Update: Junction QFC opens, after sneak-preview tour

ORIGINAL 6:50 AM REPORT: That’s QFC president Donna Giordano, one of many executives in the Bellevue-headquartered chain (owned by national chain Kroger) here at the new Junction QFC, which opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7 am. We just finished a preview tour with QFC media liaison Kristin Maas taking us around as workers bustled to finish the last-minute touches. Got to see some items we didn’t know they were offering – like gelato:

Here’s the sandwich menu:

The main parking for the store is on a deck you enter from 42nd, with elevators and a staircase leading down.

The street entrance at 42nd/Alaska has a seating area, as does a corner right inside the store, close to its Starbucks kiosk. The store is managed by Jeff Brown, who used to run the Westwood Village QFC:

We’ll add video and info after the ribbon-cutting – just as we finish this (writing from inside the store), someone announced over the loudspeaking, “Ten minutes till ribbon-cutting! Everyone start clearing the store. Have a good time, and remember, customer first.” The store’s open 24 hours a day and is the chain’s 75th store, first one they’ve opened in two years, since the Uptown store near Seattle Center in Lower Queen Anne. It has 110 employees, and a QFC news release says “60 of them are new to QFC – net new jobs.” ADDED 7:51 AM: Here’s the ribboncutting less than an hour ago:

Dozens of early-bird shoppers poured into the store afterward; we’ll have another report coming up with more video, including what Capco Plaza owner/developer Leon Capelouto – a longtime Junction entrepreneur – told us right after he went inside. (If you’re on Facebook, be sure to “friend” us at WS Blog – we’ve just added an “album” with all 20-plus stills we took inside the store before it opened.)

58 Replies to "Update: Junction QFC opens, after sneak-preview tour"

  • "git some!" September 16, 2009 (7:48 am)

    ask me about the new qfc

  • beachdrivegirl September 16, 2009 (7:53 am)

    I am so excited for this QFC to open. -And to top it off those our my families Apples. too funny! :)

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (7:55 am)

    Perhaps “Git” is referring to the lovely young woman wearing a T-shirt with that slogan, as noted during the various remarks before the ribboncutting. She may be in the video we add for our followup story … TR

  • Kayleigh September 16, 2009 (8:03 am)

    Gelato…yum. We hope to stop by tonight and check it out. :)

  • Craig H September 16, 2009 (8:13 am)

    I hope QFC paid you for this advertisement.

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (8:22 am)

    Nope, they’re not a sponsor. (In the grocery world, we do have two current sponsors – PCC and AmazonFresh, and every time we mention a sponsor in ANY context, even an events-calendar listing, we identify them as [WSB sponsor].) New businesses opening, and what’s inside them, are news.

  • Bender September 16, 2009 (8:47 am)

    Let us who like QFC have our moment. The rest of you (you know who you are) can complain tomorrow.

  • JenV September 16, 2009 (8:59 am)

    hey, it’s better than HOLE Foods… ;)

  • Me September 16, 2009 (9:24 am)

    Oh please they are over priced and treat employees ike dirt hope they sink!!

  • John September 16, 2009 (9:35 am)

    Did we really need another grocery store?

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (9:44 am)

    That was asked on another comment thread. “Need,” of course, is subjective. I did look up one stat when that point came up – and for what it’s worth, according to what I found, one grocery store for every 8,500 or so residents is said to be average in the US. With eight grocery stores in WS now (PCC, Metropolitan Market, West Seattle Thriftway, three Safeways, two QFCs), and a population said to be in the 60K-70K vicinity, that about hits the U.S. average – though what that doesn’t take into account is the location distribution; it has long been pointed out that the entirety of eastern West Seattle is without a nearby grocery store, north of Roxbury Safeway – TR

  • curious September 16, 2009 (10:38 am)

    What are the stats on that HUGE pumpkin outside the front door!?

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (10:40 am)

    Closeup, it didn’t look real. But I’ll ask Kristin.

  • villagegreen September 16, 2009 (10:42 am)

    With the near unanimous opinion that the Jefferson Square Safeway sucks, how could one bitch about a new grocery store opening right next door that is undoubtedly much nicer. Someone could open a store in West Seattle that does nothing but give away free money and someone would probably bitch about the denominations they received or some such ridiculous bs. Can’t wait to check out the new QFC!

  • bj September 16, 2009 (10:56 am)

    Village Green

    Kudos to you for your well said comments. For once, can’t everyone be positive for a change?

