Albertsons

Albertsons/Rite Aid merger faces challenge ahead of key vote

A week from Friday, shareholders of Rite Aid Corp. will decide if the independent pharmacy retailer can merge with Boise-based Albertsons Companies.

If 50% say yes - the deal is likely to happen. If it can't reach that threshold, the next steps for the two companies are unclear.

  • Advisors say no: Two big shareholder advisory firms said a no vote was appropriate. Institutional Shareholder Services & Glass Lewis gave the tie-up a thumbs down. 
    • ISS report: “It does not appear that Rite Aid shareholders would receive a fair ownership interest in the combined company, a concern heightened by potential conflicts of interest during the negotiation process and apparently reflected in the company’s underperformance since announcement."
    • Glass Lewis: “We fail to see that the proposed combination represents a particularly attractive outcome for unaffiliated Rite Aid shareholders, each of whom has, in our view, been offered very little reason to conclude that management has secured full value under extant market conditions or that the Company would not benefit from continued implementation of its stand-alone operating strategy until a counterparty is prepared to deliver a clear and attractive value for control of Rite Aid,” 
    • A Rite Aid spokesperson disagreed, telling Reuters the deal “will significantly improve Rite Aid’s growth prospects, financial strength and ability to deliver compelling long-term value for shareholders."
  • Other shareholders against: Highfields Capital Management came out earlier this month and said it would vote its 4.4% stake against the deal. "The proposed transaction is in the best interests of Albertsons and Rite Aid management, but not Rite Aid shareholders," Highfields said.
  • It's about scale: The two companies have mounted a detailed campaign to gin up support for the deal - with an extensive website and letters to Rite Aid shareholders ahead of the vote. 
    • Albertsons COO Jim Donald on CNBC: "Scale is big here. Scale is what we can use as we continue to [serve] customers online and  brick and mortar."
  • Amazon looms: With the pending merger of Albertsons and Rite Aid on the table, Amazon announced it would acquire small prescription-by-mail company PillPack - one of a number of moves the web giant has taken in the drug space.
  • E-commerce perks up:  Albertsons said on a recent earnings call that sales from e-commerce more than doubled from the previous period - up 108%. The company has been working to drive initiatives - including home delivery, "Drive Up and Go," meal delivery service Plated and a partnership with Instacart.

First look: Albertsons puts focus on food, fresh and local with new store

In 1939, Joe Albertson opened a 10,000 square foot grocery store in Boise at 16th St. and State St. with about 30 employees and $12,000 in his own cash and investment. The store was packed with then-novel features, like a magazine rack, fresh flowers and an ice cream bar.  

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Now, nearly 80 years later, the retailer is opening its latest store - a grocery showplace Albertson likely wouldn't be able to fathom all those decades ago. It is nearly seven times as large as that first store, and employs 260 people and cost more than $7.2 million to build.

The store at 1219 S. Broadway Ave. replaces a smaller market torn down on the same block earlier this year - and is the last Idaho store the chain owns to be remodeled or replaced in the last few years.

"Joe was an innovator," Albertsons Division President John Colgrove, who worked with the company founder said. "Things like bringing a magazine rack, the household goods… it was all innovative in his time. I think if Joe saw this store today, he’d say two words: 'well done.'"

The store echoes some of those themes from eight decades ago - and in fact, will open on the 79th anniversary of the first store opening - this Saturday at 10am.

Unlike a normal store

The location is striking in the variety of items that are not typically found in an Albertsons - or most grocers for that matter.

During a tour Thursday morning for BoiseDev - dozens of employees were working on final touches ahead of this weekend's opening events.

Wall of rosé. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Wall of rosé. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

The beer and wine selection are among the largest in Idaho, according to Colgrove - including one whole rack features just rosé wines. A case of rare wines is also featured, with price points up over $700.

This location is similar in shape and position to a nearby Whole Foods at Broadway and Myrtle, but Colgrove said his store stands apart.

"Of course we will have the full assortment of natural and organic offerings. We also a full line of mainstream national items as well as countless local items. We’ve canvassed the entire community. There's literally hundreds and hundreds of items that are only in this store."

Local focus

Local products include Teton Valley Beands chips and Bucksnort soda. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Local products include Teton Valley Beands chips and Bucksnort soda. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons Broadway features more local products than the average store in the chain - and Colgrove says his team worked to source items that aren't usually available at retail from across Idaho.

“They went down to the Saturday morning market and met a lot of the individuals down there that were selling their items. We asked a lot of them if they were interested in coming into the stores."

