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Posted: 28 Jan 2006 14:58
by bigpimp
Can anybody tell me about the history of Pak'N Save Foods which is owned by Safeway...It seems nothing more than a Safeway where you bag your own groceries...It has Safeway prices. I was just curious. One of the employees in the Manteca Pak'N Save told me that they are due for a remodel at the end of the year...they will decide whether it is going to be remodeled into a Lifestyle store or closed. I was just curious about the history of this chain since there is no mention of it on the Safeway website.

Posted: 28 Jan 2006 16:00
by steps
the pak n' save chain was owned by the Vons Companies till Safeway bought them out. And what came with the buy out was the Vons stores, Pavilions stores, and Pak N Save stores. Vons "invented" the chain to compete in the "low end" market ( e.g. food 4 less). it was a spin off from the Vons Company since at one point the Vons Company had a chain in each "class". Vons your standard grocery store, Pavilions your up scale supermarket, Tanigius there "ethnic" store, and Pak N Save there wherehouse stores, which id ont see around as much...a life style format wouldnt fit in that branch... since its meant to be low end.... a nice remodel but yet still bagging your own groceries...? lol....Safeway is just ruining its stores that they bought out which sucks as ive said many times before....hope this helps

Posted: 28 Jan 2006 21:56
by Groceteria
steps wrote:the pak n' save chain was owned by the Vons Companies till Safeway bought them out.
Actually, I believe Safeway acquired Pak 'n Save in 1983 when they purchased Brentwood Markets, the Northern California chain which started it. Safeway attempted to build up the chain from that base. They never did very much with it, but they were operating several stores in NoCal under that name from the 1980s on (and still are).

From a 1993 article in the SF Chonicle:

While much of the supermarket industry is struggling with flat sales and heightened competition, a tiny unit of Safeway Inc. is quietly prospering.
Pak 'n Save Foods, a chain of 16 discount grocery stores in Northern California, is Safeway's answer to the warehouse clubs. Its cavernous stores offer economy prices in a no-frills setting where customers bag their own groceries. But unlike most warehouse clubs, Pak 'n Save charges no membership fee, features a large produce department and sells many of the same items available in traditional grocery stores.

Safeway doesn't disclose financial results for Pak 'n Save. According to industry estimates, the Fremont-based chain rang up sales of more than $400 million last year, accounting for less than 3 percent of Safeway's total.

Unlike most major grocers, however, Pak 'n Save posted a gain in sales of stores open more than a year -- a key measure of retail-industry performance. The chain's same-store sales rose about 2 percent in 1992, according to Frank Burger, Pak 'n Save's director of operations.

``People are looking for ways to stretch their dollars,'' said Burger, a 30-year Safeway veteran who became Pak 'n Save's chief three years ago. Since then, the chain has opened five stores and doubled its market share to about 8 percent. This year, Pak 'n Save plans new stores in Oakland and Emeryville, and it expects to open markets in Auburn and in an undisclosed Central Valley location in 1994.

Safeway, which purchased Pak 'n Save from Brentwood markets in 1983, says the discount chain helps it reach large families and others who may be on tighter budgets than shoppers at its conventional stores.

Posted: 29 Jan 2006 00:35
by steps
hmmm that's interresting to know!! but what threw me off is that a few of the Vons stores is so cal have a sign in the break that's says: "VONS, Pavilions,Pak N' Save". And i have also heard/saw/read some where that the Pak N Save if owned by VONS used to say "Pak N Save by VONS"...unless VONS came out with a store of that name but spelled if differently...?

Posted: 29 Jan 2006 00:46
by Groceteria
steps wrote:And i have also heard/saw/read some where that the Pak N Save if owned by VONS used to say "Pak N Save by VONS"...unless VONS came out with a store of that name but spelled if differently...?
Could have been they wound up with some formerly Safeway-owned branches when they acquired Safeway's SoCal division in 1986/1987 and kept the name, although I wasn't aware of any Pak 'n Save stores south of Madera. That's not to say there weren't any, but just that I wasn't aware of them...

Posted: 29 Jan 2006 01:30
by steps
i believe i saw a pak'n save in east LA...i asked a friend of mine if she remembers one out there...and she said she did...but we could be wrong. since so many independent/corporate stores use variations of brand names..(e.g. Foods4Less, Jons, Bestway, etc)

Posted: 29 Jan 2006 02:50
by Jeff
There was a Pack and Save in East LA. I beleive it was converted to a Tianguis then a Vons, now its a Superior Market (local latino chain)

Posted: 29 Jan 2006 05:02
by Daniel
Well, south of Fresno! (There was a Pak-N-Save in an old Zody's store on Blackstone. That, along with the 2 Safeway stores were sold to Save Mart when Safeway pulled out of the Fresno market)

Posted: 09 Mar 2006 22:06
by mfricke
The Vons in Chino on Central and the 60 Freeway was converted to a Pak n' Save in 1999, and closed in 2005. As far as I know, it was the only Pak n' Save owned bySafeway/Vons in Southern California. According to the employees, they ran it as a trial, to determine if the market was there for more Pak n' Saves, as there are in Northern California. Obviously, there were not. That Vons store had moved three times, until it moved into that building an opened as a Pavilions, replacing the Gemco that was there. It shortly thereafter converted to a Vons, later to a Pak n' Save, and finally closed. It was a bad location, as was the Pavilions in Upland that also closed last year. Both were purchased long before Vons was owned by Safeway, and never had many customers.

