Palo Alto Andronico's to close July 24

Los Altos store to stay open as firm reorganizes with new investor

Andronico's market, a high-end grocery store that's been a fixture at Stanford Shopping Center since 1997, will close its doors July 24.

The "rough decision" to close the Palo Alto location came as the family-owned business works through a recapitalization with an unnamed equity partner, a spokeswoman said.

Employees said they were told of the closure Friday.

Around opening time Monday morning it appeared to be business as usual, with freshly stocked shelves of cheese, baked goods and still-warm bread.

"We're hoping to stabilize and strengthen the company long-term" through the reorganization, Diane Krebs, the company's operations administrator, said Monday (July 18).

Signs on the store windows touted big discounts through the July 24 closing, and referred shoppers to the Andronico's in Los Altos's Rancho Shopping Center for the future.

Andronico's was founded in Berkeley in 1929 by Greek immigrant Frank Andronico, and is currently operated by Bill Andronico.

The company has four stores in Berkeley, one in San Francisco, one in San Anselmo and the one in Los Altos.

In 2006, a Danville store was sold and a Walnut Creek location was closed.

"It's unfortunate they are closing because they're a great grocery store and a wonderful addition to the shopping center," said Julie Kelly, Stanford Shopping Center's director of marketing and business development.

"We have a number of options currently under consideration, but no decision has been made for a replacement at this time."

Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce President Paula Sandas said Palo Alto is seeing "some local grocery stores failing or struggling to hang on, while others are thriving."

"Grocery consumers appear to be both location- and price-sensitive -- witness the popularity of Trader Joe's that locate in spaces that were previously grocery stores or have demand for a grocery store, and they sell their products at lower price points," Sandas said.

She noted that larger chains "are carrying more specialty and organic items at lower price points that local consumers used to have to purchase at specialty grocers."

Chris Kenrick

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1 person likes this
Posted by LaBarbe
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

Gee. Long time coming. I've been amazed for years that they could stay open all this time, with the highest prices anywhere. Higher than Draegers. Much higher than WF... even higher than Safeway. Exhorbitant prices. Unbelievable prices. Highway robbery prices. How do stores get away with it? (Are you listening Molly Stone? Piazzas?) Is it just that there are enough well-off consumers around here that don't care what things cost?

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Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:33 am

I like that store. Palo Alto is on a downward spiral. All generic boring businesses replacing the interesting ones.

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Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

If I had only known it was a Greek-owned business, I would've shopped there more often! Good luck, Bill, and thanks for the great food option over the years!

Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

There pricing is abusive

Hey Enough!- What makes them a interesting business? The fact that they charge triple for the same product you could get at Whole Foods? The fact that their staff treats people like they're doing the patrons a favor?

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Posted by Thats Ok
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

@Enough! - I welcome that "downward spiral." I'm so tired of Palo Alto "exceptionalism." I would be happy to see us somewhat more like other towns, and less off on our own, odd-ball axis (like spending $1.3M on children's theater - come on!). Sorry this business didn't make it, but that super Safeway in Menlo Park does me fine.

1 person likes this
Posted by James Fung
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

I'm going to shop at" Mi Pueblo".

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Posted by George K.
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

Draeger's has to be next. Both it and Andronico's could be convenient stops but if that was the price of convenience, it was too high. My last visit to Draeger's was a couple of weeks ago. I needed a few items for dinner, had them in my basket and then added them up. I put everything back on the shelf and went to Trader Joe's. I feel bad to lose this store and don't wish anything bad on the owners or the employees. But the middle class is hurting and can't be counted on to have extra cash to pay premium prices. Andronico's is just one of many area businesses that between high rents and dwindling customer bases won't be able to exist if the recovery doesn't arrive.

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Posted by Janie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:17 am

Good! That place is horrible - I can't believe how many expired dairy products they leave on the shelves - I avoid it when I can - stopped in two weeks ago because I was driving by and thought I'd save some time - just needed milk, eggs and a few other staples. Yogurt all expired. Eggs within a day of expiration. Same old story - same old nearly rotted dairy on the shelves-

I used to be nice 15 years ago - no more.

