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New 'micro fulfillment center' to begin operating at Rainier Avenue Safeway

Safeway hopes it will help fill more grocery delivery orders, eliminating the transportation barrier many families face.

SEATTLE — Safeway will operate a new "micro fulfillment center" at a Rainier Avenue store on October 12, hoping to process orders more quickly and allow them to open more delivery slots for customers, including those purchasing through use of SNAP benefits. 

"One of the primary causes of food insecurity is transportation barriers, so there's a lot of people who may be on foot or rely on public transportation and have a lot of trouble getting to their local grocery store," Safeway Director of Government and Public Affairs Sara Osborne said. "This eliminates that barrier because they can order groceries in the comfort of their own home."

The center, which will be located at 3820 Rainier Avenue South, combines technology with around 65 selectors - union-represented workers who ensure products are chosen and packed properly.

"We're able to become more efficient, more productive, and give customers a more accurate order through our micro fulfillment center for the product that stays in here," Safeway Albertsons Division President Brad Street said. 

The center will be able to fill at least 300 customer orders each day, combining the proximity of a neighborhood store with the automation capabilities of a large warehouse, according to Safeway.

Along with adding jobs and decreasing transportation barriers, the online portal is meant to help people assess and weigh options with pricing.

"People who have a limited income or are food insecure, it really gives them more time and less anxiety as they're shopping online, comparing prices," Osborne said. "The system also tells them what is eligible and what's not, so it gives them comfort to shop, compare prices, and buy food in their budget."

It also offers $10 coupons for every $10 SNAP users spend on produce, according to Safeway.

To order groceries for delivery, including while using SNAP benefits, click here

KING 5 will kick off Home Team Harvest, our annual drive to benefit Northwest Harvest, on Oct. 15. This year, our goal is to raise 21 million meals. Stay tuned for ways you can help, and mark your calendars to watch KING 5’s Home Team Harvest broadcast special on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Watch: Local food banks are being impacted by inflation


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