News

BevMo rallies for second try at Menlo Park store

 

Three years after shelving plans for a Menlo Park store, Beverages & More (BevMo) is back. The alcohol retailer has filed for a liquor license with the state for a new location at 700 El Camino Real, the former site of Chili's restaurant.

The last time BevMo tried to expand the city's alcohol offerings, six other vendors, including Draeger's and Beltramo's, launched a campaign to keep the store out of Menlo Park. The acrimony appears to be stirring again. Residents report receiving unsigned letters begging them to "preserve Menlo's uniqueness" by protesting the big chain's arrival.

Dan Beltramo shed some light on the mailer's origins. "It was sent by a group of retailers that feel strongly the city is best served by retailers already here," he said.

In a fax sent to The Almanac, Beltramo wrote that a big-box store adds no charm to the city, and threatens local purveyors. The fax advocates for a denial of a use permit, claiming the city has already reached a "saturation point" with eight liquor stores.

Anonymous protests seem to be all the rage in Menlo Park lately. The City Council recently voted to settle a lawsuit brought by mostly unidentified plaintiffs that forced, among other changes, the scaling-down of a planned grocery store at 1300 El Camino Real.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by conspiracy
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Sounds like a price fixing conspiracy trying to keep lower priced merchants out of town. Isn't that illegal?


Like this comment
Posted by Enough already!
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Established business interests aside, there's another valid reason to bring BevMo's Menlo Park bid into question - the connection between alcohol density and alcohol-related problems for a community (health, law-enforcement, violence, etc.)

If it's true that Menlo Park has reached a level of saturation with alcohol sales - then at the expense of the ever-touted rationale of "convenience", your community risks a variety of diminishing returns.

I hope your City leaders will examine the science behind this and incorporate whatever they learn into their decision-making. I also hope that the community is able to have a rational discussion about the very real costs and health considerations due to more alcohol outlets without automatically assuming that the questions are generated by "anti-alcohol" or "price-fixing" conspiracies. (Example: As a wine enthusiast and comparison shopper - who doesn't mind driving for great service - I find that Beltramo's, Draeger's and K&L often have lower prices on their wines than BevMo)!

The questions about costs to the community's current businesses and "health" seem appropriate and fair.




Like this comment
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:27 pm

"Dan Beltramo shed some light on the mailer's origins. "It was sent by a group of retailers that feel strongly the city is best served by retailers already here," he said"

Doesn't every business feel this way! The reality is we live in a free market society, or so I like to believe. It's Beltramo's right to fight for his business, but, I don't think limiting competition is the answer. If the market is saturated then BevMo will open and the least competitive retailer will go out of business. And in the end the market will be more efficient. That's the reality of a market place. And, maybe that's what Beltramo is afraid of.

I think BevMo or whoever should be able to open whatever they want in America. If the community doesn't want it, then it will fail. Maybe Beltramo should consider selling his business and buying stock in BevMo if he fears he can't compete.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 15, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I am fully in support of this BevMo. I live quite close to this shopping center, and many of the store fronts are empty. Coupled with the row of empty car dealerships nearby, it makes the city look like it's slowly dying. I would much rather have a BevMo than leave the spot empty. And having it there doesn't detract from the charm of any other business.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Enough Already states:"If it's true that Menlo Park has reached a level of saturation with alcohol sales - then at the expense of the ever-touted rationale of "convenience", your community risks a variety of diminishing returns.

I hope your City leaders will examine the science behind this and incorporate whatever they learn into their decision-making."

It is the job of the free market to determine if the market for any given product or services is saturated. A city government is poorly equipped to make this judgment. Should a city decide how many florists, drugstores, tailors, or churches from which its citizens are allowed to choose?


Like this comment
Posted by Just Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm

More apples and oranges from the esteemed Peter Carpenter:
Liquor stores vs. florists, drugstores, tailors and churches.

C'mon, Peter - the folks on this forum ain't the same rubes you take advantage of on The Almanac's forum!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 15, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Just Wandering has wandered back in from the playground - six postings on six different topics in six minutes with not a single word of substance.

Enough said.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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