Safeway entered the New York City area in 1941 with the purchase of the Daniel Reeves chain. At the time, Daniel Reeves had 498 locations, 215 of which were in the city. This acquisition gave Safeway more NYC locations than even A&P had at the time. The Reeves stores were almost exclusively small neighborhood service-type locations, while A&P had already begin supermarket conversions by this time. From the list below, it’s apparent that Safeway offloaded a large number of these locations in its first two years, particularly in Manhattan and Queens. Safeway also purchsed the New Jersey-based National Grocery Co. in 1941, giving it a few stores in Staten island.
Safeway’s time in New York was brief and apparently not too successful; in 1961, the division was sold to First National Stores. After the sale, the stores briefly operated as Safeway – First National before rebranding as Finast.
There were no city directories published for New York City after 1933, so these listings come froma variety of other resources:
- 1939-40 Daniel Reeves listings come from telephone directories (unusual, because chains often did not list individual locations in the phone book at this time).
- 1941-42 locations come from newspaper sources (ads and alcohol license notices). The Queens locations could not be identified in this manner, so they are marked with question marks.
- The remainder come from more consistent newspaper sources, primarily advertisements. It was rare for ads to include all locations within a large city like New York, so this required some digging (and is the reason there is no data for the mid-1950s).
- Daniel Reeves did not have stores in Staten Island, but New Jersey’s National Grocery Co. (also purchased by Safeway in 1941) did, and several of these made the transition. I am trying to find specific on which ones, but there are some question marks for now.
There are probably a few missing locations, but this should be a pretty good record of Safeway’s operations in New York City, including the locations that made the transition from Daniel Reeves in 1941 and to First National in 1961.