ShopTalk: Sports Gallery and The Annex close

DAY CARE CENTER AT FORMER SU HONG SITE ... When Su Hong restaurant relocated four years ago to a more visible site on El Camino, it left its sprawling building vacant at 4101 El Camino Real, after occupying it for 12 years. Finally, a new tenant is making preparations to take over the nearly 9,000-square-foot space and transform the former restaurant into a preschool. City documents show that Acme Children Center is the new occupant, with plans for the construction of an outdoor playground and five classrooms. The school will be able to accommodate 168 kids. Acme currently operates out of Cubberley Community Center at 4000 Middlefield Road, and its after-school program for kindergarteners through middle school-aged students will continue there.

COLDWATER CREEK TO CLOSE ... Coldwater Creek announced bankruptcy and will close all of its 365 women's apparel stores, including the one at Stanford Shopping Center, the company announced last week. The statement came as a surprise to employees at the Stanford shop. "We found out when you found out," one store clerk said. She said that employees knew the company was in trouble, "but we didn't expect this," she said. "Customers should know that our stores and website remain open for business and we will be providing information about the tremendous values that will be available at our inventory clearance sales in the coming weeks," said Jill Dean, Coldwater Creek's president and CEO. All merchandise is currently 40 percent off. Also affected are Coldwater Creek's other Bay Area stores in the Hillsdale Shopping Center and Westfield Valley Fair Mall.

THE ANNEX GIFT SHOP CLOSES, PREPARES FOR MOVE ... The Annex of University Art, on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Ramona Street, closed last month and has moved much of its merchandise next door to University Art at 278 Hamilton Ave. The art store announced in December 2013 that it was relocating to Redwood City after 65 years in Palo Alto. That move, due in part to Palo Alto's high rents, is tentatively scheduled for May, said store representatives.

SPORTS GALLERY CLOSES ... Yet another long-time downtown shop became a victim of skyrocketing rents. Sports Gallery, 318 University Ave., closed April 13, after 15 years in Palo Alto. "Our overhead and our rent became too much," said Jason Gruwell, who is vice-president of sales and one of four owners of the sports memorabilia shop. "We love Palo Alto; we're sad to leave, but it's the right business decision at this time. We've also noticed that the retail walk-in business is dying a slow death. People are tending to go the Internet route instead," he said. Gruwell is looking for a new location for Sports Gallery, "but it probably will not be in Palo Alto. And definitely not downtown. We've learned our lesson," he said. In the meantime, Sports Gallery has a Mountain View warehouse at 922 San Leandro Ave., which will be turned into a showroom, according to Gruwell.

GROCERY OUTLET THRIVING IN ALMA VILLAGE ... Tony Tenaglia is a happy man. As owner/operator of the new Grocery Outlet, which opened two weeks ago in Palo Alto's Alma Village, Tenaglia cannot hide his enthusiasm. "I knew in my heart we were going to exceed everybody's expectations. And we have done just that," he said. Tenaglia said he arranged the store based on the buying habits of this area. "The placement of fresh and organic produce throughout the store directly reflects the shopping patterns of the community. I've seen the fresh and healthy items in almost everyone's basket," he said. Addressing earlier concerns about the presence of a Grocery Outlet in Palo Alto, Tenaglia admits it was a bumpy road in the planning process. "Initially, there were some concerns. Concern about the sign out front and concern about the previous tenant with some people thinking it would be more of the same, but that's not the case at all," Tenaglia said. The former occupant, Miki's Farm Fresh Market, lasted only six months before it was forced to close from a lack of business.

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. Email


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Posted by He'elp
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Please tell me this is not so. Coldwater Creek is going to close????? I buy 90% of all my clothes there since Talbots closed. Where am I going to shop now?

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm

There's a great Talbots outlet at Marina Square. It's worth the drive over there, depending on the season. I know what you mean about Talbots, though. Great company.

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Can someone please list the organic food at Grocery Outlet, maybe we'll try again. DH went and found nothing. Costco has added so much organic, I wasnt going to bother with GO anymore.

YAY about Acme moving into the forever empty Su Hong site!! So relieved it won't be another on your face overdevelopment in that area. It's right by Keys Middle school, the senior centers, and the thrift store. Walking distance from a lot of nearby housing. Plus trees. Good!

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Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 19, 2014 at 7:38 am

I hope Grocery Outlet doesn't waste precious floor space for organic foods. I prefer bargain prices over Safeway's outrageous gouging.

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Posted by Russky
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 19, 2014 at 9:27 am

Good for Grocery Outlet--I was beginning to think the location was cursed,

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Posted by chap
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

low cost ben and jerry's ,organic ''blue chips'', organic whole wheat bread, low cost cashew nuts...some things at that store. organic cereals .

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Posted by veggieman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Got a great deal on asparagus and bananas...Milk is fair priced as well.

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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2014 at 10:43 am

Hopefully The Annex will find a better fit in RWC. I only visited it a few times because frankly for a store that touts itself as an "art" Annex, it just wasn't.

They carried low end manufactured items with quite a stretch to call it "art."

If they'd carried quality items I suspect they'd have made more and possibly been able to manage the increasing rent.

Good luck in your new location. I grieve not for your departure.

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Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2014 at 10:57 am

Good bye, Sports Gallery. I know that Mountain View isn't far away, but...It's true that eBay is so easy for hunting down collectibles, but eBay cannot replace the interesting conversations to be found at specialty places like Sports Gallery. Mountain View's gain once again from Palo Alto's loss of another kind of quirky, non-hipster stamped-out business, or worse, another startup that offers no storefront on University Avenue. Boring.

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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Mom: I didn't see much in the way of organic at Grocery Outlet when I stopped by to take a look at what they offered. It seemed like a nice store for by food shopping habits of 25 years ago, but I didn't see any of the type of meat, produce, or dairy that I buy now. I'm sure there are lots of people in Palo Alto who do still eat what is offered there, and if it saves them money and driving, that's great. I was thought that the style of the signage is pretty cute, and when driving north on Alma, one does see it in time to turn in. I don't see that I will ever be shopping there. I do buy more and more at Costco, as they have some really wonderful organic and local products now.

Like this comment
Posted by Diana W. Chen
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

FYI: Acme Education School will not move out from cubberley community center for our after school program.

Like this comment
Posted by Diana W. Chen
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

FYI: Acme Education School will not move out from cubberley community center for our after school program.

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