Safeway: ingredients for life
Last Updated on
March 25, 2019
Known today as Safeway, the company that was founded in 1912 by Sam Seelig was originally called the Sam Seelig Company. Seelig left the company in 1924 and a contest was held the following year to create a new name. The result was Safeway. By 1926, Safeway had 322 stores in Southern California.
The Skaggs Family
Between 1908 and 1910 Samuel Skaggs, a Baptist minister, moved his family from Missouri to American Falls, Idaho. To subsidize his income (he had 15 children to support), he opened a grocery store. There were already a few other grocers in town, so he decided that his business model would be “cash-only,” rather than the credit accounts system that his competitors used. This way, he wouldn’t have to risk non-payment of accounts, given that the customers were farmers who relied on seasonal income.
He had to sell at much lower prices than his competitors so he could attract customers. As American Falls was a stop on the Union Pacific Railroad, and
large lots were defined by some fraction of a railroad carload, he was able to purchase larger lots than his competitors. So, now Sam Skaggs could buy and sell for less. His savings would increase as he expanded his chain of stores.
In 1916 Sam sold his store to his third son, M.B., for the price of $1,088. M.B. wanted to take advantage of bulk buying, so the following year, with the help of some of his brothers, he began expanding. By 1926, he merged his company with 322 Safeway (formerly Selig) stores, creating a chain of 428 grocery stores . He incorporated as Safeway, Inc.
As a progressive thinker and an astute businessman, M.B. introduced produce pricing by the pound. To ensure his customers were buying fresh foods, he added “sell by” dates on perishables and added nutritional labeling. He even introduced some of the first parking lots.
Today’s Safeway Stores
In January 2015, Safeway’s parent company, AB Acquisition LLC, and Safeway completed a merger that created one of the country’s largest food and drug retailers with over 2,220 stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and a whopping 265,000 employees.
Safeway Mission Statement
“Our goal is to be the first choice for those customers who have the opportunity to shop locally in a Safeway store.”
Safeway is a Top Fortune 500 Company.
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