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Author: admin, 26.07.2014. Category: Organic Products

The site of the former Lucky's grocery store on San Pablo and Macdonald Avenue has been vacant for seven years.
When Safeway closed its Macdonald Avenue store and opened a new branch in El Cerrito in August, it brought the number of full-service grocers in Richmond down to three — three supermarkets in a city of more than 100,000 people. In a study sponsored by the California FreshWorks Fund and the California Endowment, the nonprofit Social Compact Inc. But like many stories about stubborn disparity, weeding through the roots of this grocery store gap starts with economics — in this case the business of grocery stores and the supply and demand for retail space in Richmond. In his five years as the head of Richmond’s Office of Economic Development, Thomas Mills has been grappling with the issue of how to bring more supermarkets to the city. It turns out matching a grocery store to a retail location has many of the complexities and frustrations of matchmaking blind dates: picky parties with very specific checklists of what they want. El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store faces the city of El Cerrito, but the property is technically on Richmond soil.
Mills says the specificity with which grocers make decisions about where to locate has been problematic for Richmond in a few ways, the first being an issue of demographics and perception. Whole Foods, for example, has told the city that its checklist begins with the number of college educated people that live within a certain radius, Mills said. When Safeway left town and opened a new store in the more affluent El Cerrito, Janet Johnson couldn’t help feeling burned.
Grocery Outlet came the closest in recent years, when the company made an offer to lease the vacant building at San Pablo and Macdonald Avenue that once housed a Lucky’s grocery store.
Chances are another supermarket chain won’t be moving in across the street to the old Safeway site on San Pablo and Macdonald either. The process for developing new sites to house large-scale grocery stores has barriers, too. Firstenberg said many Bay Area cities, including Richmond and Alameda, run into development problems in built-up neighborhoods where the city blocks are shallow.
With California’s redevelopment agencies facing elimination, and many private sector developers still tentative about investing in new projects, Mills said, he’s not sure how soon new retail developments will materialize. Mills, who is president of the Mandela Foods Co-Op in Oakland, said bringing grocery stores to town will continue to be a priority for the city.
Amazing that one can write so many words and neglect to even mention one of the big reasons: shoplifting by Richmond residents.
Inventory flies out the door by way of the five finger discount many Richmond residents participate in. There are also groceries at Target and Costco, as well as Williams Natural Foods on San Pablo. It’s also true that there are small produce markets in town like those on 23rd Street.
But I still have to travel down the freeway to the El Cerrito Mall to buy the bulk of my groceries because the other stores don’t stock what I want to buy. Like Chris, I’ve been here forever and remember when we had full service grocery stores all over town. I have to agree with some of the commenters as well as a few things that you wrote that perception plays a large role. Then there’s the perceived problem of dealing with boards, committees and even the City Council who often try to dictate to businesses (and grocery stores) telling them how to run their business.

No article on the lack of full service grocery stores would be complete, though, without a discussion about why the stores left in the first place. Not only that, but there’s the negative perception about some of the people who frequent the parking lots of some of these stores that scare people away. We need civic leaders (elected, hired or just self appointed) to work to find ways of bringing businesses INTO Richmond instead of forcing them to leave. You need to define your full service market better, so we know what you’re talking about.
About UsRichmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley for, and about, the people of Richmond, California.
Goodwell’s is located right next door to the nationally-known Avalon Bread and is part of the bustling corner of Willis and Cass Avenue.
As Detroit became the place to be over the past few years, much larger organic food stores (read: Whole Foods) came to town and to the greater Midtown neighborhood. Yet to make a profit in the UK, Whole Foods has continued to expand during its first four years in England, adding its first Scottish store in Glasgow in 2011. Despite the reported losses, the grocer has reiterated its commitment to the UK market, adding that is has three stores in development, scheduled to open from 2013 onwards.
Grocery Outlet wanted to move in, but an executive for the company says the rental costs were outside their business model.
Those full-service grocers include Foods Co., a discount grocer, 99 Ranch, a grocery chain specializing in Asian food products, and El Cerrito Natural Grocery Company, which sits on the border of El Cerrito. Department of Agriculture has categorized parts of the city as ‘food deserts,’ low-income communities that reside more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.
He keeps a Rolodex with the contact information for supermarket chains and real estate brokers.
For grocery stores that have spent years fine-tuning their business models, it means holding out for a building with just the right square footage, visibility and parking, as well as a neighborhood with the right number of households and mix of demographics. Fresh and Easy, Mi Pueblo and the Grocery Outlet are some of the grocers that have expressed interest in coming to town, according to Mills and Firstenberg.
Safeway still has a lease on its old lot in Richmond, and it's unlikely that they will sublease to a competing grocer. That’s because Safeway still has a lease on the building and it’s unlikely that it would let a competitor move in when they have a store one mile down the same road.
Assembling enough land to locate a full-service grocery store would require buying up smaller properties and closing off streets. With redevelopment agencies facing possible elimination and some private developers still feeling tentative about taking on new projects, city leaders say there are fewer resources for developing local infrastructure. Earlier this month, city leaders, community organizers and food justice activists met at city hall in hopes of laying a framework for a new food policy council. How about an article about how the poor people in Richmond make do with plain old food, without a Starbucks? Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of this city. Although just a few years ago, storefronts in that area only about one-half rented, today Midtown is full of new retail options. A separate study prepared by the nonprofit Social Compact found that even when you factored in supermarkets in nearby cities like San Pablo and El Cerrito, a third of Richmond residents still had to travel about a mile or more to get to a grocery store.

It’s one of the reasons why organizations like the California Endowment are funding healthy food initiatives in places like Richmond. But in these cases, the biggest problem has been finding a physical location that meets their model. New Evolution Ventures, which owns Crunch and UFC gyms, is considering sub-leasing the site for a new fitness center.
The cost and complexities of such a project, she said, would be impossible for most grocers to take on. During their discussion they listed out alternative sources for healthy foods, like farmer’s markets, community gardens or smaller independent grocery and produce stores.
But he’s glad people in the city are coming together to find ways to keep the community healthy. Target and Costco do sell food items, although my understanding is that Costco requires an annual membership fee, which may be an issue for some families. It would be a lot more useful, since the upper middle class in the low hills will soon be shopping Foodsco. Also, not only do the shuttered supermarkets create blight and food deserts; the closed Safeway had a a terrific and responsive pharmacy that was more like a neighborhood drugstore. With 15 full time reporters, we’ll be covering education, development, politics, culture, crime—and anything that happens that people need to know about. According to James (as he prefers to be called), the growth in the area has caused the usual parking challenges, but on the other hand, Goodwells is in an excellent location for those patrons who walk or bike to the area. But the Woods family and its employees are sustaining and competing, continuing to be a model for other family-owned grocers in Detroit. One side wall with floor-to-ceiling shelving integrates both display compartments and glass-fronted refrigerators. It’s also worth nothing that all three of these stores are located near the interstate on the edge of town, which may still be a far distance to travel if you live in, say, North Richmond. A long central counter and parallel niches provide seating spots for all communicative requirements. The City Hall we have today has to live with the reputation of the City Hall we used to have. We need you, the users of this site, to talk with us, make suggestions, point us in the direction of the truth, help us report stories of value. Like many small stores, Goodwells has a very loyal following, and the lines are long at the lunch and dinner hour. Chris Rehberger was the person in charge with the creative wall sketches, which ass an artistic touch to the space.
Comment on our stories, correct us when we make a mistake, help us understand the community you live in. Goodwells is here to stay, and James would love to be a model for business success  for other similar stores throughout Detroit.

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