By Alan Gionet

UPDATE: King Soopers Reaches Tentative Agreement With Union To End Strike

DENVER (CBS4) – As the King Soopers grocery strike ended without resolution for another day Monday, shoppers settled into the new reality of deciding where they would do their business.

“I’m not going to cross the picket lines, nope. Not going to happen,” said shopper Theresa Venters, who was shopping at the Safeway at 14th Avenue and Krameria Street Monday.

Right across the street from Safeway is a King Soopers grocery store. The parking lot at the Safeway was packed. The parking lot at the King Soopers was nearly empty.

(credit: CBS)

“I’ll do both stores. In one weekend,” said Tim Bauer about the way things were before the strike. “If a sale is over there, a sale is over here, I’ll try to hit both.”

This day he parked in the King Soopers lot and walked over to Safeway, not wanting to cross picket lines. It means places like Safeway are very busy. Other modestly priced groceries like Target and Walmart are busy as well. It means a lot of work trying to keep shelves stocked.

“Typical right now of the kind of COVID times the shelves are somewhat empty,” said Bauer.

Murray Devany, who was shopping for himself and an older neighbor, ended up at the King Soopers.

“I tried to park in the Safeway lot, there was nowhere to park. I went around and around and around. So I came back to the King Sooper lot… went back to the Safeway and they didn’t have the items. Came back and did my shopping in the King Soopers,” he said.

Devany is sympathetic to their cause.

“They do work hard, and I’m all for that absolutely. They’re not making a fortune here.”

He felt he needed things his neighbor wanted he couldn’t get at Safeway.

“A couple of the picketers said ‘don’t go in here.’ I said, ‘sorry.”

King Soopers said in a statement that it was,

Pleased that all of our stores remain open and that we continue to be able to meet the needs of the communities we serve by providing access to fresh foods and other essentials.”

Some of the stores, including those in Castle Rock and Monument and those north of 120th Avenue are either completely non-union or the majority of the store is non-union, and there is no strike there.

(credit: CBS)

Grocery stores are a volume business, with a profit margin often around two percent. Keeping up is a chore.

“Yeah, the stock’s a little low in certain areas. I probably found two thirds of what I needed,” said Nancy Hyde about shopping at the Safeway.

Some grocery stores are not getting the bump. A manager at a Tony’s Market said the boost in business has been slight. Shoppers are deciding if they want to cross the lines or not. Theresa Venters said she had been a King Soopers employee decades ago and had gone through past strikes.

She would not cross. If Safeway workers get into a dispute when their contract is up she said she’d support them as well, after the presumed settlement of the King Soopers strike.

“Then go back I guess once they settle,” she said.

Alan Gionet