “people are driving from other places” to buy groceries, Ooton said.

As a business along Highway 82 and at a traffic light, the Safeway property is a prime location, she said.

The Safeway property “was identified in the comprehensive plan as a possible area for a mixed-use neighborhood,” said Ooton, who also is the city’s community development director.

For now, the city is waiting to see who is interested in the property, and plans to discuss possibilities with any businesses that are interested in moving in. Ultimately, Albertsons will evaluate the best offers.

“There are potential retailers who we will reach out to and see if there’s any interest in the property, but it’s Safeway’s brokers who will evaluate the property,” Ooton said.


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