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New grocers may be coming to Navajo area

Posted: February 17th, 2017 | Features, News, Top Stories | No Comments

By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large

Over the past months, we’ve been following the various efforts to attract new grocery stores to move into previously abandoned markets.

We might be quite close to a new tenant in the old Albertson’s at Waring Road and Zion Avenue in Allied Gardens.

Linda Lasher, center manager for Cloverfield Management says talks there are ongoing and constant between the center’s owner and Grocery Outlet, Inc. — a bargain market chain that is headquartered in Berkeley, California.

“We don’t have signatures on the contract yet, but the talks are ongoing. We’re hopeful there’ll be an announcement very soon,” Lasher said.

The notice of application for a license to sell beer and wine at a market has been on the front door of the old Albertson’s for a couple of months now, and the applicant is indeed Grocery Outlet.

Grocery Outlet has applied for a license to sell beer and wine at the old Albertson’s store at Zion and Waring, giving hope to neighbors who have long been needing a nearby grocer. (Photo by Jeff Clemetson)

There are currently 10 Grocery Outlet stores in the San Diego region. Nearby locations include Santee, El Cajon and Casa de Oro. The newest Grocery Outlet opened in January in Mira Mesa, so it looks like the company is very interested in expanding into the region.

According the company’s website, Grocery Outlet customers are “bargain hunters, coupon clippers, working parents, thriving families, and those who love high-quality products at very low prices.”

The website also says that most Grocery Outlet stores are “independently operated by locally-based families.” We’re not sure whether the Allied Gardens store will be operated by a local family, but we’ll let you know when we know.

At the abandoned Fresh and Easy store on Navajo Road in San Carlos, things are, apparently, not nearly so close to fruition. Athena Property management president Mike Garner relayed through a spokesperson the status there.

“We are talking with several different interests about that space,” he said. “There are a number of companies interested enough to talk about it, but not near any kind of agreement yet with anyone. It should be noted that some of the groups interested in the property are not grocery companies, but other kinds of businesses.”

Waiting to hear on that gave us a chance to check with other food marketers on their possible interest. What we did find out is that Whole Foods and Sprouts know of the property, but aren’t interested.

Sprouts said the facility just isn’t big enough for their kind of operation. Whole Foods just isn’t interested.

We’ll keep an eye on both.

—Doug Curlee is Editor-at-Large. Reach him at doug@sdcnn.com.

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