Local items include Bucksnort Root Beer, MFT sauces, Teton Valley Brands Idaho Real Potato Chips and others.

Eating options: in-store, on-the-go, cook at home

Workers prep the upcoming wood-fired pizza station. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Workers prep the upcoming wood-fired pizza station. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons Broadway features a large array of options for food. It will be the first Idaho store to feature Plated meal kits, which Albertsons acquired last year.  The kits allow shoppers to grab a meal kit with nearly all the ingredients they need to cook at home.  

The store also has a selection of meals ready to heat and eat at home.

But a unique focus is the number of options for people who want to chow down on site.  An upstairs seating area with TVs, a full liquor bar and outdoor patio will give shoppers more of a restaurant experience - complete with table service.  

If a proposal for a baseball park to be built by Boise State comes to fruition, it will be viewable from the deck.

That bar - called Broadway on the Rocks - is designed for the neighborhood to grab a bite and stay a while.

"It's clean and modern, a beautiful space to hang out," Albertsons Communications and Community Relations Manager Kathy Holland said. "We are hoping this will invite people to have a drink with friends, or have dinner or grab a bite and have coffee right here in the store. It really is a gathering space in the community."

Concierge

The new concierge area awaits final touches. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

The new concierge area awaits final touches. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

A newly-hired concierge will provide a way for customers to have one contact and tie together all the various options in the store for parties and gatherings.

"We schedule a consultation with them and figure out every aspect of their party," concierge manager Jordan Saenz said. "From catering, floral, bakery, beer and wine. We figure out every department that can be of assistance to them.”

Saenz says the service will first be marketed to local businesses for meetings and functions.

"For catered lunches, box lunches, salads - community members not wanting to cook for a backyard BQ, party or a wedding. Eventually, we will do a lot of weddings and wedding receptions.”

Why now?

A typical store aisle with the fish market and butcher block in the background.

A typical store aisle with the fish market and butcher block in the background.

The company chose this site for a showcase store for a variety of reasons, according to Colgrove.

“The store (that was here) has been here since 1959," he said. "Although it served the community for several years, the footprint was too small to keep up with the expanded categories and expanded offerings consumers have come to expect.

He said the investment in naming rights to nearby Albertsons Stadium and the partnership with Boise State also played a part.

"Its location next to Boise State and Albertsons stadium - we felt this was the right place for it."

For a time, the company had planned to call the location Market Street Idaho - but changed course before opening.

"It really came down to hearing a lot of stories from the customers of the old store here," Holland said. "They had shopped here for 60 years and remembered meeting Joe. We really wanted to keep that spirit alive so we decided to rebound this store as Albertsons but make it more distinct to this neighborhood."

Colgrove and Holland said the store will likely draw from all over Boise, but they expect most customers to make most of their visits to the location nearest them - with Broadway and the forthcoming Market Street Idaho location in Meridian serving as destination stores for many.  

Albertsons Division President John Colgrove points to some of the in-store food options during a tour of the Broadway Albertsons Thursday in Boise. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons Division President John Colgrove points to some of the in-store food options during a tour of the Broadway Albertsons Thursday in Boise. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Organic a big component

Living Well section and pharmacy. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Living Well section and pharmacy. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Organic produce and products have been a big consumer trend in recent years, and Albertsons Companies has rolled out an extensive O Organics brand to match.  The new Broadway location will feature an "organic department to rival any store in the state," according to Colgrove. He highlights not just food products, but an extensive health and beauty section rooted in organic products and principles.

"In our Living Well area, we really focused on organic and clean products," Holland said.

More

During the Thursday tour, Holland and Colgrove were excited to tout dozens of features they highlighted as unique. A sampling:

  • Poke bowls made in store.
  • A made-to-order brick oven pizza station. Customers will be able to pick their toppings and be served a hot pizza in about seven minutes.
  • A scratch-made bakery featuring warming cases and large donut selection.  In many stores, Colgove said, the bakery products are par-baked - with prep done offsite, and a final heating in the store. 
  • A carving station that will allow meats like chicken, beef and cold cuts to be custom sliced.
  • An extensive cheese section, including products made in the building.
  • An in-house chocolatier team, with an extensive selection of handmade chocolates.
  • A gelato bar with fresh-served and scooped ice cream.
  • A selection of handheld mochie ice creams.
  • Global flavors aisle with spices and products from different culinary styles including Basque, Hispanic, Italian and more. 
  • Butcher block, featuring the ability to cook some items like salmon in-store while customers wait.
  • Unique meat selection, including wild boar, elk, buffalo and goat.
  • In-store dietician who can help customers with dietary needs. The service is available standalone and to those referred by a doctor.
  • A Boise State Broncos fan shop, with apparel items.
  • Home decor items and housewares.

