Lake Tahoe Save Mart in Tahoe City, CA, to be Replaced by National Chain Safeway

John Cunningham |
Lake Tahoe Save Mart
The Lake Tahoe Save Mart in Tahoe City will be closing their doors. | Image: Google Earth Street View

Save Mart Supermarket, located in Tahoe City, California, will be forced to close its doors tomorrow, October 18, 2023. After 50 years of operating, the landlords suddenly decided not to renew the lease. This will leave only one major grocery store in Tahoe City while Save Mart explores options to relocate.

Local businesses are a huge part of small-town ski communities across the globe. However, on the brink of another semi-local store closing in Lake Tahoe and a larger corporation preparing to move in, many folks are continuing to wonder ‘what changes are next’ for the extremely popular tourist destination.

Safeway currently has one location in Tahoe City less than a mile down the road from the soon-to-be old Save Mart; the location Safeway plans to renovate and move into soon in the future. They currently have two locations in North Lake Tahoe; one in Tahoe City and the other in Kings Beach. Albertsons, which owns Safeway, operates 2,200 stores across more than 30 states and is one of the top five largest grocers in the U.S. Of those thousands of stores, more than 900 are Safeways around 17 different states.

Save Mart Supermarkets first came about in Modesto, California, back in 1952. They operate approximately 200 stores in only California and Nevada. This upcoming close will result in the closest and only Save Mart in the Lake Tahoe area being located in Truckee and down in Carson City.

Safeway to replace Tahoe City Save Mart
Safeway, currently located at 850 N. Lake Boulevard, will move less than a mile to the new location at 100 River Road. | Image: Safeway

So…why does the Lake Tahoe Save Mart closing matter?

As a resident in South Lake Tahoe over the last five years, I have witnessed a bunch of major corporations come to town and open their doors. Chipotle, Five Guys, Panda Express, and Whole Foods; all on the same corner. During the same time period, there have also been countless mom-and-pop local businesses that have closed down, especially because of and since Covid.

Just this last winter, Raleys near the Heavenly Village on the south shore went through a similar situation as Save Mart in Tahoe City. First, the heavy snow collapsed a large part of the roof in the middle of March 2023. Then, they were unable to come to an agreement with the landlords to renew their lease in June after not re-opening since the roof cave-in. Now, with Raleys completely gone, Target has plans to open a store there in the near future.

As more and more of these similar situations occur across ski towns worldwide, it feels like the integrity and authentic small-town vibe tend to fade with it. While the positive benefits of these extra amenities may be beneficial in some cases to some people, the impact and imprint left behind on the local community and environment seem unnecessary and extreme when looking at the bigger picture.

The first ski-thru Starbucks is located at Palisades Tahoe, CA. Will we continue to see more things like this from bigger corporations popping up in smaller ski towns? | Image: Matt Palmer

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