http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2012/04/20/east-palo-alto-best-buy-store-to-close


Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 20, 2012

East Palo Alto Best Buy store to close

Company plans 50 shutdowns nationwide

by Sue Dremann and Bay City News Service

Electronics retailer Best Buy announced the locations of 42 of its big-box store closures Saturday, April 14, including East Palo Alto and Pittsburg.

Five other California stores will also shut down.

The 45,000-square-foot East Palo store, located at 1751 E. Bayshore Road, is part of the Ravenswood 101 Retail Center, which also includes IKEA. When Best Buy opened in November 2000, along with the now-departed EXPO Design Center, it was hailed for creating 150 jobs and boosting sales-tax revenue by $250,000 a year.

Now, it is expected to close permanently by May 12.

Officials said employees were notified about the closures Saturday morning, as were store customers.

East Palo Alto City Councilman Carlos Romero said the closure announcement doesn't come as a surprise. As the city's economic-development team ran its annual financial reviews over the past few years, "the handwriting was on the wall." He said Best Buy let the city know a couple of months ago the store would close.

Mayor Laura Martinez said staff has been seeking a replacement for Best Buy, and two options look possible.

"It is a loss for the city and has a negative impact on sales-tax revenue, but Best Buy is not one of our biggest sales-tax generators," she said.

Romero said the city took in $2.9 million in sales-tax revenue in 2010; Best Buy contributed about 8 to 9 percent. That figure computes to about $230,000 to $260,000.

Ravenswood 101 is one of the busiest shopping centers in the area, drawing shoppers regionally, Romero and Martinez said. In 2010, the center ranked as the third-largest revenue generator in the state for a regional center of its size, at about 900,000 square feet, Romero said.

City leaders think the center has a solid retail mix that will continue to attract shoppers. With IKEA as part of the draw, Ravenswood 101 is considered a regional power center, he said. The center has a Home Depot, Office Depot, Nordstrom Rack, Sports Authority, San Mateo Credit Union, Mi Pueblo Market and a variety of eateries.

Romero declined to discuss possible replacements, but one option looks "very, very promising," and with luck a deal could be struck in the next couple of months, he said.

Best Buy had 88 employees in early 2011. About 26 employees, or 30 to 31 percent, were East Palo Alto residents, he said.

Martinez said store officials are working with employees at soon-to-be shuttered locations to find positions within the Best Buy company or could offer severance packages.

Best Buy still operates a store in Mountain View, on Charleston Road, which opened in 2006.

The electronics store announced at the end of March its plans to close 50 stores nationwide by the end of 2012.

Two stores in Kansas City, Mo., and Scottsdale, Ariz., closed earlier this year and five other stores in Minnesota's Twin Cities and one in San Antonio, Texas, were notified of their impending closures in March.

Three additional locations are expected to permanently close later this summer.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by MIke, a resident of University South
on Apr 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

I wonder who will move into that location.


Posted by Shopper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

Amazon pushing brick and mortar stores into financial limbo.


Posted by registered user, Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Apr 15, 2012 at 11:41 am

"Amazon pushing brick and mortar stores into financial limbo."

What is pushing many brick and mortar stores into limbo is not Amazon but rather those companies being unwilling to change to meet the needs of their customers - just look at Apple's brick and mortar stores.


Posted by big A, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 15, 2012 at 11:52 am

Apple's strategy is price-fixing to keep internet retailers from undercutting the factory stores. Best Buy can't do that.


Posted by alan, a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Are you kidding? I never pay retail for new Apple merchandise on Ebay.


Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Apr 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm

A big new Apple store would be great!


Posted by Cora, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Trader Joe would be a good addition to the neighborhood.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I don't understand Cora's comment. We do have a Trader Joe's in Palo Alto at T & C on Embarcadero Rd.


Posted by Martin, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

Fry's is reportedly looking for a new site ... This could be it! That way, we could make our weekend Fry's and Home Depot stops in one trip. :)


Posted by tj, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

A Trader Joes in East Palo Alto is a great idea for people living nearby. No one wants to bicycle over Hwy 101 to get to the grocery store.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:15 am

TJ won't go there. Store is far too big for their normal sqft. And no offense to the local population, but the location does not fit their typical demographic target.

Fry's would be a great fit. Aren't they going to have to leave their current PA location?


Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

No way is Fry's going to take that spot . . way smaller of a footprint than their current site plus the local demographics are probably not a good match.


Posted by chris, a resident of University South
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

The city of Palo Alto will be in deep yogurt if they let Fry's move to East Palo Alto.


