Safeway closing to impact job source for Glenwood human service agency

Safeway announced 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

Safeway corporation’s decision to close its Glenwood Springs store will impact dozens of grocery store employees who, unless they choose to relocate, will no longer have a job come mid-April.

Safeway announced this week that it will close its Glenwood Springs grocery store by the middle of next month, after more than 50 years in the local market.

For one local nonprofit human service agency, the Glenwood Safeway store has been a reliable source of employment for adults with developmental disabilities.

“We have helped a few people get jobs over there for probably over 10 years, and relocating will not be an option for those folks. They are just going to be left jobless,” said John Klausz, Adult Services director for Mountain Valley Developmental Services.

“There will be some price reductions in the coming weeks. The plan is to sell through the product in the store but also keep the day-to-day offerings like the milk, bread, eggs and those kinds of things available until the end.”— Kris Staaf, director of public affairs, Albertsons and Safeway Denver division

Mountain Valley Developmental works to support individuals with developmental disabilities and helps its clients live, learn and work as independently as possible, Klausz said.

“[Safeway] has been really good about communicating, in general, and working with people that we jointly support,” he said upon hearing the news of the store’s closure.

As a result of the impending closure, 54 employees will be impacted in total, according to Kris Staaf, Albertsons and Safeway’s director of public affairs for its Denver division. Workers were reportedly notified of the closure plans on Friday.

“Really, the plan is to offer those positions at other store locations based on their interests,” Staaf said.

Safeway has numerous other locations throughout the state, including one in Vail and three in Grand Junction.

According to Staaf, the Safeway location at 2001 Grand Ave. will close its doors sometime in mid-April, “depending on how quickly everything is sold through.”

“There will be some price reductions in the coming weeks,” Staaf said. “The plan is to sell through the product in the store but also keep the day-to-day offerings like the milk, bread, eggs and those kinds of things available until the end.”

Staaf added that the company had not had to close any stores in a couple of years within its Denver division, which operates and oversees stores in five states. The bulk of those stores are in Colorado, Staaf said.

“This is pretty isolated,” Staaf said.

Company officials in recent years have dispelled rumors that the Glenwood store may be closing, but public speculation has been that its eventual closing was only a matter of time.

Safeway has been one of the longest-running grocery chains in Glenwood Springs, moving to different locations over the decades. Among them was the former commercial property next to Glenwood Springs High School on Grand Avenue, before the school was expanded, and at the Roaring Fork Marketplace.

The Safeway store landed at its current location, formerly a Smith’s grocery store, in the early 1990s.

“It’s unfortunate for Glenwood Springs to lose a longstanding business, especially one that employs a number of people,” Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association President and CEO Angie Anderson said. “Safeway has been a member of the Glenwood Springs Chamber for many years and has positively contributed to the community in various ways.”

Anderson said that, for the last two years, Safeway had donated ice cream and strawberries for the annual Strawberry Days festival in June.

“This allowed us to maintain a 100-year tradition of serving free strawberries and ice cream to thousands of festival attendees after the parade,” Anderson said. “They also provided free strawberries for the public throughout the festival weekend. Their presence in the community will certainly be missed.”

The decision to close the Safeway store leaves Glenwood Springs with one general grocery store, City Market, located in the 1500 block of Grand Avenue, as well as Natural Grocers in the Glenwood Meadows shopping center. Target and Walmart also have grocery sections.

At one point in the 1980s, Glenwood had four grocery stores, including Safeway, City Market, Smith’s and Giant Foods.

In a prepared media statement, Safeway officials said, “This was a tough decision made after careful deliberation. For more than a year, we evaluated this store extensively and looked at options to improve its performance.

“Ultimately, our business analysis indicated that we needed to close the store,” according to the statement. “Like all retailers, we were 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.”

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