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Posted by Kris
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

I tried to shop there a few times as well, but couldn't find anything to buy because I wont overpay. Never really understood their angle.

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Posted by Vanessa
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

I'm going to miss this store. Yes, their prices tend to be a bit higher but I only purchase items which I cannot find anywhere else. And it's in a very convenient location.
I'll still shop at Andronico's, just need to drive to Los Altos!
Wonder what they'll put in it's place?

Like this comment
Posted by John Roberts
a resident of Escondido School
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

I used to shop there regularly until incredible rudeness from both an employee and the manager turned me against them. I went in a few weeks ago for the first time in years and found that they had gone down-market on the selection and quality but not the prices. Not much of a loss to my way of thinking, except for the employees who are losing their jobs.

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Posted by cgilbert
a resident of University South
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

I have been asking employees for at least a year now when they were closing and they said, "No one tells us anything." How sad, but the handwriting has been on the wall a long time. I am sorry to see the store and its employees go.

When I realized how badly it was being run, I wrote to Andronico's headquarters hoping it could be corrected and I also wrote to Draeger's and encouraged them to take over this building when it became available. Hope a really good market goes in there because it is very convenient.

1 person likes this
Posted by Chris Gaither
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Wow, I stopped shopping there about 7 years ago when they changed the pricing methods for their deli staff prepared salads. They used to have a flat fee, then they changed to a fee based on weight. Too bad because they have great salads whipped up by the deli staff. Perhaps I will buy one last salad just for the memories!

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Posted by Bad Location
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I've only been there once because of the location being almost in Menlo Park. Seems too far to drive for groceries. I have to pass too many traffic signals to get there. Trader Joe's probably hurt their business too.

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Posted by oo7
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

at least they made potato salad properly with russet ,not red potatoes like whole foods and even calafia! russets make that classic ''creamy'' potato salad.

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a resident of Southgate
on Jul 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I'm sorry some customers didn't like Andronico's in Palo Alto. I ALWAYS found prices fair and--most important--ALL employees were courteous and helpful. They knew me and i knew them I don't think prices were out of line. Of course I'll find another store--but now that I'm almost 92 and have stopped driving, life is going to be ineteresting. join me, folks! You'll all be there before long.

Harry Press

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Way over priced! Shop there once.

Like this comment
Posted by Sally
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I am very sad about this and, as usual, saddened by the nasty tone of many of these posts. Why do people need to rant?

Andronico's had a valuable mix of normal grocery items, excellent deli and other prepared foods (bakery, etc.), good flowers, and interesting items one could purchase for last minute gifts. I found it great for solving a lot of problems in one place. Yes, the prices were a little higher than some, but it was okay because I could do one-stop shopping. Also, all the people I dealt with were very helpful and cheerful. Good luck in the future to all the employees. Thank you for your helpful service.

Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

went there 2X over the years, found it overpriced and not up to the quality I was no loss for me

Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

This will be an interesting vacancy for Simon to fill at Stanford,
given its location out of the mainstream.

Given Trader's Joes and the recent expansion of Safeway, I don't think another full-service grocery will make it. Maybe some kind of upscale food court.

Like this comment
Posted by OccassionalShopper
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I always thought the Stanford Andronico's was in a strange location for a grocery store - in the middle of an upscale shopping center, behind Nordstroms? Kind of an odd one-stop shopping mix: "Let me grab some milk, bread, and... a Chanel purse"

I hope this is not the beginning of the end to all the Andronico's stores. I agree that it is extremely pricey for the run-of-the-mill grocery items like canned goods, cereals, and all the factory brands, which are far less at Safeway and Lucky. While I rarely do my big grocery stock-up shopping at Andronico's, I do like to stop by for some specialty items: imported cookies, yogurts, gourmet frozen foods, an actual butcher counter (not just pre-packaged meats), fresh fruits/veg. I especially enjoy shopping there around the holidays. But hey! Whole Foods is pricey too (!) I go there now-and-then for another set of items - produce, cheese, meat, and cooked foods. Then I go to Trader Joe's because they have good prices on yet other items. How I only wish there was one store that could offer it all: good selection, interesting choices, good prices, convenient location.

