Fillmore Safeway remains open

Fillmore-residents-protest-Safeway-closure-012324-by-Kevin-Epps-1400x1050, Fillmore Safeway remains open, Local News & Views
Fillmore elders put their long experience with protesting adverse changes in their community to use on Jan. 23 at this rally calling for the Safeway to stay open. Supervisor Dean Preston, visible near the center back of the crowd, supports their position. – Photo: Kevin Epps

by Daphne Young

After community outcry and some negotiating with Mayor London Breed and District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, owners of Safeway have agreed to keep the Fillmore Safeway store, located at 1335 Webster St., open for one more year. That’s at least until January 2025.

Early last month Safeway notified the City of San Francisco, via email, that they would be closing the store that has served Fillmore and Japantown residents for decades.

“I was so disappointed when they said the store was closing,” said Viola Wilson, a native of Fillmore. “I just can’t understand it. This is a nice store and it serves as a one-stop shop for many seniors like me who go to the bank, pharmacy and grocery store all in one place.”

On Jan. 4, 2024, Safeway announced their anticipated March closure of the Webster Street Safeway location, after the company reached an agreement to sell the 3.68-acre site, known as Webster Plaza, to Align Real Estate, with plans to build a mixed-use development to include housing and commercial space.

But, as soon as the announcement circulated in the community, longtime Fillmore customers and residents held a rally on Jan. 23, 2024, to express their concerns about Safeway’s less than 60-days notice to close their doors and potentially create another food desert, this time in the Fillmore community.

“I watched Golden Land Market close down in this community,” said Wilson. “We had California Food at Laguna and Eddie. I watched that close down, too. I remember the Safeway on Fillmore and Turk, where the police station is now. Fillmore had three supermarkets back in the day, and now we only have one, and they’re going to take that away?”

Supervisor Dean Preston wrote a letter to Safeway asking them to consider meeting with community members and to answer questions and hear the community’s perspective. After extensive discussions with the mayor and city officials, Safeway and the site’s new owners, Align Real Estate, decided NOT to close the store, at least for another year.

“We have decided to extend the closing date to January 2025 to give the community and the City more time to establish a transition plan,” Safeway said in a statement. “Beyond the closure, we will continue to serve this community with our grocery delivery services and will work with our customers to transfer their prescriptions to another Safeway location or a location of their choice. We remain committed to serving San Francisco at our remaining 15 locations.” 

Fillmore-Safeway-ParaTransit-out-front-by-Daphne-Young-1400x1050, Fillmore Safeway remains open, Local News & Views
The Fillmore Safeway is a popular place to meet friends while shopping. For only $2.50 each way, elderly and disabled folks can ride ParaTransit to the store to shop and socialize. – Photo: Daphne Young

Safeway management refused an interview with the SF Bay View to discuss the reasons for their move. But, at least for now, City officials are just glad another major chain isn’t shutting its doors in San Francisco.

“The Webster Street Safeway is more than a grocery store. It serves as a space that brings together and builds community for the Fillmore neighborhood, which is home to many senior citizens and families. I am pleased to share we have come to an agreement that extends services at this Safeway location until next year,” said Mayor London Breed. The Fillmore is historically San Francisco’s largest Black neighborhood, once known as “Harlem of the West.”

Safeway has 15 other locations across the city, but this is the only full-service grocery store in the Fillmore area.

Daphne Young is freelance journalist in San Francisco who currently writes and reports for the SF Bay View and the SF Chronicle. She also fills in as an anchor and reporter at KQED Radio. The Chicago native has won numerous awards over the years and is a general assignment reporter who covers everything from breaking news, crime, social justice, business, sports and entertainment. Contact her at