Opening events

Albertsons Broadway opens to the public Friday, July 20th for a soft opening.

A grand opening celebration is set for Saturday, with prizes, food, happy hour pricing and more all day from 10am-9pm.

Regular store hours will be 7am-11pm - but during Boise State games and other functions, the bar area could stay open late.

Colgrove is excited to open to the public.

"I’m overwhelmed and excited about our fresh foods offerings - in particular our service deli that is innovative, clean ingredients with something for all," he said. "Joe's philosophy of innovation continues."

Albertsons sets opening date for large new Broadway store

Two years ago this month, BoiseDev broke news that Albertsons would tear down its small, dated store on Broadway and replace it with a large, 2-story showcase store.

Now, an opening date is set.

The Boise-based grocery giant will hold a grand opening on Saturday, July 21st, with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m., as well as events and activities throughout the day and into the evening until 9 p.m.

The store will have a soft opening on Friday, July 20th, according to a company spokesperson.  

The new store is nearly three times as large as the old one, which crews tore down earlier this year.

 

"This store will have an expanded selection of hot, ready-to-eat meals, expanded fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, scratch bakery, indoor and outdoor dining so you can enjoy your meals right here," division president Brad Street said during the groundbreaking last year.  "This store will be a destination for foodies; a place of food exploration, adventure and education— unlike anything this market has seen."

The store will also include a Starbucks, "Broadway on the Rocks" bar area and more. The second-floor terrace is positioned across the street from a planned Boise State baseball park, and will provide visitors with views of future baseball action.

The company had announced it would brand the store as Market Street Idaho - but later back-tracked, keeping the store (just a few blocks from Albertsons Stadium) under the original banner which first debuted in Boise in 1939. A similarly-formated store under construction on Fairview Ave. near Eagle Rd. is still planned to use the Market Street brand.

New Albertsons store gives McCall shoppers an upgrade

During the summer of 2017, visitors to the former Paul's Market might have felt like they were shopping in a construction zone. After being acquired by Albertsons Companies, a new store was built literally over the top of the old supermarket - and remained open for business nearly every day.

Related: Ridley's McCall gets total overhaul

Now complete, the new store features greatly expanded selection, as well as new bakery, produce, beer and fresh meat departments.  New fixtures and finishes are seen throughout the store.

The portion of the building that used to house a small amount of variety goods like clothing has been removed and replaced with an expanded two-story structure. New exterior architectural detailing matches the "log cabin" look of many buildings in the resort town.  

The store under construction last summer.

The store under construction last summer.

The expanded store feature a pharmacy for the first time, after Albertsons acquired McCall Drug and Blue Grouse Books on nearby 2nd Street. 

The store also has McCall's first Starbucks location (Shore Lodge serves a small selection of Starbucks products in its gift shop), as well as a second-floor mezzanine with outdoor seating.

Albertsons wants you to fuel your car without getting out your wallet

Albertsons Companies is working on new technology to make it easier to buy gas at one its fuel centers around the country.

Albertsons gas station in SE Boise. Don Day/BoiseDev

Albertsons gas station in SE Boise. Don Day/BoiseDev

During an investor day Tuesday, the company said it has developed a 1-Touch Pump and Go process that uses smartphone devices to make buying gas faster.

“You pull up to one of our in-house gas stations, (the technology) recognizes you’re at the gas station, it turns the pump on for ya, you fuel and it tenders you out and you are on your way," chief marketing and merchandising officer Shane Sampson said during the investor presentation. "We are making it fast and making it seamless."

The company says it plans to apply for a patent on the technology.

The test could come to Idaho soon.

"We are piloting One Touch in a fuel center in NorCal with a small employee group," Albertsons Companies VP of Communication and Education Christine Wilcox told BoiseDev. "Following that, we plan to also pilot it in Boise.  After that, we will determine a rollout schedule."

Albertsons currently operates more than 390 fuel centers.

The company is also looking at using smartphone technology to allow some purchases in stores without having to visit a checkstand.

 

"Amazon Go"-like technology could come to Albertsons stores

Amazon, Inc. is piloting a technology that allows customers to walk into a store, grab some items and leave -- without ever scanning a barcode or visiting a checkstand.

Now, Albertsons Companies hopes to try something similar. 