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Did anyone notice that Borders will be closing down all of its remaining stores? In addition, the little book store on California Ave. will be closing soon.

That leaves Palo Alto with few options for books.

It is a sad day for readers in Palo Alto!

Like this comment
Posted by Narnia
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Andronico's is the only place where I buy cold meats and a couple of other specialty items that no other place has. Whole foods is not an option because many of their items are their own brand only, so if I'm looking for other stuff they don't have it and their meat and fish are not as good as Andronicos and neither are their prices. Very sad news for me. I'm afraid Los Altos is just a tad too far away to get something in the end of the day. Andronico's selection is very good and their fruit and vegetables always great. Since none of the other store has my specialty items I'm going to shop on Amazon-they can get anything and if they don't there Zabar's.
Many thanks to Bill and the employees.

Like this comment
Posted by CC
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm

This is sad news for a friend who works there. This is the second time a grocery store has closed its doors and left him without a job. The other store was the Lucky/Albertson grocery store near Embarcadero Road and 101. He is always friendly and helpful. I wish him all the best at a finding new job real soon. Hopefully he will get a job at one of the grocery stores I shop at.

Like this comment
Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Wow, lots of poison pens for Andronico's going down; kind of uncalled for, since Mr./Ms. CouponClipper can go ANYWHERE for your food. If the prices don't fit your tolerance, just move on!

For cheap wilted produce, free cheese cubes and self-indulgent product notes, then Trader Joe's is a perfect recipe. If rude crowds and lifeless bargains for average brands sound tasty, Safeway's master plan of world domination awaits your membership. If you like generic food with bargain booze, snatch some Pringles at BevMo.

This isn't an Internet-caused closing; this is the recession taking some of the "good air" away from the "Palo Alto bubble". Yes, it is likely a long time in coming around, but not because some cranky customers don't like the price of eggs. This is a shift resulting from high-end consumers deciding that family vacations, gasoline, and going out to dinner on occasion is more important than high prices for everyday food items.

Sorry to see Andronico's leave. Thanks to all those good people who show some class, some Palo Alto manners, in their responses.

Like this comment
Posted by look
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Start getting use to the new world. If you haven't figured out what is happening now and what is coming at you in the near future, you are in for one big surprise.

Andronicos, and dragers and all of the rest of the tutti fruiti upscale businesses can't survive with the economy faltering. The good times are coming to an end. Pray tell that you in the future will be mingling with the lower class of people at the grocery store. Wake up people. With a very fast approaching peak oil problem and hyperinflation around the corner you will not have to worry about those fine deli meats, and salads and all the rest. They will disappear. Start girding yourself for some very tough and lean times. Maybe Mr. Andronico should walk his stores or have someone else do it to determine his profitability. How much waste is being back charged to the customer. When times were rolling you didn't have to care about what it cost but now everything should be under scrutiny just to stay afloat. Good luck to all of you people who felt that these little special places were owed to you, pampering your inflated egos.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Hey look, who just posted above me, did you see the post by James Fung? He's already on to the new world order scheme of things, because he plans on shopping at Mi Pueblo. If we run out of oil, we can rig an elaborate pulley system to get his food to him from EPA to the hills. Oh, wait, there won't be food at Mi Pueblo if we run out of oil. Uh oh. I guess we'll have to use the pulley system from all the great veggie gardens in EPA.

Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Mayor Sid will announce the name of the new grocery store at Alma Plaza Wednesday.

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Palo Alto --- what a bitter place. Every time a local business closes, so many citizens say Good Riddance. The level of acrimony (about almost everything on PaloAltoOnline) is really very sad.

I want to join the voices who send thanks + best wishes to Andronico's and its employees. I hope the business survives, and will support it in Los Altos. I am not rich, but regularly travel to shop both Andronico's and Draeger's. Everything is fresh there and they have a real butcher.

