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New market to open in College Terrace

Grocery store operator the Khourys are 'personally thrilled' to return to neighborhood

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Palo Alto's College Terrace neighborhood will soon have a new grocery store with owners who are familiar to shoppers. The Khoury family will soon reopen in the location of the College Terrace Market, family patriarch Joe Khoury said.

Joe Khoury took over the space JJ&F had inhabited for more than 60 years at 520 College Ave. in 2011, after longtime owners and founders the Garcia family, sold the building. The Khourys replaced the long-beloved JJ&F Market with their own, but they were evicted in 2013 after the building was demolished to make way for the College Terrace Centre office, retail and housing development.

They expressed interest in returning to the new grocery site, which is located just north of the original location, after the Centre opened in 2016. But a different grocer, the College Terrace Market, was selected. Its operators closed the market in December 2017 after about six months.

Officials announced the Khourys return on Monday night.

The mixed-use College Terrace Centre at 2100 El Camino Real was completed in 2016, with the market designated by the council as a "public benefit." The city began charging the new building owner fines in July for violating the Planned Community ordinance for the site, which guarantees a continually operating market and fines the property owner if the site is vacant beyond six months.

But the fines will be short-lived. Jalil "Papa Joe" Khoury, whose family owns several businesses in the Peninsula, including the recently opened The Courthouse 2021 in Redwood City, told the council on Monday night that he looks forward to returning to the community soon.

He also said in a statement that after 43 years of serving people across the greater Bay Area, his family is "personally thrilled to return to our first roots in the Bay Area."

"We are looking forward to re-connecting with old friends here as we open our market with locally sourced produce, meats and, of course, our enduring emphasis on service."

The Khoury family was brought in by Jason Oberman, whose firm, Blox Ventures, bought the blocklong development in July for $78.5 million.

At the time, he told the Weekly that he hoped to find a grocer "something along the lines of JJ&F," a store he had often frequented.

In a statement, Oberman said his firm "not only wanted a high-quality market at the property, but specifically targeted JJ&F Market to bring it back to its former home -- a true win for the community, and a personal joy for me as my family enjoyed frequenting it from my childhood until it closed a decade ago."

"We're pleased we can now also contribute to the local organic food movement," Oberman said.

Mayor Liz Kniss lauded the news on Monday night.

"For everyone who lives in that area in particular, it will be really exciting to know that and celebratory for the community to finally have JJ&F back," Kniss said at the meeting.

While Kniss and Blox Ventures framed the agreement as the return of JJ&F, the Garcia family made it clear on Tuesday that they are not returning to College Terrace.

John Garcia told the Weekly that his family did not sell the name or the market to the Khourys and is not associated with the Khoury's enterprise.

On Tuesday, Oberman met with Garcia to discuss the name of the new market and to learn about the family's concerns, said Richard Hackmann, who is working with Blox.

Hackmann told the Weekly that because the Khoury family operated JJ&F for several years and was the owner at the time it closed, Blox was not aware that there would be an issue with bringing back the name. Hackmann said Blox and the Garcias will meet again early next month to make sure everyone is happy with the new arrangement.

"We don't want the JJ&F name to be used if the Garcia family is not comfortable with it," Hackmann said. "We really want JJ&F and the Garcia family and their legacy to be celebrated."

Staff writer Sue Dremann contributed to this story.

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Editor's note: This story has been clarified to reflect the fact that the founders of JJ&F, the Garcia family, are not involved in the new market.

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Comments

29 people like this
Posted by dtnorth
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2018 at 10:07 am

If I read this story correct they are going to use the name JJF? If that is the case that is so wrong. They had nothing to do with the original JJF but they closed them down. They need to come up with their own name. What a farse to run on JJF's name


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2018 at 10:36 am

I'm a pragmatist-- I'm glad the fines and negative publicity got the attention of Blox Ventures. I'm -hoping- that the market receives enough support from Blox long enough to give the market a chance of developing a clientele. I'll try it out. Where should I park?


13 people like this
Posted by Another bust?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 28, 2018 at 10:43 am

Sounds like this is a chain store? Id that what palo alto wants? I guessed it is outside the California Avenue zone that Holman and council banned chain stores from. Will it get community support? Will all the people who clamored for a store shop there? Will they be overpriced? Perhaps the council can institute mandatory shipping for college terrace residents there


44 people like this
Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2018 at 11:00 am

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

Wow. Three initial posts, and two of three are negative! Why not be thankful and leave it to the neighborhood and community to try out the new store and see if it fits their needs?