Posted: 13 Mar 2006 04:02
by storewanderer
They also just closed a sharp looking Pak N Save in San Jose that appears to have been built in 1996. Probably the last new Pak N Save.

Pak and Save neglect

Posted: 13 Mar 2006 17:01
by TheQuestioner
The last post brought to mind something I have wondered about: Is Safeway just letting Pak & Save dwindle away? It seems like there have been no new locations in years, and the existing ones seem to be kind of run down (even for a low-price market chain) Does Safeway just continue to operate the stores "because they're there" or are they biding their time for some bigger plan? Perhaps Albertsons experience with the old "Super Saver" concept has turned them off to the low end of groceries?

Seems to me if they want to compete with Wal-Mart's grocery prices, they would do well to have a chain/division that can match/beat them on those terms. Putting all their eggs in the "Lifestyle" (high-end look, high-end prices) basket is probably not going to get them anywhere long term. Safeway is thought of as too middle-of-the-road by moneyed types, and will come to be thought of as "too good for us" and expensive by those with moderate-to-low incomes. All of the latter will flock to Wal-Mart of FoodMax-type places, and those with means and "style" will continue patronizing smaller local boutiques and places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, which carry actual brand cachet in the minds of the well-off.

The whole "aim high" strategy hasn't seemed to have worked out too well for Albertsons. Who thinks Safeway will end up within the next few years where Albertsons is now?

Posted: 13 Mar 2006 20:41
by storewanderer
If you want my honest opinion of why Pak N Save exists, it is this:

The Pak N Saves are on a lower wage contract than the normal Safeways. I don't know the specifics, but apparantly the base wages are lower and they also have different job duties for some of the employees (I don't know the details). I know at Pak N Save they have "utility clerks" instead of "courtesy clerks." My understanding is a "utility clerk" is allowed to do more tasks than a "courtesy clerk" (perhaps light stocking but this is just a wild guess), but paid about like a courtesy clerk (if not less). Maybe someone who knows more can comment or tell me if I am completely off base.

With that being said, this is probably the same reason why Albertsons retained one Super Saver in Woodland, which is also on a different contract with a lower wage scale than the rest of the NorCal Albertsons Stores. This Super Saver's signs all still state the store is a division of American Stores Company.

Pak N Save as it stands is a Safeway with a few more sale items and most item prices ending in an 8 instead of a 9 or some other number. Same ads. Same basic pricing really. The only difference if you bag the stuff yourself. The products are the same excellent quality the rest of Safeway sells, but the pricing is hardly discount pricing at this point.

That Vons PNS down in Chino was a bit of a throwback to the old PNS concept: it ran with everyday low prices, its own ads, and no club card. NorCal hasn't done any of this for about a decade now... although did have slightly lower prices than other Safeways (.10-.30 per item) up until about a year ago. Might still be this way in the bay area. Not in Sacramento or the valley though.

Posted: 14 Mar 2006 02:19
by steps
that would make sense since after the strike we got the 2 teir contract....i would hate to think what they are payin the PNS folks...but the clerks at vons in so cal make minimum wage....all off topic here, but do the PNS look like safeways inside...?

Posted: 14 Mar 2006 04:39
by Daniel
I don't know anything about the current Pak-N-Saves, but the one we had in Fresno (Opened in 1985, after Zody's closed up shop) had a decor similar to Food 4 Less, yellow walls with painted on black department signage, along with warehouse shelving. I seem to recall the one in Madera (Still open) had this same basic decor, but was a bit nicer than the Fresno store.

Posted: 14 Mar 2006 16:09
by TheQuestioner
The interior PNS decor seems pretty similar from store to store. The photos of the now-closed San Jose store (link in an earlier post) looked like they could have been taken in the San Leandro location.

At the San Leandro location, from what I have seen almost everything is priced the same as Safeway, except for some "eternal" sales like bananas being 2 lbs for a $1, rather than 79 cents a lb at Safeway. Also, skim milk was on sale for a while at $2.99 a gallon (and if that sounds bad, try a Bay Area SFWY sometime, where it's usually $3.59 a gallon!) Personally, the minor cost savings are not enough to make going to a PNS location any more desirable than SFWY. Plus you have to do your own bagging (as has been noted by many a poster here)

It would be good to see SFWY use Pak N Save as a surgical knife to cut at areas/neighborhoods with no affordable groceires nearby, therefore picking up the bulk fo the cost-conscious customers in that area. That strategy probably wouldn't work in San Leandro, which has a FoodMax nearby. But there are many spots in the Bay Area that lack much of ANY large grocery stores, especially in SF and parts of San Jose. If they put PNS in areas where the only alternatives are pricey organic stores or overpriced full-service stores (other than SFWY, natch) they could clean up. Obviously this is a market worth exploring, otherwise Ralths would shut down the NorCal FoodsCos along with the rest of their operations around here. Instead, they are planning to expand them.

I guess PNS will exist as long as they serve as a somewhat profitable arm of the company with lower-paid/less task-specific workers on the contract. It could be so much more. Shoppers Food Warehouse in DC was just another FoodMax-type operation in the beginning. No bagging for you, located in run-down stores inherited from a defunct chain. They grew from that modest start to a (still) low-priced full-service grocery, with no club card, regularly lower prices than local competitors, and interiors almost as nice as a full-price chain. Have I mentioned that I wish Supervalu had bought NorCal Albertsons and relaunched them all as Shoppers stores? ;)