It’s hard to tell who’s happier to have Safeway back in Gig Harbor — the customers or the employees.
The Safeway pre-opening event Tuesday evening was packed with smiling employees, excited customers and community leaders.
Jeanne and Steve Easley were two of the longtime Safeway customers at the showcase event.
“She’s Safeway’s biggest fan right here,” Steve said, gesturing to his wife.
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“I’m glad (the store’s) back,” Jeanne said. “I like Safeway.”
This is really an honor to be here tonight ... Gig Harbor really treasures its grocery stores.
Jill Guernsey, Gig Harbor mayor
She’s not the only Gig Harbor resident to feel that way; Gig Harbor Mayor Jill Guernsey expressed her delight at the store’s return — specifically to have the employees back in the community.
“This is really an honor to be here tonight,” Guernsey said at the employee-welcoming ceremony. “Gig Harbor really treasures its grocery stores.”
Returning to the store are 72 employees that worked at the location previously, including store manager Bob Silcott.
“We welcome you back to your Gig Harbor Safeway,” Silcott said at the event. “(The employees) are back here stronger and happier than ever. I welcome you back.”
72 number of previous employees who returned to the Gig Harbor Safeway
At the welcoming ceremony, Safeway employee Kathleen Jutte was recognized for her 45 years of employment with Gig Harbor’s Safeway and was presented with a bouquet of roses with one flower for each year of her career.
Silcott also presented a check from the corporation to longtime community partner, Backpacks 4 Kids. Safeway donated $100 for each employee that returned to the store for a check total of $7,200.
But perhaps the most excited trio to be back at Safeway are longtime employees Bianca Edison, Allison Grose and Audie Graham — the special needs employees who have worked together at the location for more than 15 years.
From my heart, I thank you. It’s an honor for me to be back here at Gig Harbor Safeway, and I take pride in it.
Bob Silcott, Safeway store manager
“We’re excited,” Graham announced with gusto as Grose nodded her head in agreement.
Silcott agreed with the pair: “From my heart, I thank you. It’s an honor for me to be back here at Gig Harbor Safeway, and I take pride in it.”
Safeway opened its doors to the Gig Harbor public Wednesday morning.