A Plated display at a Northern California Safeway. Don Day/BoiseDev

A Plated display at a Northern California Safeway. Don Day/BoiseDev

During its analyst day Tuesday to talk about the proposed merger with Rite Aid, company officials touted a test of a similar idea.

“We are experimenting with Amazon Go-like technology today where someone could come in and pick up a Plated order, it would know that you were in the store, it would tender an order and you could leave outside of the check stands," Shane Sampson, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer said during the presentation.

The company's presentation materials said the pilot is for a "limited set of products like Plated and other prepared foods."

Albertsons Companies VP of Communication and Education Christine Wilcox tells BoiseDev they have not yet started to pilot the technology.

A similar idea is being applied to gas stations - with a trial soon coming to Boise.

Albertsons and Rite Aid merger: What merger could mean for your local store

Albertsons Companies is laying out its future if shareholders approve a merger with Rite Aid.

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During a four-hour long presentation to Wall Street analysts, the company talked about how it plans to weave the two companies together - and how it thinks the combination will benefit customers and shareholders.

The Stats

Together, the two chains will have 4,866 total stores, with 4,327 total pharmacy counters. They will serve 40 million customers each week and employee 336,000 people. Albertsons says it will be first or second in terms of the prescription market in two-thirds of the markets it serves.

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They will generate $83 billion in revenue and make a profit (adjusted EBIDTA - a Wall Street jargon term for 'earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization) of $3.4 billion.

In Boise, Albertsons/Rite Aid will be the number one pharmacy provider when ranked on number of stores. The company says it will be ranked number one in the Intermountain Region, which includes Boise, for grocery sales.

Changes at Rite Aid

One of the key ideas from the merger will be to revamp the "front of store" operations at Rite Aid locations to integrate ideas and best practices from Albertsons stores.

The chain will "improve and expand" Rite Aid's fresh food offerings - with items like yogurt, fruit cups and sandwiches.  It also plans to bring the store label brand program Albertsons acquired when it purchased Safeway to Rite Aid.

"Albertsons can leverage its strong fresh and own brands grocery items at Rite Aid by offering various products such as branded fruits and veggies, cheeses, meats, dairy, and dry grocery, bottled waters and sodas," the company said in its presentation.

They also say they will look at the layouts of Rite Aid stores and "reviewing plans to expand grocery, fresh and liquor sections in Rite Aid."

Albertsons says it will apply its "full, fresh, friendly, fast & clean" operating model to the Rite Aid stores - focusing on customer service and well-merchandised stores.

Albertsons recent acquisition of Plated brings the chance to bring ready-to-prepare mealkits to Rite Aid stores and hopes to Plated approved in national health plans so "doctors can prescribe" the solution to patients.

Updates coming to Albertsons Companies stores

During the presentation, the companies said they plan to roll out the Rite Aid brand in nearly all stores owned by Albertsons regardless of the grocery brand (i.e. Albertsons, Safeway, Vons etc.). They said the will look for a "network effect" by increasing traffic in stores and basket size by rebranding the pharmacies as Rite Aid."  Plans don't include renaming the Jewel-Osco pharmacies which are centered on the greater Chicago area.

"Albertsons has private label (health and beauty) products... but can benefit from Rite Aid’s private label health and beauty offering,"  the company wrote.  Rite Aid products like nail care, first aid, lotions and OTC drugs could start being offered in Albertsons stores as well.

More in-store health clinics could come to Albertons stores in the future as well.

The combined company plans to "expand and enhance clinic operations for the combined company by utilizing existing well-invested, built-out space in Albertsons stores and leveraging Rite Aid’s experience and expertise in operating RediClinic.

Both chains

In Boise, Albertsons runs a minimal loyalty program focused on gas rewards - but at other stores across the country, it operates a more traditional loyalty program.  The company says it will combine this program with Rite Aid's "wellness+" program and roll this out shortly after closing.

The companies also plan to accelerate e-commerce options:

  • Expand Drive Up & Go options
  • Fully integrate Instacart availability
  • Currently trialing Grubhub, could expand to other food delivery apps like Uber Eats
  • Building multiple online storefronts (like an O Organics online store)

 

 

 

Albertons plans (another) new store for Meridian

Google Earth image

Google Earth image

Albertsons has purchased a 16-acre piece of land on Eagle Rd. at Amity Rd. in Meridian for a future store.

Communications and community relations manager Kathy Holland said the store is currently in the design phase and won't be open in 2018 but "a bit further out."  The store will fall under the company's traditional Albertsons branding, unlike a new Market Street Idaho store planned for Eagle and Fairview Ave about four miles away.

