It truly was the end of an era for the downtown Safeway, a store that had been in Vernon’s city centre for decades.
The downtown Vernon Safeway closed its door for the last time on Nov. 23, and its closure has left a number of residents, particularly seniors, in the surrounding area who relied on the stores convenient location wondering where they will be purchasing their groceries for the next few months.
Vernon’s Safeway moved to a number of locations over the years. The first store opened in 1930 at 3125 30th Ave., where Record City and Hagemann Jewellers currently are located.
Less than a decade later, the business moved. A fire insurance map pulled from the archives shows Safeway moved to 3013 30th Ave., where Vernon Teach and Learn is currently located.
By 1951, the grocery store moved to its final location, in a $20,000 building.
On June 11, 1951, which was opening day of the third Safeway location, celebrated Vernon photographer George Meeres wandered the aisles of a yet-untouched store, snapping scenes of cans on neatly lined shelves, pristine tile flooring and shopping carts in snug rows.
At first, the staff was relatively small, consisting of only 17 people, including a head meat cutter, butchers, a manager, and front- and back-end employees.
In 1965, the business expanded and was remodelled, and a coffee bar, now Starbucks, was added.
Although the Safeway in Vernon Square, which opened in 1991, will remain, the closure of the downtown location marks the end of a chapter in a small, but significant, portion of Vernon’s history.
The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives has a large collection of photos showing Safeway at its various locations, both inside and outside. Photographs can be viewed at your leisure on their onsite computer database. If you would like a copy this image or any of the museum’s other images, contact the museum at 250-550-3140.
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