  • Carole September 16, 2009 (10:57 am)

    Do we know who makes the gelato? Does it come from Bottega Italiana (downtown) by any chance? I know they supply some restaurants and Whole Foods.

  • East Coast Realist September 16, 2009 (11:19 am)

    Just out of curiousity, what’s the matter with the Jefferson Market Safeway? With the exception of the annoying real change hawkers, I’ve found service to be very good.

  • Lil September 16, 2009 (11:20 am)

    I was just there and it’s nice – a little chaotic on the first day, but there were tons of employees around to be sure everyone found what they needed.
    The store has the weirdest, most awkward teeny tiny entrance though. I was so surprised that that was the only walk-in entrance and it was jammed with displays. I guess they’re expecting most/a lot of people to come up from the garage.

  • Lil September 16, 2009 (11:25 am)

    Oh, and I have to agree with not liking the Safeway in Jefferson Square, but it’s about Jefferson Square in general mostly. There is something just off about that whole place – the parking lot, the way it’s set up, everything. Although the lack of good produce options and a few other missing, but obvious, items doesn’t help.

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (11:26 am)

    Lil, thanks for reminding me, I need to add the fact there’s also a single door on Alaska (which was a point of contention in some reviews pre-construction – the fact that there’s not much “engagement” with the Alaska frontage, although there’s a bank of windows looking into the deli prep area – in addition to the entrance at 42nd/Alaska corner which I assume is the one you’re describing – TR

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (11:51 am)

    Answers from QFC’s Kristin – who actually had seen the questions before I pinged her! –

    >>>>1. The gelato is from Café Classico.

    2. The pumpkin is real. It was grown in Skagit County, weighs
    approximately 300 lbs, and a store employee painted the greeting on
    the pumpkin.<<<<

  • Carole September 16, 2009 (11:54 am)

    Re: pricing. Much QFC stuff is overpiced. BUT if you have the card and shop QFC primarily for the specials using the card there can be some real bargains. I’ve scored pork roast for 99 cents/lb, Lean Cuisine for $1.88, decent produce on special, etc. Special+card can be cheaper than F Meyer sometimes if you shop smart. Still, I like Tony’s for most produce and dream of a TJ’s…we have so much open space down at the “triangle” around the Huling bldgs…

  • GenHillOne September 16, 2009 (11:58 am)

    I have yet to find one option that is great in all areas (staples, produce, meat, gourmet, organic) anyway, so have resorted to dividing my list and keeping a better pantry/freezer. Something I didn’t think I’d ever do, but there you have it.

    This DOES have something I’ve been yearning for…the ability to park – and load my car – completely indoors when it’s pouring! :)

  • jo September 16, 2009 (12:09 pm)

    Can you apply for their ‘card’ at the store before you start shopping for the first time?

  • GenHillOne September 16, 2009 (12:17 pm)

    jo, I got my card on the spot @ Westwood store (in customer service)

    but note to QFC – I just went online to update “my store” and this one isn’t on there yet…guess I’ll keep Westwood for awhile still

  • beachdrivegirl September 16, 2009 (12:31 pm)

    Typically I have found QFC to be the most economical of our local options for groceries etc.

  • What? September 16, 2009 (12:59 pm)

    In another thread, I didn’t know this QFC is partnering with the West Seattle Food Bank. Thank you guys. I really hope to hear more about the “Food Rescue” program.

  • on board September 16, 2009 (1:11 pm)

    Since no one has done so yet, I will point out that what the junction area really needs is a Trader Joes.

  • rnl September 16, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    Trader Joes – YES! Also we need a good place to get fresh juices (like beets, carrots, parsley, apple, kale…etc..) at… – :) & a good frozen yogurt.

  • Katy L September 16, 2009 (2:13 pm)

    Seems like “Hole Foods” could be a perfect location for Trader Joe’s (plus I love the irony). Would someone tell them please? That said, I wish the folks at QFC good luck. Also, in defense of the JeffSquare Safeway, when we did a diaper drive for Westside Baby at their location last MLK Day they were superbly generous and very helpful. Folks there work hard and they’re doing the best they can in a much smaller space than the Roxbury Safeway. Just my 2-cents’ worth.

  • tw September 16, 2009 (2:31 pm)

    No Trader Joe’s! Talk about overkill.

  • KBear September 16, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    Wow! 27 comments before anyone brought up Trader Joe’s! That must be a new record. West Seattle must be losing interest. Now we’ll never get one.

