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North Beach’s largest grocery store will shutter, in major blow to neighborhood

A street view of the former Safeway store in North Beach, San Francisco.
Google Street View of Safeway's 350 Bay St. location.

The Safeway on the northern edge of North Beach near Fisherman’s Wharf will close on May 27, leaving a significant void in a neighborhood with comparatively few large supermarkets.

The Standard confirmed the closure with store manager Christopher Benitez Friday morning. Benitez said it was a corporate decision that was purely for financial reasons.

“The company evaluates the store, and if it doesn’t make sense to keep one open, they don’t,” said Benitez.

All 65 employees at Safeway’s 350 Bay St. location are expected to be transferred to other stores, he added.

North Beach, as a compact, hilly and dense neighborhood with many narrow streets, otherwise presents few parcels on which something as large as a supermarket could be built—let alone a parking lot. While Safeway maintains nearby supermarkets in the Marina and by the Embarcadero Center, this store’s closure deprives a populous and tourist-heavy neighborhood of a full-scale grocery store with extended hours. 

There is a Trader Joe’s directly opposite the soon-to-shutter Safeway, and the comparatively upmarket Luke’s Local opened on Green Street and Columbus Avenue earlier in March. But with the recently announced closure of San Francisco’s four Amazon Go locations, North Beach and Chinatown are primarily served by bodegas and small corner markets.

San Francisco’s Safeways have seen their fair share of problems in recent months, including rampant shoplifting and reduced hours at several stores. Additionally, a shooting at an Outer Mission location in November 2022 injured a store security guard.

Astrid Kane can be reached at astrid@sfstandard.com