Check-in lane: Remember those rumors making the rounds in December about Safeway selling Randalls, which operates grocery stores in Galveston and League City? Well, here’s an update that might have gotten away were it not for an astute reader who this week asked whether it was true that major grocery store chain Albertsons is planning to buy Safeway.
Not only is the rumor true, but the news broke in March. That’s when Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway and Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons announced a definitive agreement in which AB Acquisition, the parent of Albertsons, would buy Safeway in a transaction that could top more than $9 billion.
It’s hard to say what changes are in store for Randalls and other Safeway-owned stores, including Tom Thumb.
The combining of the companies, which will give Albertsons a formidable Texas presence, is subject to regulatory approvals and won’t be complete until the fourth quarter, Albertsons spokeswoman Christine Wilcox told Biz Buzz this week.
Nationally, the combined companies will operate 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants. The Federal Trade Commission, which is charged with preventing anticompetitive transactions, will review the acquisition.
Wilcox this week said it was too early to know what the acquisition should it be approved would mean to Randalls shoppers.
Albertsons CEO Bob Miller in March told reporters there were “no plans to close or sell any stores in any market.” Miller also said the acquisition would translate into price reductions for shoppers.
“Together, we will be able to respond to local needs more quickly and deliver outstanding products at the lowest possible price, more efficiently than ever before,” Miller said.
Who’s the Bossi? As promised, Zulfi Bossi has opened Catfish & Shrimp Restaurant, 709 W. Parkwood Ave. in Friendswood. The new eatery replaces Bossi Italiano, which opened about two years ago in the same site. Along with seafood, Catfish & Shrimp Restaurant will serve up salads and other fare, Bossi said. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner. While Friendswood had plenty of Italian concepts, it didn’t have a large supply of seafood restaurants, Bossi said.
Good libations: The island is home to a new purveyor of libations. Tea’Ze Daiquiris To Go, 4110 Seawall Blvd, plans its official debut for 11 a.m. Friday. Tea’Ze specializes in the frozen alcoholic beverages and, as the name suggests, will offer them to go. Tea’Ze has a small seating area and also will serve other adult beverages, such as beers, wines and Jell-O shots. It also will offer nonalcoholic daiquiris, owner Tiffaney Small said. This is Small’s second Tea’Ze venture. The other is in Missouri City.
Still brewing? Is no news good news when it comes to possible development of the Falstaff Brewery on the island?
This month marks a year since development firm Matthews Southwest confirmed it had the long vacant brewery at 33rd and Church streets on the island under contract as it studied ways to save the blighted building. One plan was to convert it into a residential development.
But still no word on what the firm has decided to do with its due diligence.
“The property is still under contract, and we are still assessing options,” Scott Galbraith, vice president of Matthews Affordable Income Development, said this week.
Matthews Southwest is a private real estate development company headquartered in Lewisville, Texas, with offices in Dallas; Calgary, Alberta; and Mississauga, Ontario. Since 1988, the firm has acquired, built and managed the development of hotels, office, mixed-use retail, residential and industrial developments, and is known for reviving old buildings. Among its many projects is the conversion of Dallas’ famous Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalog Merchandise Center, built in 1910, into high-rise residential lofts.
The Falstaff Brewery, built in 1895, is considered an important historical building by the Galveston Historical Foundation. But some neighbors consider the building an eyesore and have advocated its demolition. Rumor has it that Matthews Southwest will make a decision possibly this month about whether it can save the building with a development that makes financial sense. The project has the potential to transform the surrounding area north of Broadway, island officials have said. Stay tuned.
Goodwill gussies up: The island’s Goodwill Industries store is back at 4525 Ave. U with a very different look. Officials are ready to reveal the results of major interior and exterior renovations at a grand reopening from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. The event, open to the public, will include store tours and refreshments. In February, the island store made a temporary move to 5938 Broadway to make way for the makeover. The transformation of the Avenue U building includes the addition of a Job Connection Center staffed with career specialists who can offer guidance in the areas of basic computer skills, employment, education and/or community support.
Goodwill stores accept gently used items and unwanted computers, which the organization will refurbish or recycle for free. Goodwill Industries has been serving the island since 1970.