Gary Smith launched Safeway Select premium products in 1992, just one of many highlights in a distinguished 40-year career with Safeway. He started stocking shelves while attending college. Eventually he moved to Oakland to oversee grocery operations and was ultimately entrusted with responsibility for private brands marketing and procurement in 1990. He felt strongly that consumers were ready to embrace the idea of premium private label. He assembled the team he needed to launch Safeway products that exceeded the category brand leaders in quality, taste, and value. In so doing he succeeded in creating a premium tier of private label that helped to redefine store brands.