Whole Foods to plant Wild Oats at Edgewood ...
SEARS TO STAY, HOME DEPOT OUT . . . Home Depot will have to wait a bit longer for a store in Mountain View. It was poised to set up shop in San Antonio Shopping Center when Sears' 50-year lease expires in March, 2007. But in eleventh hour discussions, the Home Depot deal was off and Sears renewed its lease for three years. It took Sears employees by surprise, who were told of the new arrangements on Feb. 22. "They said the deal fell through. They're out. We stay," said one cashier. Sears, which had been heavily discounting its merchandise in anticipation that Home Depot would take over the site next month, instead will continue its reduction sale. Sears plans now call for a huge remodel after its current inventory is sold. Bright green and orange flyers are taped on the store's entrance doors, announcing, "Good News! Remodel Sale! We have renewed our lease." This was Home Depot's second try to make inroads into Mountain View. The first, in 1998, was an attempt to open at El Camino Real and Highway 85, where Camino Medical Group is currently finishing construction of its new building.
WHOLE FOODS TO PLANT WILD OATS AT EDGEWOOD . . . There will be no scarcity of organic grocers in Palo Alto with last week's surprising news that Whole Foods Market has acquired Wild Oats Markets. It paid $565 million for the chain of 110 U.S. and Canadian stores. Wild Oats, which could be re-branded as Whole Foods, is scheduled to open in Edgewood Plaza in about two years, according to one source familiar with the deal. Natural food store Trader Joe's also recently announced it will open a new shop in Town & Country Village -- confirming last year's reports in Shop Talk. Palo Alto's current Whole Foods Market on Homer Avenue was one of the company's first stores. The tightly packed store (some say congested, inside and out) is smaller than other Whole Foods and was rumored to possibly close when the new one opens in Edgewood in 2009.
JJ&F HEADING DOWNTOWN? NOPE . . . The Whole Foods/Edgewood rumor mill keeps cranking, this time churning out speculation that JJ&F, College Terrace's beloved family-owned grocery store, was eyeing the Whole Foods site on Homer due to a rent and space dispute with its landlord. "Absolutely untrue," JJ&F co-owner John Garcia says. "In fact," he said, "things are looking promising here. We've recently agreed with our landlord on our monthly rent and mediation is continuing over the issue of back rent."
RESTAURANT HONORED, FROM THE HEART . . . What a way to celebrate a one-year anniversary! El Camino Hospital in Mountain View has chosen a downtown Palo Alto restaurant for a unique collaboration in its heart health program. Junnoon, 150 University Ave., which opened one year ago, is the first partner of the hospital's South Asian Heart Center to offer a heart-friendly menu. "We're honored," Junnoon owner Sabena Puri said of the designation. Puri, along with her chef, worked with the heart center's nutritionist to develop special items in line with the center's guidelines. "All our food was analyzed and we found a lot of our menu items didn't even have to be changed. Indian food can be very healthy," Puri said. The pomegranate, peanut and fresh sprout salad, for example, is one of the heart-healthy selections, "The only thing I had to change was to reduce the number of peanuts in the salad," she said. The specialty foods are in addition to the regular menu, which offers an extensive collection of what Puri calls "modern Indian food. It's so much more than tandoori and curry and buffets. What we serve here are the flavors of modern India. It's the next generation of Indian food." Puri, a Harvard Business School graduate, has had unusual success for her first venture into the restaurant business. It took almost one year and nearly $1 million to transform the bare-bones former sushi restaurant into the high-end Junnoon. Puri's own elegance and charisma combines with the restaurant's impressive interior that has helped Junnoon become critically acclaimed. Esquire Magazine recently named it one of the 20 best new restaurants nationwide.
Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. She can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.