Transition Underway – Corporate Safeway To Locally Owned Missoula Fresh Market [AUDIO]
Employees of Missoula Fresh Market have practically become cross-eyed changing out hundreds of thousands of computer-generated price tags from Safeway to the new owners.
Co-owner Craig Holtet told KGVO News on Wednesday that the two computer systems can't communicate, so all the tags on every item in every aisle must be changed out by hand.
"We think grocery shopping should be simpler," Holtet said. "We think pricing should be less 'gimmicky', like 'buy five get two free', and we don't do that. Instead of 'two for three' , the price is just $1.49. It's much less complicated and much simpler and more straightforward. That's the way we do business."
Holtet says the former Safeway employees are excited by the new locally-owned management.
"The biggest benefit for them is that we empower our employees a lot more than a big corporation does, and we value their input," he said. "They can listen to and respond to the customer right away, rather than sending everything up the corporate chain."
Holtet says the gas pumps will stay, but will be under the Conoco brand, so instead of earning discounts by shopping at the store, using a Conoco credit card will save each customer gets five cents a gallon.
The confusion will disappear altogether once the outside signage is changed from Safeway to Missoula Fresh Markets.
"The old Safeway signs will be coming down next Tuesday or Wednesday, and the new signs will go up in a week or so," Holtet said. "A lot of the signs inside the store have already changed, so we're working from the inside out."
Holtet and his partner Ron Ramsbach purchased the Orange Street Food Farm over a year ago, and have since purchased the two Missoula Safeway stores on Reserve and Broadway, which are now becoming Missoula Fresh Market stores.