Metropolitan Market: Things are just peachy after 40 years

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With three grocery stores within a radius of barely three blocks, the Admiral District is home to West Seattle’s busiest food-shopping hub.

And it’s been a big year for all three of those supermarkets – Safeway just opened its new store, PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) remodeled its West Seattle store, and Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) celebrated “a fantastic 40 years of being in business,” as Admiral store manager Glen Hasstedt describes it.

We talked with him recently to check in on what’s new with MM, and what’s ahead.

The official 40th anniversary celebration is over now, but it left plenty of memories. We covered a few of the gala events at Admiral (there were others there, and at other locations), from a cupcake-sprinkle party in June:

… to timelessly popular cooking guru Graham Kerr‘s book-signing in July:

Glen says the 40th-anniversary promotions were not only “very successful,” but also fun. The exact anniversary date, he admits, isn’t known, but they just picked summertime to celebrate the company’s beginnings in 1971. Their first store was “top of the hill” on Queen Anne. Metropolitan Market-Admiral, you may recall, was formerly Admiral Thriftway; it was added to the group in the late ’80s. Glen has been with the company since 1995 and worked at several of its other stores before coming to West Seattle, where he is in its sixth year.

Once the 40th-anniversary events wrapped up, Metropolitan Market wasn’t idle; it launched right into the 15th annual Peach-O-Rama, a celebration of the juicy summer fruit – not just the whole, as-they-grow-’em peaches in the produce department, but also food prepared with peaches: “Fantastic peach pie from Whidbey Pies, wonderful peach croissants in the bakery with phylo dough to die for, peach smoothies in the coffee shop, Quinn’s peach salsa, which is wonderful with (seafood) …salads in our deli with peaches, grilled peaches in the deli with balsamic (vinegar) and feta …” And the list goes on, including of course peach teas.

Peach-O-Rama even educates shoppers on levels of “brix,” a peach’s content of a certain type of sugar. Glen explains how this is measured, with a special device – “You put some juice into the scope and you put it up against the light and it measures the amount of sugar content in the fruit or vegetable. It’s trackable for measurable degrees of sweetness.” And they post daily updates on the brix levels as well as the new varieties of peaches that come in (many of which are explained on the MM website’s Peach-O-Rama page).

In the meantime, one of the nearby competitors has opened its more-upscale-than-before new store. Glen says that while Safeway was closed for construction, “we had the opportunity to welcome some new guests, making sure they understand who we are and what we’re about.”

And what is that, we asked, if he had to summarize it for somebody wondering why they should shop MM as compared to another store.

“It’s a community store,” he offered, where staff members will say hello, “a really warm store. We pride ourselves on a few things: Quality is huge. We seek out the very best quality we can; we have more vendors than other chains out there. The reason we do that is, we are trying to find the best product. Flavor is very important. So are customer-service levels, having a clean store … something that treats the eye and all of their senses when (customers) walk in.”

He adds, “We’re presenting an exciting marketplace with legendary service – that’s our goal, totally different than saying ‘we sell the most hamburgers’.”

Even without a rebuild or remodel, they continue to tweak things. While talking with Glen, we observed that the store’s salad bar recently moved from the produce section, where it seemed easily mistakable for more of a bulk-produce-purchasing area than a salad bar, to the deli section. Not only did it move, Glen noted when we mentioned this, “we supersized it, and now it ties in with the food-service department.”

What’s next? Later this month, the annual For the Love of Cheese Festival begins. “It’s been growing every year,” says Glen. “We bring in vendors and cheesemakers and cheese-book writers and samples and ways to cook with it. Much like wine, cheese has so many different flavor profiles.”

By the way, if you want to sound particularly in-the-know, refer to this time of year as FLOOC (pronounced “flock”) – that’s how Glen referred to it. Events officially begin September 28th (keep an eye on the MM website’s Events page), with the first one at Admiral listed as a cheesemaking demo at 3 pm September 30th.

More wine tastings are ahead (the Admiral store just had its second one last Wednesday), featuring appetizer pairings, and then it’s on into the holiday season (already!). Overall, Glen just wanted to reiterate that Metropolitan Market thanks its customers and staff for keeping it in business for 40 years – “it’s a people business, about great people and great food.”

36 Replies to "Metropolitan Market: Things are just peachy after 40 years"

  • wssort September 5, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    Peachy yes. I binged on MM’s peaches yesterday, just might do the same today :O)

  • pigeonmom September 5, 2011 (2:55 pm)

    “Peach-O-Rama even educates shoppers on levels of “brix,” a peach’s content of a certain type of peach.”


