The price of food may have changed, but after 50 years, their mission to provide great service has remained.
Downtown Safeway is celebrating half-a-century in its current location, although it has been providing groceries to Vernon residents since 1927 in two previous sites.
“We have been the anchor and corner point for downtown Vernon,” said store manager Craig Dickson.
Dickson has worked for Safeway for 40 years with the last 14 of them at the downtown store, and he is proud of the relationship he and his staff have with their customers and the community.
“The product that we offer is constantly good and we try to be a part of the community we serve,” said Dickson.
“What we do for the community and charities is important.”
The store boasts some long-term employees, including Ken Henry, who has worked his entire 44-year career at the downtown Safeway, and Robert Albrecht, who has been there 36 years.
“Why would I want to retire? I would miss the daily interaction with people,” said Albrecht.
Raised in Vernon, Albrecht remembers his trips to Safeway as a child and loving the smell of ground coffee as he entered the store.
The original building was near Nolan’s Drugs and the second store was located where the current parking lot is now.
In 1965, Dickson estimates that there were about 40 employees compared to the current staff of 120.
A story printed in the Vernon News June 14, 1965 announcing the opening of the new store shows that much has changed in 50 years, including a woman’s role in society.
“Shopping in Canada Safeway’s new Vernon store is convenient, easy and above all, it’s a one-stop centre providing the housewife with everything she needs,” states the article.
“She can stroll leisurely around aisles with a shopping cart, selecting a wide variety of merchandise and produce.”
The downtown store has been updated and expanded with its last facelift in 2007 and serves 17,500 customers (both husbands and wives) per week.