T-90 to 120 Days Until Petworth’s New Safeway – The Swift Safeway

3830 Georgia Avenue, NW

Now that the Trader Joe’s countdown has finished it’s on to The Swift Safeway – coming to Georgia and Randolph St, NW in Petworth. According to spokesman, Craig Muckle, we’ve got 90-120 more days to go. Though they’ll hopefully be able to narrow down the date next month. As for the apartments above they’ll start to be “ready by early summer, with an additional floor available every two-three weeks, so completely done end of summer.” And one more piece of info about the safeway – they’ve applied for a beer/wine license with hours of operation for the store listed as Sunday through Saturday 5 am – 12 am.


65 Comment

  • I’m so used to not having supermarkets near to me that I’ll have to re-train myself to shop nearby… I am not a fan of higher prices and taxes and bag taxes, but it will still work out less than driving to Virginia, hopefully.

    • You drive all the way to Virginia?! Jeez, the Giant is bad, but it’s not THAT bad.

      • I usually work in VA, so the driving is a sunken cost. Also, the free parking was a factor as well. Also, customer service and produce have both historically been better in the burbs than in DC.

        • There’s free parking at both the Giant in Columbia Heights and the Piney Branch Safeway

        • If it’s a sunk cost then it shouldn’t figure into your calculations. If you will be in both locations regardless, you should only be comparing the costs of shopping in each place, excluding the cost of getting to one or the other.

    • Grocery taxes in Virginia = 2.5%
      Grocery taxes in DC = 0%

      I can’t speak to prices but if they’re equal at the major chains, it would take a lot of bags to make up the difference in tax rates.

      • Sometimes protesting a negative trend of taxation costs money… 🙁

        • keep fighting the good fight brah …

        • Lotta tax on gasoline. Maybe give up the car?

        • brookland_rez

          I think the bag tax is a good thing. There’s a lot fewer bags blowing around in the streets and ending up in the river and the revenue goes to cleaning up the river. It’s not that hard. Bring reusable bags. I shop at Aldi a lot so I actually like getting their paper bags. I reuse them and put them under my motorcycles when I clean the chain. Then I put them in the recycling bin.

      • +1. There’s also the option of bringing reusable bags, which is the entire point.

      • All these objections to Jack’s comment are true, but his main point about DC grocery stores generally sucking big time is still valid.

        • +1. I know a lot of you don’t get out much, but in general, lots of suburban grocery stores are still nicer than the ones in DC. The occasional trip way out to Wegman’s is also worth it for the incredible selection of things you’ll never find at a Safeway or Giant in DC.

          • I went to Wegman’s for the first time recently. Ho-ly Crap! I finally understand what all the fuss is about. I spent $300 and will be well fed (and hammered) for the foreseeable future.

          • I’ve heard good things about Wegman’s, and it consistently ranks at or near the top in grocery store surveys. Can you briefly explain what their appeal is, what type of stuff they’d have that Safeway or Giant wouldn’t? I’m just curious to hear about it. Thanks.

          • Anonymous @ 2:48 pm: The place is simply enormous. They have a much wider selection of all sorts of regular groceries. They have amazing deli, cheese and bakery sections, and their prepared foods are really good. They have a great cafeteria-style hot bar, along with made-to-order subs. And the beer/wine sections are vast, staffed by knowledgeable people. And in August, they roast fresh Hatch Chile peppers outside the store, which is totally irresistible.

          • Enormous selection of very high-quality produce for dirt-cheap prices (“six peppers for three dollars?!!?”).

            Enormous beer and wine selection at very competitive prices ($10 6-pack of Red Seal is a good example – a beer that’s surprisingly hard to find and usually costs $12 even when you can find it)

            And, as mentioned, plenty of specialty and quasi-specialty items. All at low, low prices!

    • I think you live near Petworth, corect? Harris Teeter on Kalorama, Giant Foods in CH and Shaw — really, dude…

  • I hope this Safeway doesn’t kill the Yes down the street. Yes has done a very good job in the past year (likely because of the Safeway) of bringing in more niche and high-end items. The Growler station is one thing, but they have a ton o D’Artagnan meats now, and I saw quail and duck eggs stocked a few days ago. Also, the beer selection is good, and likely another area where they an differentiate themselves from bigger stores.

    I’m a fan of the Yes and feel loyal to it, though I know I’ll start spending some money at the Safeway when it opens as well. Yes has had really great and personable staff over the years who left for one reason or another (the guac lady, Frankie the manager) and the people there now are generally great as well (the I-think-Ethiopian girls and there’s an asian guy who knows beer).

    Anyway, it will be interesting to have that Safeway open.