    • WSB September 5, 2011 (3:05 pm)

      That would be sugar. Fixing. Thanks!

  • DTK September 5, 2011 (3:31 pm)

    I really enjoyed paying $6.30 for four tomatoes! Thanks Safeway!

  • Jasperblu September 5, 2011 (4:02 pm)

    We checked out the new Safeway on Sat eve. The bathrooms were as disgusting as the Roxbury Safeway, and that’s saying something because the Roxbury store has some of the grossest bathrooms I’ve ever seen. On par with a gas station.
    It made our enjoyment of the new Safeway a little less enjoyable. Too bad. It’s a nice store. And the staff was just lovely. But if their bathrooms are gross, I have to wonder what else is not getting cleaned. So, for my money (& the health of me & my kid), if I find myself needing to shop for food in Admiral, I’ll be stopping in at either PCC or Met Market (still my favorite market in West Seattle, hands down!).
    And oh, mmmm. Peaches!

  • bike2work September 5, 2011 (4:23 pm)

    I have lived in this neighborhood for 14 years and MM has hands down always been my favorite. Safeway can fancy themselves up all they want but they are still Safeway…a huge chain store without soul. And they will not get my business until they get rid of those stupid shopping cards and just give everyone whatever fair market price on their shopping items.

  • Gina September 5, 2011 (5:08 pm)

    And Lucky did become Thriftway, which thence became Admiral Thriftway, through the generations to Queen Anne Thriftway, rapidly changing to Queen Anne Thriftway at Admiral with a surprise name change to Metropolitan Market.

  • Casey September 5, 2011 (6:04 pm)

    I was also wondering how “metropolitan market” could have a 40 year anniversary when they’ve actually only had that name much less years. still one of my favorite places though!!

  • samschnooky September 5, 2011 (6:28 pm)

    I have to agree with bike2work. Safeway is crap, especially their produce. I went into the new store yesterday just to check it out. The employees were busy gossiping as usual. I had to butt in to ask a question and then no eye contact whatsoever. Went over to Metropolitan Market to get some peaches and the lady at the checkstand saw that I was buying donut peaches at a higher price than the organic donut peaches on sale outside – she let me know and told me she would wait for me to get those instead if I’d rather. Class! I’ll never go back to that Safeway.

  • jack1 September 5, 2011 (6:39 pm)

    If MM would lower prices, I’d be a customer for life. Comparing the same 16 items two separate times, my bill was $21.20 then, $27.93 lower at Safeway. I agree their bathrooms should be clean, but I’d rather save 25% on my groceries and wait until I get home.

  • Mack September 5, 2011 (6:40 pm)

    This is the first time I have ever seen a bathroom mentioned in a critical review of a supermarket.

  • Admiral935 September 5, 2011 (6:57 pm)

    Like many I waited a year (my how that went fast) for Safeway to re-open all the while feeling somewhat hostage to MM (not bad if you can do it). So, now I’ve been to the new Safeway 3 times – once a breeze through to survey what we got. Second to seriously shop for bargains and the 3rd time to make sure I wasn’t previously hallucinating. It is, and I hope something changes, the most foul failure I’ve witnessed in recent memory. What a terrible store. Garbage. It;s like they dropped some corporate nightmare with “enhanced lighting” to make all those apples look, well, like plastic! I did experience outstanding service, or at least very happy to help employees – they really have this figured out. Ok, try going through the entrance on the N.W. corner sometime. Try it when someone is coming out with a cart while you’re going in. Good luck. I guess its been a long weekend over here, but there is one store I will judiciously avoid. Bummer, I was a pretty loyal Safeway customer. I do like the Roxbury store by a mile (even though it kinda, well, it is what it is)
    I shop at MM, and rarely PCC and sometimes QFC (Kroger but good)

  • jack September 5, 2011 (7:26 pm)

    If MM would lower prices, I’d be a customer for life. Comparing the same 16 items two separate times, my bill was $21.20 then, $27.93 lower at Safeway. I agree their bathrooms should be clean, but I’d rather save 25% on my groceries and wait until I get home.

  • Marie September 5, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    For me, Safeway (remodeled or not) is simply = Food Inc. I feel blessed to have Met Market and PCC in the neighborhood. Congrats MM on 40 years! Great place to shop.

