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Something tells me that they’re closed.

December 27, 2009, 11:50 PM

First of all, hello from Stuarts Draft, Virginia, where I’m writing to you from the Lappy at my parents’ kitchen table instead of my real computer.

On the way down to Stuarts Draft, I stopped to photograph the Safeway in Wheaton. The Safeway in Wheaton recently closed due to a pending redevelopment. They’re supposed to be tearing down the existing store and replacing it with a mixed-use development, including a new modern Safeway store at street level. The store closed on the 19th (the day of the snowstorm), and, to my surprise, was completely boarded up following the closure. I saw it boarded up on Christmas Eve, and was like, whoa! when I saw it.

First of all, here’s the store as it appeared when open, courtesy of Google Earth:

Safeway in Wheaton while open
Image: Google Earth

And now here it is today:

Main entrance, on the far left of the front of the building, also boarded up.
Main entrance, on the far left of the front of the building, also boarded up.

"Safeway" sign at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Reedie Drive. I may be wrong, but the sign might not be original. The lettering on the sign doesn't appear to match the lettering on the building, which is what makes me think it's a later addition, or has otherwise been altered from its original form.
“Safeway” sign at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Reedie Drive. I may be wrong, but the sign might not be original. The lettering on the sign doesn’t appear to match the lettering on the building, which is what makes me think it’s a later addition, or has otherwise been altered from its original form.

All in all, the board-up really surprised me. Most stores I’ve seen close just place brown paper over the windows and take down all the signage. These folks went for the board-up and left the signs in place (maybe because it will be a Safeway again when it’s done?). I’d hate to be the remaining crew in that building emptying it out prior to demolition. That’s got to be depressing inside, with all the windows boarded over.

Meanwhile, I never really shopped at this store much. The problem was the accessibility of the location. I live north of this store, and so to get there from the north required using the parking lot entrance on Fern Street behind the property via Reedie Drive, or making a big U-turn on Georgia Avenue (which in most cases, is a bad idea). I can only think of about three times that I went to that store, and one of those was during the closing sale, where the whole store was 20% off. And the reason for not going too much was that it was a pain to get to. If I lived south of this store and approached it from northbound Georgia Avenue, it might be a different story. And no, I live too far away from it to walk there. Trust me, I live in the ‘burbs, and where I live, you need a car to get around. And this store had no access from the side streets (i.e. Reedie Drive), nor did it connect to the properties to the north of it. Just front and back. Not very pedestrian-friendly, either, for that matter, since you couldn’t even access the store from Reedie Drive by walking, since there was a big retaining wall on the Reedie Drive side. You had to walk all the way to Georgia to get on the property, just to go most of the way back again (Fern Street ran right next to the back of the building).

So with the new development, maybe they’ll improve the access. Hopefully the new store will have an underground parking facility or something, and have access from Georgia Avenue and Reedie Drive. Meanwhile, I’m sure that this store will be history before you know it, in order for them to start building the new building…

Web site: Groceteria on the opening of this store.

Song: Spoof of grocery store training videos

Quote: Meanwhile, the thing about updating the Web site on the road is that one must then synch all the changes back up with the master on my real computer when I get back. I always feel like I can never be too sure that I got it all until I have to do something and notice an oopsie. I usually don't do HTML changes on the road unless it's something major that can't wait (the Journal is run off a database, so it doesn't involve HTML changes), but it's mainly about making sure that all the graphics get downloaded back to my computer, and making sure stuff gets where it belongs and such.

Categories: Safeway, Wheaton