The Fuel Your Influence Conference is just FOUR months away and we are getting excited around here… VERY excited!
Over the next few months, I want you to have the chance to get to know the sponsors and speakers I have come to know and love. All of these wonderful people and brands are helping make this intensive learning opportunity for bloggers and influencers available right here in Denver, Colorado!
Of course, I’d be remiss if we didn’t start with our truly amazing and generous PRESENTING sponsor: Safeway!
If you’re from Colorado, you KNOW Safeway because Safeway stores are everywhere! In fact, there are more than 100 locations in Colorado alone!
I invite you to join me as we take some time to get to know the local Safeway marketing team a little better…
Interview featuring Amy Kirby (Director of Marketing – Denver Division), Kris Staaf (PR Director), and Anthony Gubitosi (Digital Marketing Manager)
Q: I understand that each Safeway is regionally managed. Can you share a bit more with us about how you’re set up and why it’s important that Colorado stores are managed locally?
A: Safeway’s business model is to manage each store as close to the neighborhood as possible so that our stores reflect the needs of our customers and the community. Having our stores managed at the local level is important because we can adjust to the needs of our customers in terms of the products that we carry and the community organizations we support.
Grocery stores are the cornerstone of the community and as a company, our job is to try to make each day better – better for our customers, better for our employees and better for our community. That’s not just a motto, that’s something we take very seriously at Safeway.
Q: How many locations do you have throughout the Denver metro area? Do you have any plans for contracting or expanding the number of locations?
A: We have 37 stores in the Denver metro area and 100 stores throughout Colorado. We are always looking at potential new sites. We are currently focusing our efforts on updating stores with new décor kits, adjusted merchandising sets to better allow for new product innovation and carrying more locally produced items.
Additionally, the evolution of e-commerce has changed the way grocers do business. As a leader in this industry, we are continuing to develop our e-commerce platform around home delivery and drive-up-and-go-services.
Q: I noticed several Safeways are under renovation? Can you tell us more about what you’re doing and why stores are undergoing such renovations?
A: We are always investing in our stores and have several remodels in progress. In some cases, we are simply updating the look and feel of our store to make sure we offer a pleasant shopping experience. In other stores we are expanding the footprint of the store to accommodate additional departments and retail space.
One significant and exciting change comes with a new Colorado law that allows grocery stores to sell full strength beer starting in January of 2019. Full strength beer is a new category for more than 100 of our stores and we are working to make space and adding coolers so we can carry a wide assortment of beer, including local Colorado craft beer.
Finally, we have several resets underway. This allows us to rearrange our product offering to make room for all of the new products such as locally produced items, organic, natural and gluten-free products.
Q: What do you think sets Safeway apart from competitor grocers in Denver?
A: Safeway sets itself apart by offering the highest quality meat, fruits and vegetables. All of our beef is from Colorado and is USDA Choice grade. It’s prepared fresh in every store with on-site butchers.
We also have a “fresh-cut” program in our produce department giving customers great time-saving side dishes, meal starters and healthy snacks. Every item is freshly cut in every store daily.
Finally, our loyalty program is second-to-none making it easy for our customers to save on items that are important to them. We have the ability to customize price saving offerings and coupons based on shopping history.
Q: What is the fastest growing grocery segment at Safeway? Why do you think there is such an interest in this segment?
A: Research shows that natural and organic is the fastest growing segment in grocery. There is such interest in this segment because now more than ever people care about what’s in their food, what they put in their bodies, and what they serve to their families. To keep ahead of the curve, Safeway has added thousands of natural, organic, and even local products to our shelves.
On another note, fresh prepared foods are a hot ticket – this includes things like rotisserie chickens, fresh cut veggies and fruits, healthy on-the-go snacks and even pre-prepped meal kits. Safeway also is on trend in this regard as we offer an unrivaled selection of fresh cut fruit and veggies that we prepare in-store daily. We also have acquired the meal kit service, Plated, and have lots of new innovations planned around that partnership in the coming months as well.
For us, it’s all about offering convenience and options. Nowadays, customers tell us what products they what and how they want to shop for them.
Q: Please share one thing you think most people will be surprised to learn about Safeway?
A: Safeway is focused on providing the best fresh meat for our customers and that’s why we stay committed to carrying local Colorado Angus Beef and having butchers in every store. This means that our meat is guaranteed to be fresh, great-tasting, and served by veteran butchers who really know their craft. A customer can always have any piece of meat specially cut just the way they like it!
Q: What’s in store for Safeway in the coming year(s)?
A: Safeway will continue to update stores with new décor and more local products, and will continue to be a leader by bringing in new and innovative products. We will continue to develop and grow our home delivery and online services so that customers can shop with us in whatever way is convenient to them. And, and mentioned, we’re preparing for the arrival of full strength beer in January 2019!
Q: Please share why Safeway decided to sponsor this year’s Fuel Your Influence Conference.
A: A lot of people don’t realize that Safeway stores are managed locally in the regions in which we operate. This means we are a big part of your community! We donate to local causes, partner with local businesses, and we care about our local footprint and how it affects our customers.
We believe the Fuel Your Influence Conference sponsorship is a perfect opportunity to get to know our community a little better, make some meaningful connections, and maybe learn a thing or two in the process.
Q: How does Safeway typically work with influencers in the community? What role does Safeway see influencers playing in the future of its business?
A: Safeway works with influencers in the community in several ways. We love to sponsor events put on by local influencers and personalities, whether it’s the title sponsor of a large conference or floral donations to an intimate influencer brunch. We also work with influencers on product launches, reviews, recipe creation and meal solutions. It should be noted that we love to work with influencers of all kinds – from well-known influencers down to influencers who are just starting out and looking to build their audience. We welcome the opportunity to work together in mutually beneficial ways.
That said, local influencers are a huge part of our strategy because they are a great conduit between brands and customers. It makes sense then that influencers are a great way to integrate into the community and make genuine connections with consumers, and in many cases, the relationships we build benefit the influencer, our business and consumers!
Q: What are you most looking forward to when it comes to working with our conference attendees?
A: We are looking forward to getting to meet more of our shoppers, gaining insights and forging new symbiotic partnerships.
You can meet the Safeway team on October 13, 2018 at the Fuel Your Influence Conference in Denver, Colorado. Tickets go on sale August 1st. Please mark your calendars and get ready for an exciting conference focused on fueling your influence!