Safeway in Spokane, 1941


While doing research for some long-promised updates on the site, I ran across this ad from 1941 that lists six new “deluxe drive-in” Safeway stores in Spokane, Washington, along with a list of all then-extant stores in the city. It gives a great picture of Safeway’s presence in one city at the time, as well as providing a glimpse into the state of the chain in general.

By 1940, Safeway had moved decisively into the “supermarket” era after a somewhat conservative start. New stores at the time averaged 6000-6500 square feet and boasted tiled meat and produce departments and employee showers. These stores were also among the first to feature parking lots as a standard amenity, usually to the side of the store and approximately the same square footage as well. Safeway had been building some stores with parking lots as early as the late 1920s, but they were far from universal. In fact, in 1940, Safeway was operating hundreds of older units in taxpayer strips or on the first floors of apartment or commercial buildings, most of which were a fraction of the size of the new supermarkets and some of which dated from the 1920s and had originally operated under any number of other brands. The Spokane stores, for example, had largely started under the Piggly Wiggly, MacMarr, or Pay’n Takit names, all of which had different points of entry into the Safeway corporate structure.


A surprising number of Safeway’s class of 1941 are still standing in Spokane, including a very ornate former Pay”n Takit store like the one shown above. Here’s the list:

New “Deluxe Drive-in” stores:

Existing stores:

  • 514 S. Washington St.
  • 727 W. Garland Av.
  • 814 W. Riverside Av.
  • 1704 N. Monroe St.
  • 5005 N. Market St.
  • 3002 Grand Av.
  • 2022 E. Sprague Av. (this is a very ornate former Pay’n Takit)
  • 3315 Northwest Blvd.
  • Division at Sinto
  • Hamilton and Mission (interestingly enough, there’s still a Safeway at this intersection, albeit not a 70-plus year old one)

One thought on “Safeway in Spokane, 1941

  1. capricornOne

    August 5, 2010 at 7:28pm

    awesome ad!
    the store on 10th and monroe is still standing. it was a jones drug store for years, but has recently closed down. this site is currently up for lease. there is a huckleberry’s natural foods store (used to be an iga, and i think at one time it might have been a safeway too), a dry cleaners & hair salon in a little strip. interestingly enough, the 10th and monroe safeway employed the first female meat cutter in town…..

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  2. hornblwr

    September 9, 2010 at 12:14am

    The ad is a great find! I’m surprised I didn’t come across it when I was doing research for my college paper …

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  3. Tom S.

    April 9, 2011 at 3:39pm

    The 10th and Monroe store will soon be an Ace Hardware. We used to shop at the Dishman store until it moved further east on Sprague in the early 60’s then, the old store burned. The Opportunity store is now a post office. The 2022 E. Sprague store was in operation as a safeway until at least the mid 80’s, and then was converted to a bingo parlor, and still looks just as it did other than the signage, when it closed.

    And the prices! Talk about dollar devaluation! Yikes!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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