By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
The Gateway Plaza Safeway store will be closing its doors for good this month.
After months of rumors, on Friday, June 19, 2015, Safeway corporate executives told store employees that the closure was necessary because the store’s profitability was too low.
On Thursday, June 25th, the Gateway Plaza Safeway began a liquidation sale with everything selling for a 10% discount.
A Safeway customer service representative didn’t know exactly when the store would close, but said that the store will close as soon as the current inventory is gone, “We won’t be open in August.”
Adjoining businesses are affected as well. Both the Tully’s Coffee and the U.S. Bank adjoining the Safeway will also close. A U.S. Bank employee said that the last day they will be open is July 24th.
Grocery shoppers are always looking for bargains. According to a 2012 Food Marketing Institute study, “There are many indicators that shoppers are now more focused on value than at any time in the recent past.”
“For example, when considering what matters most to them in a primary store besides a convenient location, the top two reasons consumers gave were lower prices in general (61%) and lower prices on specific items (53%).”
With the August opening of the Alderwood Costco, there will be two Costco stores, and a Super Wal-Mart within five miles of the Gateway Plaza Safeway.
The Gateway Plaza Safeway has a tough competitor right across the street. The Fred Meyer on 132nd Street SE is well known for low prices and bargain hunters like to shop there.
January’s merger of Safeway with Albertson’s may have indirectly played a role in this particular store closure as well. The new organization is making some very difficult business decisions by closing some stores and expanding others.
Including the Gateway Plaza Safeway, there are a total of seven Albertson’s and Safeway stores within three miles.
Supermarket News reported in May of this year that Safeway would close nine Denver area stores, “because they had not been profitable for some time.”
Albertson’s/Safeway is also expanding in some markets. On July 1st Supermarket News reported Albertson’s is building eight new stores, including at least three Safeways, and remodeling 115 existing stores this year.
With Gateway Plaza losing its anchor tenant, it will be even more difficult for the City of Mill Creek to attract an anchor tenant for the East Gateway Urban Village , which is just down the road.
Hopefully, Mill Creek’s upcoming economic feasibility study will help provide some answers for not only the East Gateway Urban Village, but for Mill Creek’s other retail centers as well.