The price differential between those markets and Safeway is miniscule. I care about the quality of the food I put in my body.

Furthermore, Andronico's and Draegers are locally owned -- not huge chains.

Trader Joe's is not an alternative. While a few things are interesting and fun, TJ produce and dairy are shockingly poor and are consistently past their freshness dates. I won't buy either there, after having to return spoiled food too often. (I'll never forget a time at the Menlo Park store when I put something back on the shelf because it was past its due date & an employee laughingly told me TJ's doesn't care about due dates!)

BTW: Trader Joe's is a German-owned chain of markets (Known as Aldi in most of Europe, or Hofer in some areas). While the wine and packaged goods are ok at those Europe stores, their produce is also iffy....maybe a corporate problem?

Like this comment
Posted by the watcher
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Hey, I'm an old-schooler. I remember when there was a market very close to down town Palo Alto on the corner of Emerson and Lytton. I remember going there during my lunch hour from work. I'd see lots of senior citizens shopping there. Then a few years later the store was closed down and then came Whole Foods. Not that I didn't like Whole Foods, I just felt bad for the seniors that could not afford to shop there. Most seniors are on a fixed income and the prices at WF's is a problem for them. Some of them then started shopping in Menlo Park's Safeway store. However for some of the older folk, going to Menlo Park on the bus was a challenge.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is, Palo Alto should have a grocery store that is econmically friendly for fixed income folk of all ages.

Like this comment
Posted by Gordon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm

It is sad to see businesses fail, but I guess it helps make room for stores more in line with the Palo Alto market. I tried Andronico's a few times after I moved here, but I didn't find it compelling. The new Safeway (90% of my groceries) combined with Whole foods for the remaining 10% suits me just fine.

I hope we get a much better store in its place. All I ask is that it not be yet another Palo Alto rug store :).

Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 19, 2011 at 12:04 am

Quality of Andronico's food was poor -- I would stop there with high hopes every time I was in the Stanford Shopping center but would come away disappointed. Would be great if it could be replaced with a better-managed market. I don't mind paying a little more for good quality and great produce (I am a regular Piazza's shopper).

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Posted by ann
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:24 am

i will miss andronico's in stanford....and so will a lot of the stanford students...beautiful produce and a real butcher...the staff was always polite and very helpful...thank you for all the good years and i hope you survive and succeed...tough times for all....

Like this comment
Posted by wake up call
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

maybe its time to go to places like draegers since we are realizing that only big corporate places are taking over. you dont want to see diversity disappear too soon.

Like this comment
Posted by S Brady
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I agree that Andronico's is overpriced. So if I read some of these comments logically, we should close every overpriced business in Palo Alto. Goodbye Four Seasons, all Starbucks locations where they serve a latte for $3.75 that likely takes less than $2 to make. Let's close all restaurants except Subway, and the entire mall. Loss in tax revenue won't matter, because we will all feel we are no longer forced against our will to go to Andronico's.

Prefer Trader Joe's? Me too. Let all the local union workers who work for a local business at Andronico's lose their jobs, go on unemployment and let's all go to the non-union store owned by a German company - Trader Joe's. Works for me!

Do we care about jobs in this town. Apparently not these jobs, union jobs, local jobs, let them all know we don't care.

Expired dairy products? I got a cheese spread at Safeway the other day, and the expiration date was only visible if I opened the outer package. When I got home and opened it, the top of the cheese was totally green mold, and it was 2 months past the expiration date. But that is OK, since I got a refund and the Safeway store is in a town that cares about tax revenue and supporting local business and jobs- Mountain View.

Andronico's is where I learned the lesson to take the milk carton from the back of the shelf, and that skill comes in handy everywhere.

I will miss Andronico's as will so many Stanford Hospital workers and visitors and those rich people that live in the condo across the street.

But let them eat cake. Cake from the back of the shelf, for sure.

Like this comment
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Their deli had the best lasagna I ever tasted, and they gave me the recipe when I asked. Also, a good selection of hams by the slice or pound. Their wine selection was good. The butcher and seafood was good. They had a huge ice cream selection, and lots of other frozen treats. I will miss them. I will go to the one in Los Altos.

