Monday, July 13, 2009

Safeway Seeks Liquor License

In anticipation of opening its new urban-style store next year at Waterfront Station, Safeway is petitioning the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to obtain a liquor license and the hearing is scheduled for August 24th. A retailer’s Class B license will allow them to sell beer and wine, just like they do at some other Safeway locations in the city, including the new urban-style Mount Vernon Triangle store. However, first they need to get voluntary approval from ANC 6D. Back in September, Southwest...TLQTC reported that the ANC expanded their Safeway Task Force to help deal with some of the deficiencies at the current store, which include increasing safety in and around the store, opening more check-out lines during peak times, opening restrooms to customers, and properly labeling items with the correct prices. Since most of these issues have yet to be resolved, the ANC will probably use the voluntary agreement process as a bargaining tool to get Safeway to comply with their demands for better customer service in the current store. The ANC will discuss the liquor license at tonight’s ANC meeting, which starts at 7pm at St. Augustine’s Church. The agenda can be found here. Public input in the meeting is encouraged!

Update: At tonight's ANC meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to protest Safeway's request for a liquor license. This will give the ANC time to negotiate a voluntary agreement with Safeway that will benefit the community. In addition, the commissioners voted to hold a town hall meeting sometime in September so more members of the community can express their opinions about the pending liquor license application for the new store.


Anonymous said...

I hope Safeway does not get the license. It will do nothing to help the community.

I am afraid the situation will turn into the same scene as the old liquor store on M street that was recently demolished.

My vote is NO to the liquor license.

Anonymous said...

I dunno - the liquor store that was right next door to Safeway in Waterside Mall was never a problem. And I found it really convenient to sit at my desk at work, daydream about how pasta with vodka sauce or chicken marsala would be nice for supper and be able to procure all the ingrediants in one shopping trip. So, in principle, I'd even prefer a proper liquor store nearby, rather than just a wine and beer section in Safeway. But even the latter's nice. I get kind of a kick out of getting Safeway points (and thus, airmiles) for picking up a six pack of Sierra Nevada with my groceries at the Safeway on Capitol Hill. (And I haven't observed any huge social problems there.)

HRH King Friday XIII, Ret. said...

I'm torn on this myself. I'd love to be able to walk a block to Safeway and buy some beer or wine. But the state of the waterfront area is still questionable... its not the uber trendy urban center its hopes to be quite yet. The former federal buidlings are still boarded up and pedestrian/metro access is limited on M street for the time being. Maybe give them the license in another six months, but right now? I just don't know.

Plus, as this post points out, Safeway still has a long way to go towards improving customer satisfaction. I'd like to see that addressed first.

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that next May Safeway will be opening a brand new 55,000 sq ft store in the new Waterfront Station development.

They have requested a Class B (beer & wine only) liquor license for that new store.

The license is not for the current dirty, disgusting, shameful, and miserable store.

If the new store is even one-fifth better than the one we have now, I'll let 'em sell whatever they want.

Charlotte Allen said...

I don't understand why people object to being able to buy a six-pack of beer or bottle of wine at a local store instead of having to Metro to Capitol Hill or up to Central Liquor to do so. And what was wrong with Harry's, our late local liquor store? It had a pretty good wine selection, for one thing.

I agree that the current Safeway is disgusting, with fewer and fewer goods for sale as the years pass. It's like there's a war on: Will I be able to find mozarella cheese, or will they be out again? What happened to the fennel? But I don't see the point of taking it out on the current Safeway by restricting offerings at a future Safeway.

Anonymous said...

I'd say the liquor store should be contingent on them cleaning up and improving customer satisfaction at the current store. If they can't get that right, I don't have any hope for the new store a few months after opening and I would rather not give Safeway another income source. In fact, I think rather than Safeway getting the liquor license, they should entice another grocery retailer to the area with the promise of a liquor license (the south quadrants of DC could use a Trader Joes).