Both Albertsons Market stores in Santa Fe are in the middle of substantial renovations that will include adding self-checkout lanes.

Albertsons, contrary to the prevailing winds in the grocery industry, started removing self-checkouts in 2011 to offer more personal service to customer. But on June 18, the nation’s No. 2 supermarket chain announced the return of self-checkouts to 2,300 stores that include Albertsons and numerous members of the grocery giant’s subsidiaries.

That includes Lubbock-based United Family, which operates 28 Albertsons Market stores in New Mexico, and was acquired by Albertsons Cos. in 2013.

United just installed four self-checkout lanes in the two Santa Fe Albertsons Markets on Zafarano Drive and St. Francis Drive. They should be ready for customers by the end of September, said Rich Bichard, senior director of facility support and development at United Family.

United is new to the self-checkout game, only installing its first three self-checkouts this year at another of its grocery chains. There are plans to outfit 14 stores in the coming year, Bichard said. United operates 92 stores in North and West Texas and in New Mexico under five distinct formats: United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos, United Express Fuel and Convenience Stores, and Albertsons Market.

The self-checkouts are part of $500,000 to $750,000 renovations at the Zafarano store and $200,000 to $250,000 renovations at the St. Francis store underway since mid-July and continuing into October. Those construction costs don’t include fixtures and equipment, Bichard said.

These Santa Fe projects follow the 2018 upgrade and conversion of the Albertsons Market on Guadalupe Street into a Market Street and dozens of Albertsons Market remodels in New Mexico in recent years.

Removal of the vinyl composite tile flooring at the Zafarano and St. Francis stores started in early September. Both stores will get the same luxury vinyl tile flooring that looks like wood planks that is in place at Market Street, Bichard said.

The Zafarano store remodel relocated the pharmacy and floral section to the front door and updated the Starbucks area, also at the entrance, Bichard said.

“We are also updating cases in produce and updating frozen and dairy units,” Bichard said.

The Zafarano store will get new freezer and refrigerated units that are more energy efficient with LED lighting. Refrigerated tables have been removed from produce and replaced with orchard bins, he said.

At the St. Francis store, the floral department also will move to near the front door. In addition, that store will get new meat and seafood counters and a new three-door, upright freezer unit will be installed next to the seafood counter, Bichard said.

United Family will finish building a new Albertsons Market in Carlsbad in late January. Remodeling is nearing completion at the store in Taos, and United also has renovated eight or nine Albertsons Markets in Albuquerque in the past two years, he said.