Safeway, the Start-Up
In 1915, M.B. Skaggs, an ambitious young man in the small Idaho town of American Falls, purchased a tiny grocery store from his father. M.B.'s business strategy, to give his customers value and to expand by keeping a narrow profit margin, proved spectaculary successful. By 1926 he was opening 428 Skaggs stores in 10 states. M.B. almost doubled the size of his business that year when he merged his company with 322 Safeway (formerly Selig) stores. Two years later M.B. listed Safeway on the New York Stock Exchange. M.B. did not let the difficulties of the Great Depression dilute his pioneering focus on value for customers. In the 1930s Safeway introduced produce pricing by the pound, opening dating on perishables to assure freshness, nutritional labeling, even some of the first parking lots.
Today M.B. Skagg's value vision still drives Safeway, though on a dramatically larger scale. There are 1,775 Safeway stores across the US and Canada. These include 312 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada, 112 Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, 37 Genuardi's store in the Philadelphia area, as well as 17 Carrs stores in Alaska.
Not Just a Store, a Brand
A key ingredient in Safeway's success has been the introduction of one of the most extensive private label programs in North America. Their customers can choose from some 3,000 products including Safeway, Lucerne and Mrs. Wright's. An additional 1,250 premium products are marketed under the award-winning Safeway SELECT label.