Safeway, the Start-Up
In 1915, M.B. Skaggs, an ambitious young man in the small Idaho town of American Falls, purchased a tiny grocery store from his father. M.B.'s business strategy, to give his customers value and to expand by keeping a narrow profit margin, proved spectacularly successful. By 1926 he was opening 428 Skaggs stores in 10 states. M.B. almost doubled the size of his business that year when he merged his company with 322 Safeway (formerly Selig) stores and incorporated as Safeway, Inc. Two years later M.B. listed Safeway on the New York Stock Exchange. M.B. did not let the difficulties of the Great Depression dilute his pioneering focus on value for customers. In the 1930s Safeway introduced produce pricing by the pound, adding “sell by” dates on perishables to assure freshness, nutritional labeling, even some of the first parking lots.
M.B. Skagg’s value vision still drives Safeway, though on a dramatically larger scale. There are now over 1,300 Safeway stores across the US. These include 266 Safeway stores in Northern California and Hawaii, 273 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada, 107 Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, as well as 28 Carrs stores in Alaska.
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