Safeway’s Karl Schroeder hasn’t always been a West Coaster, but he has always been involved in the grocery business.
Schroeder, president of the Pleasanton-based company’s Northern California Division, grew up in New York—the son of an Air Force veteran who, upon emerging from World War II, opened a corner store.
“We, for part of my life, lived above the corner store in upstate New York,” Schroeder says. “It can’t get much more typical than that. It was, literally, a corner store.”
Schroeder helped out at his family’s store during his younger years and, at age 16, got a job at a local IGA. After high school, Schroeder headed west with friends and came on board with Safeway in Arizona in October 1976. He was just 18 years old.
You might say the rest—with a lot of hard work—is history. Schroeder has been with Safeway for nearly 40 years and has led its Northern California Division since 2004. Following the company’s merger with Albertsons, which is expected to be finalized in January 2015, Schroeder will serve as SVP of corporate merchandising, running the merchandising half of the marketing and merchandising organization.
The Shelby Report recently sat down with Schroeder in his office at Safeway’s headquarters to chat about his long career in the business, what has helped him find success, his family and his pastimes. More can be found in the December print issue of The Shelby Report of the West or online.