Wheaton Safeway is a Safeway

Wheaton Safeway has limes, so it must be okay

Wheaton Safeway has limes, so it must be okay

Now that our long local nightmare is over and the Wheaton Safeway is open, you may ask yourself, how is that new Safeway?  And you may say to yourself, my God, what have they done? Then again, maybe not.

Wheaton’s Safeway turns out to be perfectly Safeway in its Safewayness, with a few quirks.  First, I like the parking garage, spacious and well-signed and well-lit, but then again I have already heard complaints that it is too tight to navigate comfortably.  I had no trouble,* but it was mostly empty when I was parking. I don’t know if the garage will be big enough at busy times, and they need to work out some vertical kinks: the escalator, including the cart-mover, isn’t always working, and the elevators are spacious but the doors like to close before you’re fully past them, which seems dangerous but, who knows, maybe it’s part of Safeway’s master plan.

* Some fool did leave a cart right in the middle of one driving area, forcing me to take a longer route out — why do people have such trouble returning carts to appropriate places? Not an unusual occurance.  It’s things like that that make me hate people. 

The store itself is laid out unusually, with the deli (and Starbucks) immediately to the left inside the front doors, the checkout lines ahead and to the right, dairy and frozen foods immediately ahead, and the rest of the store continuing back.  Now that I’m typing it, it doesn’t seem so different than usual, but when you’re there it feels a little odd.  But the decor and the products and everything are exactly what one expects.

In these initial weeks, they’re overstaffed, offering lots of samples and being super-helpful.  We will see how long that lasts.  On one of my visits, the number of Starbucks employees (six) nearly exceeded the number of shoppers (in the whole store, not just Starbucks).  That may be the biggest danger with this store: I hope Safeway is prepared to be not super-busy for a while, until all those apartments above the Safeway are lived in and other Wheatonians internalize the fact that Safeway is open for business again.

Oh, and there are limes at the new Safeway, 4 for $1 (“Every Day!” allegedly), good price but mediocre quality, mostly small and hard.  Of course it is not currently lime season, and most other sources struggle from November through March.  Hung Phat remains the current lime go-t0 of choice.

That’s about it.  As Freud said: “Sometimes a Safeway is just a Safeway.”  Or if you prefer Gertrude Stein: “Safeway is Safeway is Safeway is Safeway.”  But would a Safeway by any other name still shop as sweet?  Okay, stopping now.  The important thing is, it’s there across from the Metro, shiny and clean and new, open 24 hours for Wheaton’s collective convenience. And now I will stop writing about it for a while.  Probably.

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4 responses to “Wheaton Safeway is a Safeway

  1. The garage can definitely be a bit tight when you’re trying to turn a corner and another car is coming your way. But so far I haven’t been there when it’s been crowded enough to make a difference. My biggest beef with the store is the lack of bottom rack on the carts. I know it’s because of the cart escalator but I find it really inconvenient when I’m buying bulky items like toilet paper or cat litter that I have to put them in the cart with my groceries. Otherwise I am loving the new store and the fact that I no longer have to even tough Georgia Avenue to get groceries. I wonder if Giant has taken a hit in the past few weeks?

  2. I made my first venture out yesterday. I like it a lot, but the parking garage makes me hate people too. It’s not that hard to navigate (only one level), but it seems like a lot of folks have never been in one before. I think they have the deli and Starbucks street side for ease for Metro users. It’s weird to pop out of the elevators in the floral dept., but a nice woman working there greeted me, and seemed ready to direct me. The lighting is much better than Kensington Safeway, always feels gloomy there! Free sample days are over as of yesterday, but they should keep the guy roaming around the store with chocolate chip cookie bits, it would add some joy to the chore of shopping!

  3. Sometimes a Safeway is just a Safeway but I’m super excited about it. It’s awesome to have a 24hr grocery store at our convenience (as far as I know, the only one in Wheaton?). Aesthetically, the Starbucks is a really convenient place up to meet up with people in Wheaton without the stuffiness of the library or the nightmare of walking/driving into Westfield Wheaton if you don’t have to. I must add that while I’m only the most casual of connoisseurs, I tried the sushi today…it was a great quick/fresh/cheap lunch. With a redevelopment plan back on the table, this building and the energy around it are hopefully a sign of things to come!

  4. *to meet up with people

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