Almost two years after the development was first put into motion, the Snoqualmie Ridge’s new Safeway store had its grand opening on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
The new 43,405 square-foot Safeway on the corner of SE Douglas Street and Snoqualmie Parkway, had hundreds waiting patiently outside the store for the official ribbon cutting. Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson welcomed the crowd to the event and introduced Rob Backus, senior vice president of operations, to speak.
Backus introduced and thanked the store management for the work they put in to prepare the store for opening, then turned the microphone over to Public Affairs Director Sarah Osborne. She presented donations to several Valley non-profit groups as a thank you to the community.Friends of Youth, Encompass, and the Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation each received a $5,000 donation from the Safeway Foundation.
“We have our own foundation and we donate about $3 million every year within the state,” Osborne said. “We try to give back to the communities where we have stores.”
Terry Pottmeyer, CEO of Friends of Youth, was grateful for the support received from Safeway and said the funding would most likely be used to help fund counseling services.
“The area where we will have the most impact of these dollars is in our counseling services,” Pottmeyer said. “We provide counseling services to youth regardless of their ability to pay. This will make sure that every young person who knocks on our door will be able to access counseling services.”
The event also featured live music by the Seahawks’ Blue Thunder drumline and an appearance by Seahawks mascot Blitz.
The opening of the Snoqualmie Safeway gave the company a chance to implement a new store layout and design as well as to stock many products from local farms and businesses. Osborne said that a focus on local foods was important to the store.
“During the high season right now over 80 percent of our produce is from local farms,” she said. “We encourage anyone who has a local business to contact our store director and ask about the process, because we are decentralized now, we can actually bring it in a few stores, all stores, or we can have a lot more flexibility on what we carry.”
Stickers noting if products are local were placed all around the store. The biggest signs were in the produce section, where placards displayed the names of various regional farms and the produce they contributed.
In addition to the local food, Safeway is also looking for local people to join the staff. Osborne said the store will employ 120 people and that most the the current employees are locals.