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Berkeleyside reports that Albertsons-owned Safeway, which bought and then converted several former Andronico’s stores in northern California to the Safeway Community Markets banner, may reactivate the old banner.

According to the story, Safeway is “exploring the idea of re-establishing the Andronico’s brand in the Bay Area,” likely by renaming one of the Safeway Community Markets in Berkeley.

The story says that “Currently, there are four Safeway Community Markets in the Bay Area, two in Berkeley, on Solano — the site of the original Andronico’s supermarket founded by Frank and Eva Andronico in 1929 — and Shattuck avenues, and two more in Los Altos and San Anselmo. At this time, Safeway operates two markets under the Andronico’s Community Market name.”

Soon, there could be more: “Although the former Andronico’s markets in Berkeley have become more like regular Safeway stores in that they sell Safeway-branded products and accept Safeway Rewards cards, they differ in noticeable ways, such as being smaller in size, not having a Starbucks café (which are in most larger Safeway stores), and selling higher-end products and deli options not available at a regular Safeway.”
KC's View:
Yesterday we had a story about the Pathmark banner being revived, and today it is about the Andronico’s banner perhaps getting a new burst of energy. I always thought a lot of Andronico’s … for many years, it was a creative leader within the supermarket industry. It fell on hard times because of over-expansion, which led to its eventual acquisition by Safeway.

I’m don’t think - though I’m willing to be corrected on this if I’m wrong - that the Andronico’s brand ever violated its core value proposition (high quality) to the degree that Pathmark did when it started raising prices. So it may be that it has greater equity in Northern California, and can build on it … as long as Safeway is true to what used to make Andronico’s special. If the name is just a name, then why bother?