  • Twobottles September 5, 2011 (8:33 pm)

    As I said in a comment on the opening of the new Safeway, “reward” cards are an illusion giving shoppers a false impression of better prices (nice trick, however). MM forever, Safeway and QFC never

  • Jasperblu September 5, 2011 (8:59 pm)

    When you have a little kid, as I do, knowing where the clean bathrooms are is key. May not be important to most of you, but without fail, about 1/2 way thru whatever shopping I’m doing, she has to GO and she has to go NOW.
    And also, I’m sorry but disgusting bathrooms in a place that sells food (restaurant or grocery) is NOT cool. If the employees don’t care enough to clean, then what are they touching my deli, meat, fish, salads, produce, etc. with? Lots and lots of bathroom germs, that’s what.
    Met Market may be expensive. PCC too. But they’re sparkling clean & their employees actually know something about the product they’re selling. I appreciate that, even if I can’t afford to shop there every time I need to get groceries.

  • Sick of Bikes September 5, 2011 (9:30 pm)

    I will buy most items at Safeway except for meat and produce. It’s too bad that all three admiral stores deli fried/baked chicken sucks. MM always taste bitter and is dark ( I am thinking dirty oil or brand) Safeway is like super crispy and not in a good way..And then PCC not only does it cost a lot, It is very oily for being baked and has rubbery skin. How come nobody round here can fry up some good chicken…I heard stories of homestead but is no longer there. Whahhhhhh…….

  • puffin14 September 5, 2011 (9:45 pm)

    Tried out the new Safeway on Sunday and found out they won’t give cash back on checks anymore. Boo! So thanks Met Market for at least offering this service for us schmucks who don’t remember their PIN number and can’t get to a closed bank on a holiday weekend.

  • visitor September 5, 2011 (11:18 pm)

    The new checkers at Safeway don’t seem to understand customer service, sorry to say. And three times I have been in there a couple of them are whispering confidential secrets to each other. It’s weird. It makes you wonder what the hell they are talking about. Maybe it would be better if they just texted instead. ha ha ha

    I also noticed the entrance to the new Safeway is very poorly designed, it’s invariably a major traffic jam, and the shopping carts crowding the entrance don’t help.

    For all the expense and hoopla, I am not impressed. Most of my shopping will still be at MM. And yes, my whole family LOVES peach-o-rama.

  • Bobdog September 5, 2011 (11:19 pm)

    I’m sorry but the day of reckoning has come to the Metropolitan Market. I’ve endured their unbelievably high prices for a year now and since Safeway opened, I can breathe a sigh of relief. As a degreed professional I fit the demo for MM perfectly but this last year has been extremely hard economically and now enough is enough. I’ll be shopping at the Gross Out, Cash N’ Carry and of course, Safeway.

  • Steve September 5, 2011 (11:23 pm)

    Cashback check writers, please go away and stay at met market. Can’t remember 4 numbers? Wow

    And is the bathroom really that disgusting? You know, there’s a jack in the box across the way you can use… or tell the kid to hold it.

    A supermarket is the last place I’d go to look for a bathroom. Disgusting, how?

    Wierder and wierder. Don’t like the way the apples are lit? Can’t help you buddy, wow.

  • Paul September 6, 2011 (1:11 am)

    yes the entrances at Safeway are silly SE entrances are to seperate sets of sliding doors and down two flights of stairs, and the main entrance is near impossible to get in and grab a hand basket that for some obscene reason are stacked on the left as you are coming in and can’t get to until there is a break in the exiting traffic.. Love the salad bar but how about some paper containers instead of the big bulky plastic ones…oh yah and happy 40th MM

  • Admiral935 September 6, 2011 (2:32 am)

    “Don’t like the way the apples are lit? Can’t help you buddy, wow.”

    reply: Enjoy your plastic. By what means do they make the them pretty veggies look so perfect? (hint: eh, never mind (it’s not only the lighting – that was a clue but you missed it) Anyway, enjoy your shopping. This is an opinion. The new store is an insult to Admiral or anywhere. Monsanto has landed. (ok that was hyperbole but I don’t know how else to put it). Trivia for Steve: give us you shopping list for the week. If you dare, I will eat for a week based on your prog. GO:

  • NotMe September 6, 2011 (7:51 am)

    If you really did spend the time and came up with exact numbers like “$21.20 and 27.93” – you should get your priorities straight. I don’t buy anything resembling “facts” anyone says on here anymore, and I take some joy in pointing out the untruths. You would have had to spend an awful lot of time to shop both stores, get all the exact prices from both stores, and do some pretty cool math to get the “savings.”
    I tried the new Safeway. I will no longer buy produce or meat or any perishable product from that store. There is no life left in the fruit, and I didn’t “save” anything with lower prices.
    Thankfully, my kids are grown and I don’t have to venture into a nightmare of a grocery store bathroom. Still, now that I know a few people are grossed out – I doubt I will ever go into that store again. Thanks for not trying to tell me the exact germs you found in the bathrooms. :-)

