Safeway tries to remake Randalls

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The Chronicle‘s David Kaplan writes about Safeway’s big remodel of Randalls stores, after years of neglect since the California grocer acquired the chain:

Just a few years ago, some loyal customers were writing Randalls off, blaming new owner Safeway for discontinuing several of their favorite brands and cutting back on service. Its local market share fell dramatically.

Randalls is launching a comeback with a new game plan called the “lifestyle” remodel, which brings in more fresh and gourmet foods, organics and other features and gives stores a more pleasing look.

Since the lifestyle concept debuted at a Houston Randalls in 2004, it’s been taken up a few notches.

For example, the Montrose location’s big nut bar has 40 varieties of nuts and six machines, which allow customers to make nut butter.

It’s the first Randalls nut bar in Texas.

It has a redesigned produce section, five aisles of organic foods and an expanded wine section with a full-time wine steward.

“If people were ever disenchanted from years past, come back and see us. I think they’ll be very pleased,” Steve Frisby, president of Randalls, said.

I gave up on the Montrose-area Randalls some time ago because it seemed like Safeway had just let the store go to hell (frankly). Has anyone tried out the newly redesigned Montrose store? Or any others in the area?

And as an aside for you wine lovers — would you be inclined to use the Randall’s wine steward, as opposed to the smart folks at Spec’s (or some of the other local shops that specialize in wine)?

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