    • binpetworth

      I think the Yes will be able to hold its own. While I look forward to using the Safeway for my necessities, I will continue to shop at Yes for things like wine, chorizo, cheese and olives–stuff that are perfect when I’m hosting guests or bringing something to someone’s place. I think a lot of people will continue to use the Yes for this type of pop-in and get a few items quickly service.

    • What I really like about Yes is that you can get in and out quickly and it came to our neighborhood early before there was a lot else here.

    • I find almost nothing in your post to be true. Yes’s produce is unbelievably expensive and no more impressive in quality or selection than even Safeway (not to mention Whole Foods). They also frequently claim produce is organic, or produced in the US, when the sticker on the produce says otherwise.

      Also, “narrow offering of overpriced organic goods” does not a “niche and high-end items” selection make. I’d say they have no more niche items than a normal supermarket, with the exception of some of their cured meats.

      While their beer section does have a few more offerings than normal grocery stores, their beer prices have gone up significantly in even the past 12 months. And their growler station is absurdly overpriced.

      I complain about these prices as someone who shops a lot at Whole Foods and is willing to spend money on quality. I will never go back to Yes market once the Safeway re-opens.

  • Swift Safeway? Nope, naming of Safeways comes from the public, not the company

    • +1. Sorry Safeway. (Hope that’s not your moniker but the public will decide.)

      • +1 on the public deciding the Safeway’s name.
        I’m hoping this one will merit a positive nickname.

    • Having a rule about who names a Safeway is as dumb as naming a Safeway in the first place.

      • LOL! But it’s still fun. Love the Safeway names because I think it’s kinda unique to DC. Just one of those dumb funny things.

        • Agree, and I wonder how the naming of the Safeways got started. The first one I remember hearing about was the social Safeway on Wisconsin.

    • Swift came from the residential developer. It is the name of the residential building….It does work for the Safeway, though — and we can force Safeway to live up to the name. Swift Safeway works for me!

  • Can’t believe that we are in the final countdown. Hopefully, they strive for the high bar set by the O St Giant in terms of what a generic grocery store can be. I think the suggested nickname, Stroller Safeway, is the one that will stick.

  • So thrilled to hear this news. Every time I go by the building, I try to gauge how much progress there has been, but it’s hard to determine. So sick of having to go to the New York Ave one (near the office) and using the 63 bus (which has been ridiculously unreliable this winter) to get home.

  • after hearing about that safeway being closed for health code violations recently there is zero chance I’d ever shop in one.

    • gotryit

      +1 Those were some pretty serious violations – poor management. Can we get a countdown until that other company (Kroegers?) buys them and swaps out management? T-?

    • saf

      Let me tell you more stories – having lived behind this Safeway for 24 years now, I can testify that Safeway is a horrible neighbor. I can also tell you that Muckle lies a lot, especially at neighborhood meetings. And finally, go take a look at their new flagship properties that opened more than a year ago, like SW or 5th and K. Amazing how quickly they go downhill.

      • Been shopping at the one in SW for 3 years, and maybe it’s just me, but it’s been consistently good, their hot food bar is pretty nice, prices are reasonable, the Just 4 U app helps A LOT. IDK…I haven’t noticed a dip in quality.

        • saf

          OK, you’re a data point.
          I have friends down there who have been less than pleased with it, but they may buy different things than you do.

          • The only complaint I do have, which I think they answered it, is the self-checkout can be ridiculous. You have people with 15+ items using self-checkout and taking days to check out.

            They’ve added four more self-checkout kiosks and are at the front of the store, which helps out a lot.

        • you should read about the food safety violations at the safeway in NE a few months ago. that kind of thing simply doesn’t happen at a competently run supermarket company. if it was happening behind the scenes at one store, it almost certainly is at others.

  • will they keep the pharmacy on GA and Taylor? If so, we can call it Safeway’s Taylor Swift!

  • This Safeway had better be cleaner and more well managed than the others in the city. I am just as happy going to Harris Teets or Yes Organic. I’ll give it a shot as I’m only a couple blocks away, but Safeway better step up its game.

    I am more looking forward to the Starbucks. Qualia is too small. Decent coffee, but its yay too cramped.

    I’m hearing rumors more restaurants are on their way in once the Safeway opens.