Developer The Land Group applied in 2016 to annex the site and additional 24 acres into the City of Meridian. That additional land would be used for single-family homes.

The new store will join a flurry of Albertsons projects in the Boise area, including a new store in Star, new stores on Broadway and Fairview Ave. and other projects below:

Albertsons+Rite Aid merger: Boise impact and analysis

Boise-based grocery giant Albertsons is set to merge with Rite Aid and again become a publicly-traded company. 

The transaction brings together the companies which Bob Miller has spent most of his career building.  Miller started with Albertsons as a store manager and served in a variety of roles until making it to EVP of of Retail. Later, he guided RIte AId as both CEO and executive chairman.

Now, if a deal is approved, Albertsons and Rite Aidwill become one company.

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The merger would bring together the assets owned by Rite Aid which aren't being acquired by Walgreens-Boots Alliance - 1,932 stores in all as well as all of the stores owned by Albertsons under one roof. 

Some deal highlights and analysis for Treasure Valley readers:

  • Headquarters will be in both Boise, Idaho and Rite Aid's HQ of Camp Hill, PA. The news release terms this as "co-headquarters." How this plays out on a long-term basis will be an open question for Treasure Valley leaders and workers.
    • Rite Aid CEO John Standley will be CEO, while Bob Miller will be Chairman.  Where Standley will be based isn't known.
    • When Albertsons merged with Safeway, co-headquarters were also announced in both Boise and Pleasanton, CA. Over time operations were moved to Boise and the company solidified its official HQ in the Treasure Valley. 
    • Rite Aid will pick four seats on the board, Albertsons will pick four seats and one seat will be jointly selected - giving this a carefully set structure to make the companies "equal" in the new entity. 
    • Albertsons shareholders (led by Cerberus Capital) will own 70% of the new entity.  
    • The companies will go public. Rite Aid is currently a publicly traded company while Albertsons is the nation's fourth-largest private company.  It has been working to go public for several years but has not been able to accomplish that goal.
  • The combined company name has not yet been hammered out, according to the news release.
  • In-store pharmacies owned by Albertsons will be rebranded as Rite Aid. Standalone Rite Aid locations will also continue.  In the Boise area, Rite Aid has nine pharmacy locations, while Albertsons has almost 20 (with more on the way).
    • Market overlap could be an issue for federal anti-trust regulators as it was in the original Walgreens/Rite Aid proposal. The company could be made to divest some locations or pharmacy lists in markets where together they would have outsized market control. 
    • With CVS entering the market, it could be an opportunity for that chain (or others) to acquire standalone pharmacy locations.
    • Locations like the Rite Aid and Albertsons that are directly across from each other at 17th and State could be tricky.
  • With the upcoming Market Street Idaho concept, the new company will operate three brands in the market (Albertsons, Rite Aid and Market Street). 
    • Store-branded product lines from both chains will be cross-polinated - O Organics items at Rite Aid for instance, and Daylogic at Albertsons.
  • A merging of loyalty programs - your phone number could earn gas and other rewards at both chains.

New Albertsons stores on Broadway & in Meridian won't be called Albertsons

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When the Albertsons market closes on Broadway Ave. this year, it will be replaced by a much larger store.  But in Joe Albertson's hometown, the store won't carry his name.

The store will carry the new Market Street Idaho brand - as will a forthcoming location in Meridian in the former Shopko on Fairview near Eagle Rd.

Market Street Idaho was created by a team of passionate, innovative food lovers with the goal of igniting Idaho’s passion for great food and elevated experiences,” said Susan Morris, EVP and Chief Operations Officer of Albertsons Companies said in a prepared statement. “Boise’s deep roots in great local food stem from our farming and ranching industry to our refugee and Basque communities. We think the time is right to bring new culinary experiences many hunger for but haven’t gotten yet locally through our Market Street Idaho stores.”

The Broadway Market Street Idaho store will employ about 200 people according to the company, while the Meridian store will give jobs to 300 folks.  The Broadway store is expected to open this summer while the Meridian store has a late-year timeline.    The existing Broadway Albertsons is now slated to close in April, leaving a gap of a few months without a store in the neighborhood.

Here's how Albertsons describes the stores:

Promising exclusive culinary delights and unique dishes, the Treasure Valley’s two Market Street Idaho stores will encourage customers to hone their inner chef through in-store culinary events and classes as well as time savers like catering services, an in-store restaurant style food court and other gourmet creations fit for the most discerning customers.

