Safeway was originally founded in American Falls, Idaho, when Marion Barton Skaggs purchased his father’s grocery store for $1,089 in 1915. Originally called Skaggs United, Marion enlisted the help of his 5 brothers to help expand the business. In 1925, Skaggs doubled the number of stores when he purchased Sam Seelig’s grocery stores. The name was then changed to Safeway.
By 1926, there were 322 stores in southern California and controlling interest in the company was sold to Merrill Lynch.
In 1927, the company went public. In 1929, the company expanded to Canada.
By 1932, there were 3400 Safeway stores.
In 1959, the first store was opened in Alaska.
In 1986, the company was taken private by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The company subsequently sold off many of its holdings to pay down assumed debt.
In 1990, the company went public again.
Safeway, like many other grocery chains, is trying to entice customers into shopping online and having them delivered but most customers would rather shop at the stores, according to Forbes.
Today, Safeway has over 900 stores in the United States and 224 stores in Canada. 80% of the stores are located in the Western parts of each country.