Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Safeway in Tacoma

thanks WeeklyVolcano for the pic there...

a bit has been written about the Hilltop Safeway......here....
And too often, I read or hear a smarmy attitude about the store, and the neighborhood.

I imagine it's somewhat scary to the insulated. But my friends who moved here from real big cities, don't blink an eye...it's the small town folks who are most uncomfortable there.

I am more than a bit upset to see the Safeway remodel.......
I feel like I live in The Neverending Story
(and my last name used to be Bastian!!)

The Nothingness is eating away my life......those things I have loved so much about Tacoma......the sameness...the feeling that Time Has Stood Still.........
not anymore.

I didn't get there in time to get a pic of the outside, with the big red SAFEWAY letters on S. 12th (Earnest Brazill St)

The remodel has started. The outside has a new paint job in a safe pale caramel. The inside is torn up a bit now too. This was a few days ago, about May 1st. I'll get more as the work progresses, and it should be all done by mid-June.
So, more selections, a bakery of sorts.....it'll be OK.
And, it will be many more years until something like the Metropolitan Market moves in here......and I'll probably be dead anyway...

Sure some things are OK with me, but not much.
I told you the condos were stupid....too much fancy schmancy crap and nothing for, you know ..working people.
I'm not dumb, I know what the "new Tacoma plan" is really all about.
Make Tacoma the South Sound Bellevue.
Yeah. Great.
The people in charge have Zero Imagination.
The artists, clearly, are not in charge here!
And the Old Guard benevolent wealthy, the Russells, the Weyhausers, Bill Phillip for instance......are getting old and retired.....and a new crew is taking over.
Are they interested in public beauty?
Are they interested in sharing the wealth and the power for the betterment of all?
I'm waiting for the "new" council to show me they are capable of something more than saying they are for a more lovely, more artful Tacoma.
So far, all I see is , as Angela knows, The Coming Massacre of Small Local Business Downtown.
But it isn't so much that Parking Meters are stupid right now, it is the BIG LIE.
This is all about making more money for the City Government, and not about some stupid 15/85 phantom parking dilemma.


crenshaw sepulveda said...

We well know that the paid parking is to keep the poor people out of Downtown Tacoma, plain and simple. It seems that the city only wants people with the disposable income to pump into a parking meter to visit our fair downtown. This is not so much parking equity but rather a poll tax to keep the riff raff from despoiling our beautiful downtown.

propriatress said...

yes. it's just true. I read Urban magazines too...anyone can! This is a whole redesign rubric to marginalize a segment...this is an old story...nothing new. But Tacoma was a welcoming place where anyone could come here, get a job and buy a house....The American Dream!!
Did you click the link I attached to "Earnest Brazill)? I love the old stories about ol' Tacoma. I lived on Wilkeson, just south of Stanley School. The n'hood was full of Italian widows, in the early 80s when I was there.;-)
Anyway, I just don't like to be lied to....Just tell me the truth. Parking Equity my ass!
But we know that...it's a juggernaut. The Broadway LID area has been designated a Richie Destination. Soon, the Sec8 housing will be aggressively pushed out in the same way Browne's Star Grill was....a phoney Help you out, while all the time, building a legal case to close them down as a Public Nuisance.
(and as a piss-poor capitalist, I like disposable income as much as the next capitalist!)I'm just not willing to lie,cheat and steal for it....
But dang I miss those big Safeway letters.....I wonder who bought them? Alan? I hope so!

Sara said...

I moved from the north end to the Hilltop 3 yrs ago because I like it here. The people are what make this part of Tacoma awesome, not the grocery stores. A new sign, new flooring & a bakery are not going to change the friendly vibe that the neighborhood brings to Hilltop Safeway. Looking around the store I've always felt like Safeway is screaming, "you people aren't even worth a coat of fresh paint!" A small facelift/upgrade isn't gentrification. It's maintenance. And I believe my neighborhood is awesome enough to deserve a loaf of fresh bread for once.

propriatress said...

Hi Sara! Recently,Mark and I looked all over Tacoma, and chose not to move back to the Northend, either.

I've shopped in this store for decades, and I never felt unrespected. What I have felt is...I wish this Safeway had a few more things I shop for elsewhere ...such as more organic, more vegetarian, and more vegan. (15 years ago Fred Meyer sold blue potatoes!!)
I also think it's interesting that folks were so very interested in the Proctor street Safeway remodel...and no one was saying much about this Safeway, other than to note it was about to happen.
I don't equate new paint with love. It's pretty, but not essential.
I'm always troubled by the idea that someone who falls behind on maintenance is automatically suspect.
For example---
My lawn is 2 weeks overdue for mowing...I will buy a brand spanking new electric mower on Wednesday...I had to save up...I'm not lazy or stupid...just poor and off the plastic!

