Safeway Deal Elicits Shrugs From Shoppers

Times Staff Writer

As news of Vons’ purchase of Safeway’s Southern California supermarkets slowly filtered through their ranks late Thursday, Safeway employees were left to wonder exactly how their lives would be affected.

By early evening, no details had been made public.

“We really don’t know anything concrete yet,” said Steve Borowitz, assistant manager of the Los Feliz Boulevard superstore in Glendale that employs about 120 workers. “Maybe we’ll find out soon.”

Meanwhile, Thursday afternoon shoppers shrugged off news of the deal, exhibiting the very lack of customer loyalty that is said to be a hallmark of the cutthroat Southern California supermarket business.


“Of course, I’ll still shop here if it becomes a Vons. So long as the prices are still low,” said George Huff, an Atwater security guard who had just completed his shopping at the Glendale store. “Whichever store has got what I want on sale is where I go.”

Huff, who does all the shopping for his family, says he routinely scans the newspaper food sections for bargains and then drives to the market offering the best deal. Vons, Ralphs or Safeway. It doesn’t matter to Huff.

It also doesn’t matter to L. Miles, a Los Feliz Hills housewife. Although Miles said she had been a regular Safeway shopper for 60 years, she admitted that she also throws a little business to Vons.

“I like Vons for some things, Safeway for others,” she said. “I go to both.”


Cora McCulloch, a Los Angeles housewife, splits her shopping business between Safeway and Ralphs, which occupy opposite corners at the intersection of Third Street and Vermont Avenue.

Doubts Expressed

On Thursday, McCulloch was at Safeway because she needed a prescription filled, and she finds the prices lower there. But usually she shops at Ralphs across the street because she finds it cleaner and more accessible.

However, Julie Perez, a Los Angeles electronics inspector, said she appreciates the huge selection and variety at Safeway’s Los Feliz Boulevard store. And she doubted whether Vons would be able to maintain those features if it takes the market over.


“If it becomes a Vons, I’ll check it out,” said Perez, “But if it’s not the same, I’ll stop going.”

Perez said she is particularly attracted to the produce, meat and Mexican food selection at the giant, 50,000-square-foot market.

For Linda Van Orman, a Los Angeles resident, the allure of Safeway has been the sushi bar and fresh pasta selection at the Glendale emporium. “I don’t dislike Vons, but I find the things I like here at this store.”

Van Orman, a Griffith Park worker, also expressed concern for the Safeway workers and wondered how the merged operations would affect their job security. “There are some real nice people here and I hope they get to keep their jobs.”