Every time a resident of Othello shops at the neighborhood Safeway in Seattle's Rainier Valley, they are subjected to an uncomfortable history lesson.
Shopping at the Safeway, close to the bustling intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Othello Street, takes place despite the fact that much of Othello has experienced a development boom since light rail arrived in 2009.
You'd struggle to find a Safeway in the city that has been more neglected, claims Jesiah Wurtz, co-owner of the adjoining Cafe Red.
A number of sites in Seattle, including those in Queen Anne, Magnolia, Capitol Hill, and the University District, have received enhancements from Safeway and its corporate parent, Albertsons, in recent years.
However, the almost 70-year-old Othello store has had so little recent investment—beyond things like fresh paint, lighting, and deli cases—that many neighborhood residents buy elsewhere.
Ashley Shavers, who works nearby, says she drives straight past it 90% of the time when she needs groceries.
According to Safeway, all of that might be changing.
However, opinions on the announcement, which Safeway has yet to formally confirm, are divided in Othello.
While some locals are excited about the prospect of a new business, others are dubious. They remember the time, about 2008, when Safeway intended to sell the Othello property.