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (2:50 pm)

    Came up sooner in another thread on the new QFC.

  • pie September 16, 2009 (3:39 pm)

    East Coast Realist – you find the service at the Safeway at Jefferson Square good? You have a really low bar then. Most the employees act like they are hating every moment of their lives when they are working there. I even had one cashier ask me if I wanted to give towards their cause of the month, then he looked at me, and said “Oh never mind. You never do.” (I do every now and then, but not every single time I go).
    And the Real Changers are starting to be a problem. I used to give to them every time, but after seeing two agressive females have a screaming match with each other about who should have been there, that was my last straw. I think Safeway needs to put a limit on how many are out there at a time.
    Oh, and the last time I got something from their deli, it was less than room temperature and soggy. Bleh.

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (3:56 pm)

    For what it’s worth, I went into the Jefferson Square Safeway about an hour and a half ago to pick up a few things I could have gotten at any supermarket – was just curious, being a competitive person myself, if they were doing anything special knowing what was going on a block away. Didn’t announce myself, just shopped. Very friendly and helpful greetings and thanks from the deli personnel and checker/bagger personnel (asking me if I’d like help out with what really wasn’t much of a purchase). Haven’t been there enough to compare to the past but I was curious if they put their game faces on for day 1 with new competition … they seem to have … TR

  • jsv888 September 16, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    #1 reason I shop anywhere is parking. It’s the reason I don’t shop at Jefferson Square. What’s the parking situation like at the new QFC?

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (4:03 pm)

    New garage, enter from 42nd. The parking deck is actually over the store. 110 spaces. If they’re all full, there’s overflow parking in a garage from 41st (underground which otherwise is for forthcoming other retail, plus residents who’ll move into the apartments later this year).
    One thing about the garage – coming back out, the visibility for turning onto 42nd was difficult. They did have a flagger. Also, they will offer free valet 10 am-8 pm daily through this Sunday.

  • TLC September 16, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    The gelato is from Gelato Classico…magnifico!

  • natinstl September 16, 2009 (4:26 pm)

    I don’t mind the Safeway itself, I’ve never had a problem with customer service etc.., but I do have to concur with the parking situation. A covered parking area that isn’t a cluster is going to be a nice change. I also hate that every time I get checked out at Safeway I’m always hit up for a donation. I’m all for giving, but it’s ridiculous how much I get asked over there. Like some other posters I too split up my grocery shopping for certain items. If Thriftway would get a decent fish department and lower the meat costs I would do everything there.

  • Gina September 16, 2009 (4:37 pm)

    Is there a Coinstar machine?

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    Yes. Coinstar and also a Red-something video machine. And a lottery machine. All lined up along south wall, near the tiny Alaska entrance.

  • Matthew September 16, 2009 (5:23 pm)

    Does anyone know when the bus stop for West bound travel on 42nd and Alaska will return? They closed it during the construction of QFC, and I can’t find anything on Metro’s website about their plans. I bet QFC and the new apartment complex wouldn’t mind the old bus stop coming back with the extra business it might bring!

  • ellenater September 16, 2009 (5:27 pm)

    I have had great customer service at that Safeway, also. I’ve been in there a number of times, always for ’emergency’ items and have always had above average service. My problem with Safeway is that they carry very little I can feed my son. He is allergic to wheat and dairy. Also, the JFS Safeway parking is hideous. That whole place has bad feng shui. I hope those nice employees can get jobs at QFC. Mmmmm gelato.

  • WSB September 16, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    Matthew: We’ll have to see if SDOT can provide a timetable – but they did say it will be back.


  • WestSeaGuy September 16, 2009 (6:20 pm)

    Has anyone mentioned how great it would be to have a Trader Joes in W.Sea?!?! Oh, just a minute….news flash – THEY ARE NEVER COMMING!

    Stop with the TJs and let the QFC enjoy a warm welcome

  • seven September 16, 2009 (6:58 pm)

    Qfc (kroger) along with Safeway and albertsons join forces during every contract negotiation to smash their employees into lesser paid indentured servants. They are constantly forcing their employees into poverty as very few get full time hours making it years for anyone to get to the top of the union scale.

    Unfortunate. Contract negotiations for puget sound grocery workers represented by a union will begin soon as most contracts expire april/may.

    Stay Tuned!