  • i cannot explain how excited i am about this store’s impending opening, as i live within a block of it. i can once again run to the grocery store mid-dinner preparation and grab something within minutes. i still haven’t been to the supposedly glorious g’town safeway, nor the new one at the O street market – but if it’s anything like the one in SW, i’ll be thrilled. i’m mostly psyched for having a deli counter and bakery (which the old one didn’t).

    as for Yes!, i’ve become a fairly loyal customer and will probably continue to get certain things there (notably, organic meat and specialty items). i’ll be curious to see what kind of organic selection safeway has. the old one had ZERO in their meat department (which was a pretty scary meat dept to begin with). in response to everyone saying how expensive Yes!’s produce is – it’s the same situation as it is at whole foods…you have to know your prices. sometimes they’re completely equal to Giant, HT, etc…and other times, they’re exorbitant.

    on the subject of Starbucks vs. Qualia – i suspect/hope there’s room for both in the market. i’m not really a coffee aficionado, though i like the caffeine punch it brings. as a result, i’d much rather drink a triple mocha than a micro-roasted cup of drip coffee – and rarely go to qualia since they don’t offer my preference. i think the coffee connoisseurs will continue being loyal, and hopefully they won’t suffer too much from fair-weather coffee drinkers jumping ship.

    i’m also looking forward to the staff returning, as they were a pretty decent, friendly bunch (beat the PANTS off of the staff at Giant). the best grocery store employee i’ve ever encountered (30ish slim black guy, skinny mustache, his name is escaping me) told me that he was going to the georgetown store during renovation, but coming back after they reopened. with any luck, he’s moved up the management chain – he understands customer service.

    my biggest hope about the Swift’s (apartments) opening is that it will finally bring enough critical mass of new consumers to bring businesses into the empty spots park place.

    my biggest expectation is that neighborhood parking will go to ZERO as people moving into the new building decide it’s not worth it to pay for a spot and just try their luck on the street. as it is, people drive from other parts of ward 4 to park and jump on metro. we’re going to need to figure something out with our ANC to allow for some type of parking enforcement that favors people who live locally.

    • Re: “with any luck, he’s moved up the management chain – he understands customer service”

      In my experience, if you know customer service, management does all they can to KEEP you in that customer service role.

    • saf

      “we’re going to need to figure something out with our ANC to allow for some type of parking enforcement that favors people who live locally.”
      The problem with this is that the people in that building DO (well, will) “live locally.”
      Enforcement of the existing zone parking regulations would go a long way to making things better.

      • @saf – yeah, i’m accepting that the influx of people from that building parking in our hood is inevitable. but if i could keep the people with ward 4 stickers driving in from up GA/14th/16th and parking on my street, that would be great.

        • saf

          I think I live around the corner from you.
          It is infuriating. And I am REALLY not looking forward to all those cars going through my alley to get into the apartment garage. (Yeah Safeway, we didn’t believe you when you said, “Oh that will be condos” when you started to build. And look! It’s not!)

        • DDOT completed a good parking study with sound recommendations about 4 years ago. The recommendations, however, have yet to be implemented. Another piece of the puzzle is that although our parking signs restrict parking to residents of 4C (which still represents 20,000 residents), even this restriction cannot be enforced unless the Department of Public Works adjusts their process to produce 4C window stickers. Much easier said than done. saf knows how to reach me if you want to get a copy of the materials.

          • Interesting. Also some of us in 4C don’t even have zoned parking on our block so we have NRP stickers. I can’t legally park for more than 2 hours basically anywhere in the city except in front of my house.

    • I don’t know if you remember the old safeway, but NOTHING was ever done quickly there…

    • His name is Dante and he’s awesome.

  • I live at Quincy + GA. This Safeway can’t come soon enough. The Giant in Columbia Heights is soul crushingly awful. Also I figure with proximity, I’ll be able to purchase less per visit/visit more often. This is a plus for me since I’m really bad when it comes to letting food go bad.

  • It’ll be nice to not have to go the extra few blocks (and wait in the lines) at the CH Giant for grocery basics you can’t get at organic markets, like cola, inexpensive apple juice and milk. I plan to continue going to Yes! for Great Lakes beer and bulk dry goods. Just signed up for a delivery CSA so I am hoping to eat healthier and make fewer trips to the store in general. Hope they have a good beer selection.
    BTW I’ve noticed the grocery prices and selection at the new WalMart are not that great but they do have deals on CERTAIN items (like bagged bagels) and good thick steaks and pork chops.
    I stopped going to the Piney Branch Safeway after the first two trips, that store and their shriveled artichokes made me sad.

  • Pretty sure 90-120 days = early summer.

  • Working in the burbs, I’m pretty underwhelmed with Safeway and Giants in MoCo relative to the DC stores. Not much difference, compared with DC.

    People always want a Whole Foods, but there is tremendous overlap in what they sell and what’s now in regular stores and despite faster turnover, their produce often is no better than regular chains (i just went through a bag of dried out oranges from WF) and their bakery/deli/prepared stuff is pretty variable.

    Be glad you’re getting a choice. For a long time, much of DC including relatively well-off areas had, at most, a Safeway. and in those days, they charged more in DC than in the suburbs.

  • My one hope is that they have a large gluten free section as well as some upscale food, deli and bakery options. The one in Georgetown is amazing. The other one up Georgia Av is a disaster. I really hope it’s more like the one in Georgetown. Otherwise, I’ll keep going to Harris Teeter and Yes Organic.

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