"We have been there through thick and thin, good times and bad, celebrating graduations, marriages, births and family losses," they said in an e-mail of the past 62 years that the Garcia family has owned the modest-sized grocery store.
Emerald Market of Redwood City is the buyer, according to Dennis Garcia.
They said the economy, changing customer buying habits and the inability of a small market to compete in buying power led to the demise.
"We really wish this was to be a happy letter to you, but we can't hide it any longer. It is with great sorrow that we have to tell you that JJ&F is going out of business," the e-mail said.
"Between this terrible economy, and the new consumer shopping habits, we can no longer compete. We don't have the buying power of our competition, so things cost more.
"We have tried, but we can't do this any longer."
A new neighborhood market will replace JJ&F if the sale being discussed goes through, they said.
The demise of JJ&F comes despite a 30-year rent guarantee developer John Smailey of Twenty-One Hundred Ventures LLC pledged when the city approved the College Terrace Centre, a 63,411-square-foot development filling a city block, in 2008.
The rent guarantee and approval were heralded as a way to "save JJ&F," although it would also apply to anyone else who operated a grocery store in the development.
The cousins said JJ&F's leaving "has nothing to do with the College Terrace Center, and/or our landlords. They have been very helpful to us this last year."
But Emerald will maintain a neighborhood market in a new building, Garcia said.
"We are in the process of hopefully selling our assets to someone who shares our sense of community and who has the means and knowledge to make your neighborhood store much better. He also has the means to build the new market, and is planning to do so. The potential buyer has a very nice quality store, with a knowledgeable staff, something we think you deserve," the brothers wrote.
"If you like JJ&F, we think you will love the new store."
But they had strong words of caution for area residents:
"Please understand that they are here for YOU, because we can't be. REMEMBER THIS ... In order to have a neighborhood market in YOUR neighborhood, you MUST shop there.
The full letter is online (www.paloaltoonline.com) attached to the JJ&F story.