Posted by registered user, Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

"The city of Palo Alto will be in deep yogurt if they let Fry's move to East Palo Alto."

Fortunately any decision to move would be Fry's and it would not be subject to the approval of the City of Palo Alto's.


Posted by registered user, Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

"The city of Palo Alto will be in deep yogurt if they let Fry's move to East Palo Alto."

Fortunately any decision to move would be Fry's and it would not be subject to the approval of the City of Palo Alto's.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

Trader Joe's is too upscale for EPA.

They really need a regular market such as Lucky's, which would offset EPA residents crowding our Midtown Safeway. How can the city be so stupid in making their residents go to another city for a basic need such as food? The Mexican market is just not the same.


Posted by G TOWN, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:50 am

Target.grocery, electr,and clothing etc...All in one or Walmart.


Posted by 101 shopper, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

The level of ignorance and racism expressed by allegedly open-minded and highly educated Palo Altans is astounding. Have any of you ever visited the 101 center or are you too afraid of being mugged?

101 does not need a grocery because Mi Pueblo is there. Surprise! It's a spacious, clean, well-stocked supermarket with a great deli. The produce is better than you'll find at Safeway and it's competitively priced. Nice people too.

I've also visited the Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Office Depot, and of course the Rack and Home Depot many times. I have an account at the credit union. Never felt threatened or worried about lowlifes or gang members, and I'm a small white mom whose command of Spanish is sadly lacking. If you terrified Palo Altans could muster enough bravery to venture to that side of the freeway, you'd find that the clientele are a perfectly benign mix of EPA residents and employees of EPA companies (including, surprise, the University Circle law firms).

What does the mall need to fill the Best Buy vacancy? I'd vote for a CVS or Walgreens. There aren't any good-sized, full-service drugstores serving the EPA/Belle Haven community.

Palo Alto only wishes it had the sales taxes from 101! But that's no excuse for Palo Altans to look down your noses at what's proven to be a lively mall with a decent selection of big box retail.


Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

Yes, a Wal-Mart or Tar-jay store would be good, too. Too bad it isn't big enough for a Super Wal-Mart such as in Gilroy. I am not a big fan of Wal-Mart but the company fills a need for those who are not of the privileged granola crunching class that can afford to shop in "socially responsible" or "politically correct" retail establishments.

Mi Pueblo is a GREAT market even for us non-Hispanics. Love the food, ambience, meat market, bakery, veggies. Like a "mercado." Try it, you'll like it. The Mi Pueblo on Rengstorff is a pale version of this one.


Posted by Member, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

Before Mi Pueblo opened, the city had no real supermarket where milk, bread, fruits and vegetables and other groceries could be purchased within the city, in one place, so it has been a very welcomed addition to Ravenswood 101. As "101 shopper" states, Mi Pueblo is clean, well-stocked and offers good produce at competitive prices.

I still make treks to Palo Alto, Menlo Park, or Redwood City (whichever is most convenient during my weekly errands) to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for products not sold at any Mexican market, but I would not call Trader Joe's too upscale for EPA. Actually many East Palo Altans do shop at Trader Joe's, it's not only me. In addition, it could serve Palo Altans who live closer to 101 than Town & Country. It is unlikely that a Trader Joe's would replace Best Buy, but more likely due to the square footage than to the "typical demographic target."

My hope is the city would NEVER approve a Walmart or Target, but a CVS or Walgreens would actually be very convenient to East Palo Alto residents such as myself.


Posted by tlc, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

All comments about EPA's "demographics" is not suited for a TJ's comments made me laugh. Those people obviously have not shopped at the Ravenswood 101 shopping center. The center serve the area much larger that just EPA. People who shop there come from areas up and down the 101 corridor.

As for EPA residents themselves, why the heck TJ's would be too "upscale"? Most items are reasonably priced and affordable. You don't have to be high-income to enjoy a Two Buck Chuck and actually quite the contrary. I'm an middle-class Asian professional who lives in EPA by choice. I love the Mi Pueblo market. It's clean, well-stocked, well-priced, has friendly staff. Not to mention the yummy foods in the food court area. Not to mention, weekend special food offering (such as yummy oysters or grilled chicken). It's much more interesting than a Safeway or Lucky's and I'd much prefer it to the others.

Actually I'm glad Best Buy is closing. It gives opportunity for other more "useful" store. I'd prefer a discount store like Marshall's or Ross. A Target, Walmart would be great too.


Posted by no anything, a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Huh? says -- They really need a regular market such as Lucky's, which would offset EPA residents crowding our Midtown Safeway.