They did build/revamp the 38th street (and the 56th st) Safeway, which is in a workingclass/middle income neighborhood...not upscale at all. So, Safeway does have a pretty good history, I think.
Safeway...they stay "in the hood" long after other corporate grocery stores leave. The prices are the same as the Northend Safeways...and the ones all over the Puget Sound.
And right now, it is a big trend for grocery stores to add organic-healthy-popular products and to do a 2010-style decor.
We all want more organic, more exotic foods and more local items....but I'm nostalgic for Orange Linoleum!(the decor was so old, it was back in style!)



Andre said...

Safeway always seems to be a lightning rod for criticism, for some reason. A few months ago, Safeway pulled out of the store it had opened in the Mt. Clare section of West Baltimore, saying it had never been profitable, basically leaving no real grocery options behind except for the corner bodegas (they still exist on the East Coast!)

crenshaw sepulveda said...

In my book the Lincoln District is the place to live in Tacoma and it has the greatest upside. Downtown is doomed. Hilltop will always be in the sights of the developers, maybe not today but it is too tantalizing for the developers to leave alone. The Lincoln district is the real deal. You got a Albertsons on one end, the fancy Safeway on the other and all the Asian goodness in the middle. If that isn't enough you have the Flying Boots. Sad that Mrs. Frisbee isn't there but I guess that is a sign of progress. The working class soul of Tacoma quietly lives in the Lincoln District. Don't know when it will be gentrified, hopefully there will be the critical mass there to fight it off.

propriatress said...

Andre, that is distressing to hear, that Safeway left. Local bodegas all too often succumb to junk food and booze to make money. It doesn't have to be that way...Small stores can sell quality foods that we need...and obesity is a byproduct of lack of choice in poorer communities.
Supporting a large corporation is always a tricky business...The food supply system in America is...problematic (o boy, I could write a few books on that, but Micheal Pollan beat me to it, since I work for a living without a grant!)

Yes, crenshaw! The Lincoln District, because of its geography in Tacoma has been "ignored" and probably always will be.
So much of the change in Tacoma in the last 10 years especially, is pushed by a misguided notion that new is always better, and a general lack of respect for reuse, revamp, and the values of thrift...in other words, a rejection of the Grit that is supposedly celebrated by becoming a.....gritty Tacoman.

Sarah said...

If you read many of the comments regarding the Proctor upgrade on FeedTacoma, you'll see many mentions of the Hilltop store. One even stating that they had to hold back on sharing about the renovation because it was still in the planning phases and they didn't want to announce it before it was set to go.

The neighborhood deserves a nice store, so I'm not sure why it is so offensive that it is being upgraded.

I don't think I've seen anyone else complain that the upgrade.

propriatress said...

Hi Sarah!

I did read most of the comments on Proctor via FeedTacoma....as a former contractor/current micro-business owner I understand that one must hold things "close to the vest", sometimes.
The Hilltop Safeway was a nice store...a bit messy, sure, but it's always been a nice store. Dowdy. Homey. Not upscale.

I don't like many things, because I am Tressie. I'm suspicious of change, just for the sake of change. I believe that if something works OK, leave it be. If something needs to be upgraded...like I need to buy an electric mower because running a gas mower is dumb (having lawn at all is real dumb, but this is a rental, and my landlord likes it...but I digress)
And things do wear out. So fine, revamp the store.
Few if any complained about the Proctor changes because the folks that shop there wanted the changes...it's their demographic.
There was a lot of complaining about the design of the Proctor store....and it got changed!
Good for them. The design is better and fits the Proctor better. So the complainers were right.

There is a small world of people like me...and gentrification is harmful to us because it shoves us out of our lives so a stranger can have what we have.
That is the way of the world. I'm guilty of that a bit myself, I'm sure.
I think I will like the revamped Safeway here...I just expressed some sadness, and wishes that it wasn't gonna become a Boutique with many condiments and little real food. I see no danger in that.
I need to talk to the manager of the store to get specifics of the changes coming.
I'm hoping for more quality and more local food, more vegetarian and more vegan choices. But I don't need olives from Italy,Spain, Yugoslavia, Venus and Mars.
It's OK to see different sides of all things....one doesn't have to be a cheerleader and love all things.
Having a versus opinion is OK...and I think it's in the Constitution...;-)

crenshaw sepulveda said...

9 comments on a post here on Funkoma, seems to me that you are doing better than exit133.com is. Keep up the good work.

propriatress said...

just trying to keep the faith, baby.
lots of lively discussion on feedtacoma about gentrification/parking..."There are none so blind as those who will not see."