Business

New building in Safeway parking lot is a gas (station)

"In order to remain competitive with other grocery stores, Safeway is making an aggressive entry into the gasoline business.AESE, a firm hired by Safeway, is wrapping up construction of a new fuel station in the parking lot of the Silverdale Way grocery. The five-pump fuel station is expected to open Thursday, April 26. Safeway is embarking on an aggressive entry into the gas business - it fits into our one-stop shopping idea. It makes sense from a competitive standpoint - Albertson's and Costco have gas stations and it gives them a competitive edge, said Safeway manager Duane Vickery. The store already has opened fuel stations in Wenatchee, Aberdeen and Yelm, and expects to open several more in Washington this year.Customers will save up to a nickel a gallon at the pumps when they use a Safeway Club card and regular prices will meet or beat the competitor's prices, Vickery said. The station's kiosk will sell cigarettes and auto supplies. Rising gas prices nationwide haven't deterred Safeway's headfirst entry in the market. Store officials are hoping the gas station will attract new shoppers to the grocery store.The downfall (of high prices) is that sometimes you don't make any money. The profit margin is low for gas but we hope to draw people into one-stop-shopping and hopefully get them to start shopping here, Vickery said.Safeway will hire two full-time employees and three part-timers to staff the gas station. Some employees might move over from the grocery store, but others likely will be hired outside the company.Obtaining permits to build the station took quite a while, and local zoning regulations will prevent the firm from installing signs like other fuel stations usually do, according to Vickery.There has been some negative response to the loss of parking resulting from the station's construction, Vickery said, but he pointed out that the property manager had planned to construct a business in the same location before Safeway leased the land. "

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