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Arlington Safeway celebrates grand re-opening, reinstalls 'Veterans Wall'
ARLINGTON — The Arlington Safeway at 20500 Olympic Pl. celebrated their grand re-opening June 27, and according to store manager Rick Blewett, the return of a familiar feature on the store's walls was as welcome as the in-store renovations.
The Arlington Safeway opened at its current location in November of 2007, and on April 14 of this year, the store began a major remodel of its facility, as part of Safeway's new "Lifestyle" format, by adding a new fresh seafood department and full-service meat counter, by expanding its produce section to include organic produce, and by offering "upscale" floral items, larger selections of bakery and deli items, and an olive bar.
"Our grand re-opening was a big deal with the Arlington community," Blewett said. "Customers have been very excited since our grand re-opening weekend, and I have a lot of long-term employees with strong ties to many people in the area."
For the June 27 ribbon-cutting, Blewett selected eight employees who had moved to the Arlington Safeway's current location in 1997, from their former location in downtown Arlington.
"These employees are customer favorites who have been serving Arlington for more than 200 years combined," Blewett said of Kim Hebert, Pam Crosby, Debi Kearney, Kim Nelson, Carol Gonzales, Bill Klein, Bret Lamore and Vanna Torseth, the latter of whom was on vacation June 27, and thus unable to attend the ribbon-cutting. Sue Blewett, who worked at the Arlington Safeway's former location 30 years ago, filled in for Torseth at the ribbon-cutting.
"Our roots go back a long time in our community," Rick Blewett said.
One way in which the Arlington Safeway has shown its community ties is through its "Veterans Wall," which started in 2001 with only a few pictures of active-duty military members, submitted by the store's customers, but has since grown to include 94 portraits of military members, two of whom are now deceased. Blewett appreciates being able to recognize the service members' contributions, to their community and country alike.
"When our Veterans Wall was down for in-store renovations, we had to reassure our customers that it would be going back up," Blewett said. "I've got a nephew up there too. We have so many customers who are proud to have family members in the service, and they should be, because those people are all protecting us, in one way or another."