  • Thistle September 6, 2011 (9:10 am)

    I live near Metro in an apartment building where several Metro employees live and I can say they are just as warm and nice away from work as they are at their jobs! While I spread my grocery shopping pretty evenly throughout West Seattle, Metro by far has one of the best and most unique deli/premade food sections I have seen – I go there at least three times a week to pick up one of their pastas or grilled meats and their staff is by far the most amazing group of people. Within a few weeks of moving into the area, several of the cashiers already remembered my name and were always genuinely nice about answering some of my new to the neighborhood questions (like where is the nearest post office box, bus stop, etc….). The warm reception they gave me was a huge lift and I continue two years later to patronize their great store.

  • Thistle September 6, 2011 (9:12 am)

    Almost forgot – big thank you to Metro for providing both breakfast and lunch to the volunteers who come out for the Admiral Neighborhood cleanups!

  • jack September 6, 2011 (11:21 am)

    Not me… I did this price checking twice. After purchasing over $100 worth of products from Safeway, my aunt and I tool the receipts to MM. This took a total of 30 min and the numbers are accurate. Having a large family, the exercise will pay off.

  • Sue September 6, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    The best thing I ever got at Admiral Thriftway?
    Met my husband there 24 years ago! So while we shop numerous grocery stores, it’s still our favorite.

  • DF September 6, 2011 (2:06 pm)

    MM is a yuppy paradise where else can you buy a $25 loaf of bread flown in from Paris. Nice selection but man do they cater to those with $$$ BABY. SHOW ME THE MONEY!!

  • NotMe September 6, 2011 (2:43 pm)

    Jack… no you didn’t. You are not saving 27.93% by shopping at Safeway over Metropolitan. And if you DID really do all that, then you are doing the comparison completely wrong. Either way, good for you for doing that in 30 minutes and getting exercise.
    Wait, they have bread flown in from Paris for only $25 ???? Where?! That is totally worth it, and cheaper than Safeway by at least 30% !!!
    What I learned today: you can shop at Safeway for less than desired produce and save 27.93% and I will shop at Metropolitan and over-spend by at least 28% and BOTH of us will be happy. But don’t make fun of the bathrooms at Metro!

  • M September 6, 2011 (4:36 pm)

    “Wait, they have bread flown in from Paris for only $25 ???? Where?! That is totally worth it, and cheaper than Safeway by at least 30% !!!”

    OMG Notme and to think just down the street there are people standing in line at the food bank.

  • jack September 6, 2011 (5:39 pm)

    Forgot to mention the extra discount I get when I fill up for gas at Safeway. And the sandwich I got for lunch was free as part of their program. But I’ll admit, I can’t find a better stuffed burger than MM.

  • NotMe September 6, 2011 (7:37 pm)

    OMG back at ya, M…. you really didn’t sense any sarcasm there?
    Pssssst – nobody has bread for $25…. not even Metropolitan. If they did, I doubt it would sell very much.

  • DF September 6, 2011 (9:08 pm)

    Oh yes they YouNut go check um out. It’s flown in from Europe.

  • Kathy September 7, 2011 (2:25 am)

    PCC, if you shop selectively, has best quality for price in the Admiral district, the healthiest alternatives, freshest produce, roasted chickens not too dried out, and the most interesting and tasty selection of deli dishes. I became a convert to PCC after Safeway closed, when at first I was shopping for most items at MM and found MM’s prices usually higher than PCC. I became a PCC member in April and since then have made back half my one-time membership fee in member discounts. The new Admiral Safeway appears to be a work in progress. In their rush to open quickly the stocking of shelves and store arrangement still leaves a lot to be desired. Safeway continues to display magazines with demeaning pictures of women (and negative stories about them) prominently at the checkstands where the images can be absorbed by the high school girls as they wait to pay for their lunch. Very few male images that make it to the covers of these tabloids get the disrespectful treatment that the females do. Safeway should move these somewhere else in the store

  • joan September 7, 2011 (9:25 pm)

    has everyone forgot about the QFC. yeah sure its a mile and a half down the road but i can get the quality of MM and the price of safeway in one place. And they have the best service hands down. sure if im doing something fancy i might hit up MM but most of my shopping will be done at the Q

Sorry, comment time is over.