Customers are finding more local products stocked on the shelves of Prince Albert’s Safeway. In fact, the entire grocery store became more local when Wes Erlendson purchased it as a franchise model in June of 2016 – making it the first franchised Safeway in western Canada.
“As a franchise owner, you’re driving the business. It is your own,” Erlendson said. “You work harder, you pay attention to detail…and you are more community minded.”
The end result is an enhanced customer experience. The owner, who has been with Safeway since 2000, spends time working in every department to find efficiencies that will allow his staff to spend more time with customers.
In the past, the Prince Albert Safeway missed opportunities to keep items fully stocked. Fixing that has been a key focus for Erlendson. All order writers are focusing their priority on having all items fully stocked, he is also monitoring what products customers are looking for.
“As I understand what my customers want to buy, I will try to offer that product at a better value and more often,” Erlendson explained.
Recently, the store began providing more ‘cut fruit’ options in the produce department, along with ready made salads and value added meals in packages suitable for the oven or microwave that can be found in the meat department.
“In the deli, we have ready to cook meals that are different than your regular frozen lasagna,” he said. “We might have perogies with some sausage so you get a restaurant quality meal at value price and at your convenience.” Then Erlendson continues “add a Starbucks™ coffee or Latte in the cozy little corner of the store and your meal is complete!” The coffee shop style Starbucks™ serves all the specialty coffees of a regular Starbucks™ location right in the store so you can pick up a beverage to enjoy as you shop.
The grocery store has also introduced new products. Erlendson noted a walnut and pear pizza offered in the deli department as an example.
More emphasis is being put on finding local products. The store started selling Saskatchewan brand Drake sausage and bacon and is hoping to offer a wide range of locally sourced products and produce in the near future.
While he is still obligated to support Safeway’s corporate programs, Erlendson can create his own manager specials. Thousands of product prices have been lowered and Air Miles® rewards program offerings have increased, and every individual purchase regardless of amount at Safeway upon swiping your Air Miles® card is contributing to your rewards.
Being a local owner Erlendson is approachable on any concern and is always ready to meet the local people involved in their community.
Another initiative that is venturing forward is a fax your order into the store. An employee will then prepare your items and have it ready for you to pick up at the store when you arrive. “Customers can browse our online flyer and create their list as well as add staples they require and we can save them time, this will especially assist patrons in remote areas of northern Saskatchewan” Erlendson added.
The store also offers a complete Pharmacy that also accepts Air Miles® on prescription services. Customers can have their Doctor send their prescription direct to Safeway Pharmacy, don’t forget that you can grab a beverage at Starbucks™ with a large sitting area or drinks to go while you get your prescription.
Already in the spotlight as a recipient of the Prince Albert Best of the Best Award for having the best bakery and being the best place to buy flowers, Erlendson is inviting the community to explore some of the new initiatives his local franchise is offering; great customer service competitive pricing and an owner and management team open to listen to your suggestions and concerns. Next time you are in the store say Hi to Wes the owner you will be glad you did.
Safeway Prince Albert is open 7 days a week 8:00am – 10:00pm located in the south Hill Mall
2995-2nd Avenue West. Dial 306-922-1242 Fax number 306-763-0011
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