Like this comment
Posted by marty
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I liked the unique variety of foods I could get there. On one occasion, I did have a rather surly assistant, but when I smiled at her and said please and thank you, she cheered up and was very helpful.

I wonder if the snooty, condescending customers bring the rudeness on themselves?

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:49 am

This absolutely breaks my heart. My experiences shopping there (once a week, at least, for years) were wonderful. I could find items not stocked elsewhere, and ALL of the employees (Mitch and Carlos, I'll miss you!) were pleasant and helpful. The prices, at least for the groceries I bought, were the same, or not much higher than at other stores, and somewhat less than Mollie Stone. It is a beautiful, special store, and to think it's closing--and so soon--is really a jolt. My heartfelt thanks and good wishes to all of the employees; I will miss you terribly.

Like this comment
Posted by shopper
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:23 am

We found Andronico's very convenient when we needed food whil tending to family members at Packard and Stanford hospitals. Their hours were more extensive than other food stores at the mall and quality was high.

Like this comment
Posted by JPQ
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:15 am

Once tax increases on income over $250 k, healthcare taxes on investment income, etc., etc., set in, we'll see many more closures of PA's upscale shops as patrons get shoved down the economic ladder.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:29 am

Our family will miss Andronicos!

Besides the great salads, Andronicos roast turkey from the deli, the sandwich bar, bakery, bulk items, and clean spacious and friendly space, there were items there that others don't carry.

We're out of town or we'd stop by and say THANK YOU, we'll miss you!!

Like this comment
Posted by history
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:35 am

It is gone,it is history,we can not turn it back,no way.

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Posted by Jose Juan Ramirez
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I don't live in PA, but I do live walking distance from the San Francisco Andronicos. It has, sadly, gone downhill lately. But in its heyday, I thought it was fantastic. You who are complaining about the prices - do you have taste buds? The food at Andronicos used to be delicious. Safeway and Trader Joes are much lower quality. I'm hardly rich, but I still could afford to occasionally splurge on some delicious specialty items at Andronicos.

Like this comment
Posted by Truthhurtz
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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a resident of Woodside
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

UNEMPLOYED is a registered user.

For all of you haters out their who have nothing good to say about the closing of Andronico's market, keep in mind that 23 people will be out of a job as of July 24th. So this over priced and poorly located grocery may be no loss to you, but it is to those 23 hard working employees. So go dump all of your garbage remarks at the nearest recycling center. "WINNING'

Like this comment
Posted by goodbyefamily
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:49 am

Its so sad to see this store go. Everyone is like family in there. The whole store is deeply enrouted into the community with its daily regular shoppers. I've been going there since I was little to visit my mom that works in the deli. And recently I got a job there. Its sad to see many of my friends and actual family members leave on such a bad note. Yes andronicos is pricey but that's because the quality of the food was so good, its worth spending that extra dollar there. I'm not advertising this place just because I'm an emplyee but as a customer I've valued shopping there all those years. The staff really gets to know you and I as well work very hard to keep customers happy. As the store closes up its doors on sunday, tears will fill my eyes as I say goodbye to my second home. <3

Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

What a joke,other stores will follow,too overpriced for this consumer,just a matter of time,great job Bill!

Like this comment
Posted by CF
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 21, 2011 at 1:14 am

Andronico was overpriced for the quality and had a slew of chronic problems (almost expired dairy, amateur butchers, out of good bread by 6, overpriced staples, etc). I would stop there now and then (it is smack on my commute) and was always sorry I didn't take the time to go to Draegers. Draegers is more expensive than Safeway but mostly because it sells higher quality stuff and much better veggies. On exactly the same items it is the same and occasionally cheaper. And they employ professionals that provide excellent service. TJ has some amazing bargains (some cheeses, olive oil, etc) but their produce is bad. Safeway is open 24h and close-by. So each store has some pluses and minuses but Andronico was mostly minuses.

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

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