“In our Market Street Idaho store, our dedicated chocolatier might partner with one of our scratch bakers to create an art deco cake for an exclusive event, or our Head of Catering might work with our sommelier and masters in our fresh team to craft an exclusive wine pairing experience with fresh fruits and cheeses. We’re elevating the idea of what a grocery store can be here,” said John Colgrove, president of the company’s Intermountain division.

The Market Street name and concept are also used for a chain of stores the company acquired in Texas in 2013.

Renderings for the Broadway store show a second-floor Talon Taphouse, as well as in in-store Starbucks.

Albertsons to build store in fast-growing Star

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A real estate flyer for an adjacent parcel shows the new store site

A real estate flyer for an adjacent parcel shows the new store site

Another new Albertsons store is set to open in Ada County - this time in the community of Star.

The company purchased an 11.6 acre chunk of land on State St. near Can-Ada Rd., and is set to build a new store.

"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to both serve and support the Star community," Communications and Community Relations Manager Kathy Holland said. "Currently, we are working on plans for this new store location, however do not yet have a timeline in place."

Although Star is the smallest city in Ada County, it saw the fastest growth rate of any city over 5,000 residents in Idaho, according to Census data crunched by HomeSnacks. From 2010-2016, Star added 40% more people - not including the outlying areas.

The grocer has remodeled nearly every store it owns in Idaho, and has expanded with the purchase of Paul's Markets and planned construction of new stores in Boise's Barber Valley and Meridian. It also is building a new store at Broadway and Beacon that will replace a small aging store on the corner.

Albertsons re-enters Boise gas station market with SE Boise store

After selling local gas and convenience stations to Stinker in 2011 - Albertsons-branded gas stations are beginning to return to the market.

The first from-the-ground up new Albertsons Express in the area is now open at ParkCenter Blvd. and Apple St. on the site of a former Pizza Hut. 

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Old Pizza Hut to become Albertsons fuel center

The fuel center has a variety of modern features, including a walk-in beer cooler, digital soda fountain and more.  It also includes a drive-through around the back of the store where items can be purchased without leaving a vehicle.

The pumps are the first in the state to use EMV chips, according to Albertsons officials. 

Albertsons also acquired a gas station at its former Paul's Market location on Lake Hazel - and plans at least one more at a forthcoming store in Barber Valley.

Exclusive: Albertsons to launch new shopping feature in Boise

Albertsons first re-launched online shopping in the Treasure Valley last summer. Now the locally-based grocer is adding another convenience-focused feature.

Customers will soon be able to order groceries online and pick up at a store along the well-traveled Eagle Rd. coridoor. 

"For the initial rollout, customers will go online at shop.albertsons.com and select from a full assortment of grocery items. They will have the option to choose Delivery to home or Drive Up & Go store pick-up," Albertsons' Senior Director of Communications & Public Affairs Dennis McCoy said in an email. 

The service will start at the location on Eagle Rd. near McMillan Rd. starting in August. Customers will pull up to the store, parking a designated spot and call a number on the sign. An employee will then bring the order out to the customer's vehicle.

"We plan on expanding this service to other stores and banners in the future," McCoy said.

BoiseDev first reported on the project in April.

Screenshot of Drive Up & Go landing page from Safeway

Screenshot of Drive Up & Go landing page from Safeway

It shares a name and service type with Safeway's Drive Up & Go. In the wake of Albertsons' merger with Safeway, the two companies have looked for ways to spread ideas across banners.

The concept is similar to Fred Meyer's Clicklist.

Albertsons is one of a number of traditional grocers trying to compete amidst a changing landscape - with Amazon's recent purchase of Whole Foods (which Albertsons also bid for, according to sources within the company) and other factors roiling the traditional grocery business.

This is the latest in a spate of upgrades to Albertsons stores in the Treasure Valley:

Albertsons to launch new style market in Boise

UPDATE: June 7, 2017: Building permits have been filed for this project, a ground breaking is expected soon.

ORIGINAL: July 6, 2016: Albertsons Companies plans a drastic overhaul of one of its earliest (and smallest) Boise stores - with a totally new store at Broadway and Beacon. 

Hot on the heels of our exclusive on adding grocery delivery in the Treasure Valley, the Boise-based grocery giant will tear down its so-called Broadway market, along with several adjoining businesses - and replace it with a much larger and more modern store with some unique features.

