By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Allied Gardens’ only grocery store closed last month after 60 years of service under various names, lastly Albertsons. There have been any number of guesses why that happened.
One rumor that seems to be enjoying more lives than a cat is that the owner of the shopping center plans to eventually tear down the whole thing and build condos and apartments in its place.
“Absolutely insane!” was the reaction of Linda Lasher, the onsite property manager for owner Mark Kelton.
“Not at all. There has never been any thought about that kind of thing,” she continued. “There are a number of companies we are in serious talks with to come in and provide the goods and services needed.”
Lasher won’t name any of them, of course, and she can’t without jeopardizing any deal, but she assures there will be something there for Allied Gardens, sooner or later.
There has been a lot of curiosity about exactly why Albertsons LLC, which owned the now-closed store, decided the store was “not performing to expectations,” and many of them are only wild guesses without any basis in fact.
One thought that is worth thinking about is this: The Albertsons that closed was obviously a union shop. It may be that it just couldn’t support the heavier kind of payroll needed to make a store there pencil out. Would it be easier to open and stay open as a non-union store, with the consequent lower payroll a non-union store would be likely to carry? It’s very possible.
The store closing hasn’t seemed to have the effect on the rest of the shopping center’s businesses that it might elsewhere. Only a couple of the businesses there conform to what we think of as commercial operations, such as Par Grocery & Liquor next door.
Michael Putrus at Par said the store might have seen a small increase in business as a result of the Albertsons closure — depending on the day.
“You never know what it’s gonna be like from day to day. Yeah, we’d probably like to see another store there, but I don’t know,” Putrus said. “I’ve heard talk about Trader Joe’s.”
Loretta Hernandez at the UPS store in the same center said things are not much different now that Albertsons is gone.
“There may not be as many people around, but we really don’t notice, because our business is the kind where people come here especially for us, and not as part of a shopping day,” she said.
That’s true of most of the center’s businesses. In fact, the day we were there, the vast majority of what cars were in the lot were pretty much centered around one business: Pal Joey’s Bar and Lounge.
—Contact Doug Curlee at firstname.lastname@example.org.