  • Kestrel September 16, 2009 (6:59 pm)

    I go to QFC once in a while, but the reason I prefer Trader Joe’s is for price and selection. For example, my favorite cheese is Cambozola. At QFC it costs $15.59/lb while at TJ’s it’s $11.49/lb. That’s 25% less on the exact same item! QFC needs to make their prices more competitive.

  • austin September 16, 2009 (7:43 pm)

    Terrible, terrible parking garage. The store is clean and well lit however.

  • Junctionite September 16, 2009 (7:46 pm)

    The new QFC is very nice, the small bulk food & spice section will come in very handy.

    For anyone who enjoys cooking, the quality of ingredients at the Safeway (and selection) is often lacking, this store will be convenient and a nice non-car alternative to the Thiftway & Metropolitan Market for those of us in the immediate neighborhood.

  • Doug September 16, 2009 (8:30 pm)

    A bit surprised by the high prices at the meat carving station and the salad station. Prices are comparable or even higher than the Met Market, with what appeared to be lesser quality products. A bit too crowded on the opening day which led me to leave without purchasing anything. I’ll give it another try after all the fuss dies down.

  • ellenater September 16, 2009 (9:01 pm)

    The gelato and sushi areas are very pretty. I liked the feel, overall. Feels like a grocery store, not too upscale but still nice. The sample areas were great.

  • Erin September 16, 2009 (10:00 pm)

    OMG, they have Gelato?!? SOLD! Move over Safeway/Thriftway… QFC now has my business!

  • Changingtimes September 16, 2009 (11:40 pm)

    We were first in line for the gelato! It was super good!!!!!!! I am addicted!!! Soooo many choices and the nice lady let my daughter try every flavor !!!! Beware the store has yet to put in s cash machine I asked 2 people and they gave me blank faces….

  • Stacy September 17, 2009 (8:15 am)

    I stopped in after work out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised. I usually shop at PCC ant Metropolitan Market, and like both of them, but they are rather expensive. This new QFC is very nice and I did wind up getting some items while I was there; I was automatically given a store card during checkout, just needing my name and phone number, and since I didn’t have to provide more than that, I agreed. I’m usually against store cards for privacy reasons, but didn’t have that experience in this case, and since it will give me better prices, especially now, I’m in. The store was well done with great variety on both regular and specialty items. And since I’m someone who hates grocery shopping, an aesthetically pleasing store like this or Met. Market makes a big difference. Count me on the positive side, as well as someone who tires of all the negativity in these comment sections.

  • dawsonct September 17, 2009 (10:31 am)

    All the people I have ever dealt with at J.S. Safeway are quite pleasant, sometimes even overeager to offer their assistance. THEY aren’t the problem with that store, which is barely more than an overstuffed convenience store. I wonder how long it will take before the corporate decides having two Safeway stores so close to each other is a bad idea and closes JSquare. I imagine they will wait until Admiral gets rebuilt and then vacate the Ak Jct.
    Maybe they can put the friggin’ TJ’s in there. I wish they would put a link in their chain over here so the TJ cult will stop hijacking EVERY SINGLE thread that pertains, even tangentially, to food shopping.

    The Real Change sales-persons are holding a job and trying to get their lives back together or simply doing something other than begging in order to support themselves. They may not look like the type of person you would invite to dinner, but they are trying to get out of the rut they have found themselves in. Give them a break! Even if you never purchase a paper from them (it actually has some good writers), give them some credit for doing something other than writing their life story on a piece of cardboard.
    Real Change has specific and strict rules for the behavior of their sales force. Any uncivil behavior noted in any of the vendors is far outweighed by the polite and sober MAJORITY of the vendors.

  • Katy L September 17, 2009 (1:19 pm)

    dawsonct, thank you for defending Real Change vendors. I agree–they’re trying earn money in an honest way. Given the times we’re in, there is even less that seperates a lot of us from them. One day I might need that job to support my family! Until then I’ll keep buying them.

  • Wanda September 17, 2009 (3:33 pm)

    The best thing about QFC is their “cooked to perfection” roasted chickens. Unlike other stores, you never have to worry that the chicken will be dry. And the $4.99 opening special price can’t be beat.

  • KBear September 17, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    Jefferson Square would be perfect for Trader Joe’s (yeah, right after we get our light rail line!) It’s already got that strip-mall-like feel to it that TJ’s seems to go for, and the ridiculous parking situation almost rivals that of their U District store.

Sorry, comment time is over.