Today, Safeway formally will unveil its customer-focused and much-anticipated lifestyle format conversion of its Fort Frances store.
The multi-million dollar redevelopment has resulted in a completely fresh approach to grocery shopping, including the introduction of a fresh look, new departments, and even a Starbucks.
A public preview is scheduled for today from 4-8 p.m., and then a week-long celebration begins tomorrow.
Safeway’s “lifestyle” format has been built around the changing needs of today’s consumers and features specific offerings geared towards singles, busy families, and seniors.
More health conscious offerings, organics, and specialty diet products also are important reflections of changing consumer needs.
“People’s needs are changing and as a result, we’re changing, too,” said John Graham, Public Affairs Manager for Canada Safeway.
“The ‘Lifestyle’ design creates a more relaxed shopping atmosphere with ever-changing offerings that service the expectations of today’s consumers,” he added.
Safeway’s new format was developed following an extensive 18-month review of the best qualities of grocery stores throughout North America and Europe.
The Fort Frances location represents the fourth Ontario store to be redesigned. All six of Ontario’s Safeway locations will be converted to the “Lifestyle” format within the next two years.
This six-store investment of more than $20 million also will result in an additional 250 jobs in Northwestern Ontario.
“Each of the departments has its own unique character,” noted Graham.
For instance, the bakery is set up with a European feel while the full-service meat shop offers easy-to-prepare meal solutions along with free marinades and rubs.
The home decor area and the store’s organic offerings also are clear winners.
The world of food, and the ways in which Canadians dine, have changed considerably. Today, 42 percent of meals are consumed or prepared out of the home.
Families now spend, on average, just 22 minutes in the kitchen making their dinner meal.
“Safeway’s Lifestyle Stores respond to this need by offering an extensive menu of fresh, easy-to-prepare meals, with a variety of delicious restaurant-quality foods for every taste,” said Graham.
With its own checkout for fast service, customers in the deli section will enjoy fresh sushi, prime rib, oven-roasted chickens, country-style ribs, ginger beef, samosa, and a whole line of Signature soups, salads, and sandwiches.
The olive bar, cheese counter, and pizza also are experiences to be taken in.
“The store also features a full-service Starbucks coffee shop, with in-store seating and drink holders on our shopping carts,” said Graham.
The coffee shop opened Monday and already has been declared a huge success.
Safeway operates 214 stores from Thunder Bay to Vancouver Island, and employs more than 30,000 Canadians. By the end of this year, 157 locations will have been converted to Safeway’s “lifestyle” design.