Safeway to close Downtown San Jose location, residents brace for impacts to convenience, community

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Part of Building a Better Bay Area sometimes involves going in a new direction. In Downtown San Jose, Safeway plans to shut its doors.

After 11 years of serving Downtown San Jose, Safeway on South Second Street will close on June 14th. The supermarket chain told ABC7 News the decision wasn't made lightly.

On Wednesday, customers reacted to the news. Matt Scrabis lives nearby and said the closure will cause plenty of inconvenience.

"That is horrible. I live right up the street," he said. "I often do go shopping for my larger orders elsewhere with my car, but for convenience factors, this has been a lifesaver for me."

In a statement to ABC7 News, Safeway said, "Like all retailers, we're constantly evaluating the performance of our portfolio of stores, and it's occasionally necessary to close locations that aren't meeting company goals."

The City of San Jose said one issue making that goal difficult is a change in parking. Customers we spoke with said they agree.

"Parking was free initially. Then they had a issue with that, and they started charging for parking," San Jose resident W. Allan Goode said. "And, it wasn't at all convenient necessarily to get into."

RELATED: Fear of eminent domain leads Downtown San Jose church to sell to Google

Goode added, "They were challenged by their location. They were challenged by the rules that had been set up by the entity that was providing parking for them."

San Jose's Economic Development office says it is sorry to see Safeway go, but it also points to a number of other options.

"We have seven other grocery stores in close proximity," Nanci Klein said. "So there will be plenty of grocers for the residents to take advantage of."

Klein is the Assistant Director of Economic Development and Director of Real Estate for the City of San Jose.

A few blocks from Safeway, on East Santa Clara Street, is a Grocery Outlet. Farther out, there are smaller retailers like family-owned Cardenas and Santo Market.

Resident Goode said, "We should support these community resources, because they're there when the big guys choose to pull out."

"You're going to find things here that you don't find in every other store," he explained, while standing outside of Santo Market in San Jose. "There's another market that's around the corner. They have things that are also characteristic of the community."

RELATED: Homeless housing project near San Jose's Japantown sparks debate

However, some argue there are other things to consider.

"If I forget something, I'm probably going to have to spend a lot more money at a local liquor store," Scrabis said. "God bless them, I know mom and pop shops are great, but you buy milk at a local liquor store, it's going to cost you a lot of money... Lot more than Safeway."

The city says it will work with the property owner and brokers to find an even better use for Safeway's space.

"We're looking at the opportunity as a positive for someone who's excited about coming into that space, who sees it as a great marketplace," Klein said.

She added, "It's not clear what the tenant will be, but certainly grocery will be in the mix to consider."

See more stories and videos about ABC7's initiative, Building a Better Bay Area.
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.