Neighborhood Watch: Rally to Save Rodent-Infested Safeway on Rhode Island Avenue NE
The Issue: Edgewood neighborhood residents will rally at 11 a.m. Monday at Safeway at 514 Rhode Island Ave. NE to prevent the grocer from moving out March 6. The “rally is geared toward stopping Safeway from moving out so quickly,” says local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) commissioner Debbie Smith [UPDATE: Smith is a former ANC commissioner. City Desk regrets the error]. The D.C. Department of Health briefly shut the store last month after an inspection found health violations–rodent droppings and dried blood, among them. Safeway has not made an official announcement, but word of the closing spread from employees, Smith says; the store apparently is no longer viable financially. Safeway’s departure leaves residents without a nearby grocery store.
Mosey On Out: “Safeway sucks–IMHO,” writes neighborhood resident Jason Hawke in a listserv. “We don’t need to rally to save them; we need to rally to demand respect from corporate stores." The parent Safeway hasn't provided the local store—which Smith says suffers from a slew of sanitation issues and bad produce and foods—with the necessary upgrades to effectively serve the community. Some residents would rather see a Wegmans or Trader Joe's move in, says resident Jacqueline Young.
Not So Fast!: Safeway’s immediate departure has other local residents up in arms—notably the large senior population. Many have been shopping at the Safeway for years—and change is difficult, Smith says. Safeway’s Edgewood closing “would cause a devastating blow to our already underserved community,” wrote Michael Clark, Sr., president of the Edgewood Civic Association in an ECA Resolution Letter to Safeway.
What’s Next: Wegmans moving in? (The excitement is insurmountable). If Safeway does go, the community plans to bring in “a grocery store that is nice, friendly, clean, well-lit, well-stocked and provides an array of foods. And Wegmans has been a hot item on the listserv,” Smith says. Good riddance to rodent droppings–seems like Safeway's doing the neighborhood a favor.