I don't know Midtown or Safeway, but I am tired of residents crowding our anything.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Remember - a lot of the idiots posting here who're non-residents aren't really aware of current EPA demographics, nor are they aware of who comprises the shoppers at 101. It's a really vibrant shopping center. I just wished the grocery store carried a line of organic food.

It would be great to have either a Target or a large drugstore there. A TJ's would be wonderful, but it's too large of a site. I was never a fan of that Best Buy, for a number of reasons, so I'm not sad to see it go.


Posted by Trader Joe,s location, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm

There is a Trader Joe's in Palo Alto, in Town and Country Shopping Center, but hard to see it! It's sort of hidden by other buildings further down. Drive about in the lots and you WILL find it.
Bounded by El Camino Real/ Embarcadero Rd. There is a school across the way, and a underpass for the train.


Posted by Bye Bye Worst Buy, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I'm not surprised one bit. You could go to Best Buy, mark down an item number then go to the internet and find it practically EVERYWHERE for far less money; brick and mortar or Amazon and the like, it didn't matter.
Best Buy was the place to go look at something before actually buying it for fair value somewhere else.


Posted by Cooley Resident/EPA, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

We need a CVS or Walgreens. The traffic is terrible trying to get through downtown Palo Alto when you need sundries or medication. We have plenty of parking and Gateway 101 is the Best!


Posted by ByeBuy, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I second all those suggesting a Target for sundries, household needs and clothes. Another clothing outlet like The Rack would be handy too since there aren't many (affordable) clothing stores in the area. Maybe even Old Navy or a Marshalls. If TJs opened a shop there then I'd switch from T&C right away. What a parking lot nightmare that place is! But I thought there was talk of opening a new grocer at the Edgewood Plaza.


Posted by Cora, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm

If I lived near either side of 101, I would shop more often in a Trader Joe store rather than a traditional supermarket like Mi Pueblo. The T.J. is not necessarily an expensive high end store. You can buy healthy top quality local and international grocery products at reasonable prices there.


Posted by I vote for a TJ's, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I love Ravenswood 101 and I'm very thankful to have all of the great stores/services so close to home! I go to Mi Pueblo quite often for groceries and dinner, and I grab a Starbuck's coffee if the traffic heading north is packed in the morning. I also love Nordstrom Rack, Home Depot, and Sports Authority.

If a Trader Joe's opened up there, that would be my "local" TJ's. Anything to avoid the dreadful traffic jams and nutty/aggressive Palo Alto drivers around Town and Country.


Posted by Go EPA, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Foster City has done an excellent job converting the old Fashion Island Center. It's a pleasure to visit (especially in comparison to trying to run errands in Mountain View or Redwood City). They have a fanastic Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Babies R Us, etc. -- everything people with young kids need. EPA already done a great job recruiting stores where people want to shop. Here's hoping they follow the model of Foster City and create a vibrant commerce center starting off with a big new Target.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Those of you who think Trader Joe's is not a good fit for the neighborhood are _______s.


Posted by Mr fischer, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Target <yes, Walgreens, <yea..., CVS<yes, FOOOODCO Definatley!!!!,....Mi Pueblo is a very noisy carnival store,besides I am an American and I cook at home and I do not eat mexican food every day, I eat worldly food need more variety not spicy, hot or sweet. And TRADER JOES,..Or Whole Foods are far more healthier,...but only if you read the labels on your food. try it you will live longer.


Posted by Hacker, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm

The BEST outcome would be for Facebook to lease out the space and make it into a hacker space / co-working space for new start-ups. At 45,000 sq ft it would probably be the largest free standing co-working space in the world. Call it "Hacker world" and fill it with 50 - 100 startup companies / hacker teams that want to incubate companies. Good for Facebook. Good for local commerce. Great for local property values. Change the dynamics and branding of EPA.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Please - don't call EPA's rep "branding." Sorry to be picky, but that's an obnoxious term. It would only change the dynamics so much. Oh, and whatever goes there - we need sales tax. That'll make a big difference in our rep.


Posted by 101 shopper, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2012 at 12:26 am

A "hacker space" doesn't belong in a retail mall. At least not at ground floor level. But hackers hang out at the Starbucks all the time.

As for "dynamics and branding," a lot of us like the EPA vibe the way it is. If local property values rise, many current residents will have to move, and we really don't need a me-too Palo Altoesque community on the other side of the freeway. As it is, EPA is the last remaining frontier town on the peninsula, and a lot more interesting than staid Palo Alto and Menlo Park. E


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

To 101 shopper - Word!!