Currently, the Albertsons store faces Beacon street and is part of a strip which includes a laundromat, liquor store, Noodles & Company and several vacant storefronts. Here's the current site plan:

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If it gets approval from planning and zoning, the retailer will begin work on a 70,000 square foot store which will face Broadway instead of Beacon - and back up onto Grant Avenue. The existing store will be torn down, along with a vacant medical office and most of the strip center. The Idaho State Liquor Store and Noodles will be retained, and will become a pad site - as will the existing Wells Fargo Bank. This is how the site will look upon completion:

The store itself has been designed with a unique format which will include a second floor area and outdoor balcony. Documents filed with the City of Boise indicate the new store would include an indoor/outdoor space on the second floor for "family and group gathering and dining functions." The store borrowed design elements from the original Vista Village Albertsons Department store that dates to 1953, according to the documents (a source of Day family pride ;) ). In this archive photo of the old VV Albertsons you can see a metal trellis with the store name/logo on top - which figures into the design shown in the renderings below.

The new store will back up on to Grant Ave.  The company has gone to quite a bit of work to try and preemptively answer potential city planner concerns by dressing up the sides of the building that will face residences.  A row of homes once lined Grant - but they have all ben purchased and torn down, allowing Albertons to expand on the site. Here's a Google aerial image from 1999:

A P&Z hearing will be held in August. Albertsons hopes to build the new store before tearing down the existing building.

Old Pizza Hut to become Albertons fuel center

Google Earth image

Google Earth image

Albertsons LLC continues to expand its fuel center outlets in the Boise market, after previous ownership jettisoned the strategy. 

In 2011, former Albertsons owner Supervalu sold 11 local Albertsons Express convenience and fuel center locations to Boise-based Stinker.

The local Albertsons stores, now owned by Boise-based Albertsons LLC have been tip-toeing back into the gas station market, with the purchase of a former Paul's Market grocery store and fuel location in Lake Hazel Rd.  BoiseDev also was the first to report on a new fuel center at a planned location in Barber Valley.

Albertsons has filed to tear down the Pizza Hut building at the corner of Apple St. and ParkCenter Blvd., adjacent to its flagship store in the Southshore Shopping Center.  The company's general headquarters are down the street.

Filings with the City of Boise indicate the grocer will build a 3,000 square foot convenience store with six fuel dispensers. According to a recent filing with the SEC, the company owns 385 fuel centers - many of them branded under the Safeway banner.

This is one of a flurry of projects by Albertsons in the area.

Albertsons expands in McCall, buys popular drugstore

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Albertsons continues to remodel the stores it acquired from Paul's Market - including the McCall store on Lake St.  

The location is undergoing a large expansion on the site, and the current building is seeing a significant remodel, with new fixtures, finishes and inventory. The portion of the building that used to house a small amount of variety goods like clothing has been removed and replaced with an expanded structure. New exterior architectural detailing matches the "log cabin" look of many buildings in the resort town.  

The expanded store will feature a pharmacy for the first time, as Albertsons has acquired McCall Drug and Blue Grouse Books on nearby 2nd Street. That location has been converted to a small Albertsons/Savon pharmacy, but will relocate to the former Paul's building later this year, according to employees with McCall Drug.  

The store will also have McCall's first Starbucks location (Shore Lodge serves a small selection of Starbucks products in its gift shop), as well as a second floor mezzanine and the usual Albertsons array of produce, meats and floral department features. 

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Remodel war zone

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Former McCall Drug

Former Albertsons CEO's luxury pad is for sale... still

LysiBishop.com screenshot

LysiBishop.com screenshot

Larry Johnston came to Boise in 2001 as an exalted General Electric leader. He was supposed to give Boise-based grocer Albertsons a Six Sigma sheen and turbocharge growth.

Instead, he drove down the stock, ruffled feathers and drove the chain to a sell-off that split it in three parts in 2006.  His five years weren't great for his impact on Boise's economy (except maybe the 20 grand Albertsons paid BPD officers to guard the Albertsons corporate HQ.... really)

He left town after the selloff but still owns a giant 5,000-foot plus condo on the 16th floor of the Grove Hotel.  Zach Kyle at the Idaho Statesman showcased the condo listing - and BoiseDev has confirmed it's the condo still owned by Johnston's family trust.

$1.98 million gets you a big condo with sweeping views of Boise, a raft of bedrooms and private patios. Plus, you can put some cash in ol' Larry's pocket.

 

Albertsons plans grocery pick-up drive-thru at Eagle Rd. store

Boise-based Albertsons has filed plans with the City of Boise to add a drive-thru to its store at 4700 N. Eagle Rd.

