Safeway closure a hardship for some downtown San Jose residents

The main grocery store serving downtown San Jose has announced its closing in a matter of weeks.

For those who live and work in downtown San Jose, it's a big loss. The Safeway at 2nd and San Fernando streets is closing its doors June 14th.

"I'm disappointed because I come here every day,” said shopper Ben White. 

But there had been problems here: first with theft and loitering, and later with parking, after their adjacent garage was sold.

"Part of me is surprised it's stayed open as long as it has,” said hopper Steve Hohs.

Ultimately, Safeway officials said the numbers just weren't there. They released a statement saying "... it's occasionally necessary to close locations that aren't meeting company goals."

Mayor Sam Liccardo said the city fought to save it.

"Losing Safeway was something we anticipated might happen with the loss of the public parking at that site,” Liccardo said. “We certainly tried to keep it. We weren't successful. So we're just going to have to work hard to find another grocery store there." 

The search for a new grocer has already begun. The San Jose Downtown Association sees it as critical to the success of development there. There are thousands of new apartments being built.

"So we have 2000 units in the pipeline and many more, like 40 or 50 projects in the works, and if we can get those built then I think we'll get the mass we need to sustain a grocery store,” said Rick Jensen of the San Jose Downtown Association  

Still residents see the closure of this Safeway as a bad omen.

"It's not happening so far, downtown San Jose. Just not happening like the cinema closing, the store closing. Not good,” said shopper Lana Usova. 

City officials point out there are other grocery stores within a few mile radius, including a Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Grocery Outlet. Still for some, the extra distance is a hardship.

"I'll probably have to go to 7-11 just so I can get some snacks,” said shopper Savannah Garcia Tyler.

Safeway anticipates that all the employees here will be placed at other stores.