Architect CSHQA says the drive-thru is for "an online order pick-up area," and would replace an existing outdoor items area.

Workers would bring orders to customers who pull up to the drive-thru lane.

CSHQA says the online pick-up service has modest use at other stores. "Albertsons stores currently operating an online pick-up service are averaging about 20 customers per week," the filing notes.

Revised filings for a store in Boise's Barber Valley also show a drive-thru lane - though it is unclear if that store would offer a similar service.

 

 

Albertsons may buy Whole Foods - report

Boise-based Albertsons Companies is rumored to be considering a takeover bid for natural grocer Whole Foods.  If the company follows its "playbook" for integrations used for past acquisitions (including Safeway), it would likely mean the combined company would continue to be headquartered in Boise.

Whole Foods has revenue of $12.9 billion - about a fifth as much as Albertsons' estimated $58.7 billion.

Albertsons was founded in Boise in 1939. A small passel of stores remained headquartered in the City of Trees when the bulk of the company was sold off to Supervalu and CVS. After Supervalu failed to do much with its chunk of the company, the smaller Boise-based Albertsons division bought them.  It then swallowed the larger Safeway - and now could be considering a purchase of Whole Foods.  As of January, Albertons reported it owned 2,237 stores. Whole Foods would add another 431 stores.  That total of nearly 2,700 would put it within striking distance of category leader Kroger (owner of Fred Meyer) in terms of number of stores owned.

BoiseDev reported last August that Albertsons was considering a "meaningful" purchase of additional stores - which Whole Foods would count in that category.

We also noted last week how the company is putting additional focus on the Boise market.

 

Albertsons & Safeway: a timeline

BoiseDev.com research

1915 -  Skaggs Cash Store in American Falls, Idaho by MB Skaggs

1926 - Skaggs, Safeway merge - combined company  takes Safeway name 

1939 - Albertsons founded in Boise by Joe Albertson, a former Safeway manager - in partnership with LS Skaggs, MB's brother

1969 - Albertsons & Skaggs Drug Centers (started by LS Skaggs) form joint venture for grocery/drug store concept

1977 -  Albertsons & Skaggs Drug Centers part ways amicably

1978 - Skaggs & American Stores merge, taking the American Stores name

1999 - Albertsons buys American Stores, and briefly becomes nation's largest grocer

2001 - Larry Johnston hired as Albertsons CEO after career at GE. Immediately cuts staff by 20%, closes hundreds of stores and pulls out of markets like Houston & New Orleans

2006 - After Johnston's efforts fail, a diminished Albertsons is split in three pieces and sold off: Standalone drug stores went to CVS, most grocery stores sold to Supervalu, and a small group of so-called "underperforming" stores sold to Cerberus Capital Mgmt.

2013 - After sputtering, Supervalu sells most of its stores to the Cerberus group

2015 - Newly reunited Albertsons chain completes purchase of the larger Safeway - making it the nation's second-largest grocer

Albertsons puts focus on home market

BoiseDev photo illustration

BoiseDev photo illustration

Albertsons is making a surprising number of moves in its home market of the greater Boise area - as it reinvests in the area.

  • Meridian Press reports the grocer may be planning to open a store in the former Shopko space on Fairview at Eagle Rd. Shopko closed the store late last year.
  • MP also notes Albertsons won approval for a new store at Amity Rd & Eagle Rd.
  • BoiseDev was first to report the grocer is working to win approval of a new store in Boise's Barber Valley on ParkCenter Blvd.
  • BoiseDev also first reported on a replacement of its aging Broadway store with a new-concept two-story store on Broadway Ave. at Beacon St.
  • It is also re-adding fuel centers to the market - including the one acquired in the Paul's acquisition on Lake Hazel Rd., and plans for a new one at the future Barber Valley store.
  • The company purchased Paul's Market and has been remodeling the stores at in Caldwell, Mtn. Home, Melba and McCall.
  • The company is currently expanding its "set store" in SE Boise - a closed-to-the-public facility next to its store in the Southshore Plaza. It has spent more than a million dollars on the project since last year.
  • The grocer is remodeling most of its local stores - giving them an updated, uniform look.
  • Oh, and it put its name on a stadium.

The company has posted scores of jobs in recent months, including a "pharmacy acquisitions manager" and others.

Last year we took a deep dive look at the company and the way it is changing. 

In the two years since the merger with Safeway, the company says it has added more than 26,000 jobs nationwide and built 23 new stores.