21 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2018 at 11:05 am

Annette is a registered user.

" . . . in 2011, after longtime owners and founders, the Garcia family, sold the building." HUH?

I see it as welcome news that a regular grocery is going into that space. Obviously the Khourys aren't the Garcias but as I recall they have a similar approach to customer service. The plan revisions that put the grocery where it is, the parking where it is and the signage how it is are challenges that worked against previous grocers. Hopefully third time's the charm.


17 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2018 at 11:07 am

Novelera is a registered user.

@TorreyaMan: Amen. Sometimes the negativity on Town Square is unbelievable.


7 people like this
Posted by dianajill
a resident of Nixon School
on Aug 28, 2018 at 11:44 am

dianajill is a registered user.

To Anon:

Parking at the new JJ&F store is under the building. The entrance is not obvious and the driveway is narrow and steep, but once inside the basement, you'll have cool parking with an elevator directly into the store.


84 people like this
Posted by John Garcia
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm

JJ&F is not coming back and I wish the reporters would stop using our name in the articles. It is the College Terrace Center that the Khoury’s are opening a store. JJ&F is a corporate name and is owned by Lloyd Dennis and I. I am excited for the neighborhood and the Khoury’s, but JJ&F is unfortunately not returning. The reporter is incorrect.


17 people like this
Posted by Muchacha
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 28, 2018 at 12:27 pm

I hope that this time The Republic Bank will be sharing some of its sign space. You couldn't even see that a market was occupying the space.


10 people like this
Posted by Another bust?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 28, 2018 at 12:37 pm

They have signage. And I doubt they're key to success will be random people seeing a sign on el camino. The key to success will be the college terrace neighborhood doing all their shopping there. They will know where the store is and will not need signage. Plus tom Dubois told us that large grocery signs are bad ( i.e. grocery outlet)


9 people like this
Posted by When Will They Learn
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Sadly, this store will most likely fail. I'm not trying to be negative and truly hope it doesn't, but the fact is that the footprint of the store is too small to support a viable alternative to the large markets in Palo Alto. Add to that the lack of parking and signage and it would be very difficult at best, to be profitable.

The Garcia family barely survived during the last four years of operation after being there for 60 years and they knew how to run a market, unlike Miki's ownership that didn't have a clue and failed twice.

Demanding neighbors insisted on a market in the location and failed to support it. What makes anyone think this will be any different? Stopping in for a carton of milk or a loaf of bread when you're in a hurry just won't cut it, especially when you do all the rest of your shopping somewhere else. That's what 7 Eleven is for.

The Edgewood Market is in the same boat. Every time I shop there the place is nearly empty. Really nice store, great people, great products and very few customers, but should it fold the neighbors will be squealing again.


9 people like this
Posted by Terrace Antelope
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Terrace Antelope is a registered user.

I do wish the new building had a more inviting entrance on College like the old JJ&F. They messed-up with the building lay-out, in my opinion...


10 people like this
Posted by Jesse Moy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2018 at 2:31 pm

I will never step into this market. The building that is there now was a huge mistake, it's ugly and blocks the views. They never should have replaced what was there before. I think the new building has bad luck.


4 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Sea Reddy is a registered user.

Congratulations.
The community needs it.


11 people like this
Posted by Incredible
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2018 at 2:56 pm

> If I read this story correct they are going to use the name JJF? If that is the case that is so wrong. They had nothing to do with the original JJF but they closed them down. They need to come up with their own name. What a farse to run on JJF's name.

>> Sounds like this is a chain store?

>>> JJ&F is not coming back and I wish the reporters would stop using our name in the articles. It is the College Terrace Center that the Khoury’s are opening a store. JJ&F is a corporate name and is owned by Lloyd Dennis and I.


Amazing..and how tacky. So goes the old ways of Palo Alto. Bye bye.


8 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I LOVE that rendering by the Hayes Group and SWA Group. If I didn't know better I would say it is a drawing of a store at the corner of College and El Camino, done in appealing, neutral colors. IF ONLY!!


22 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2018 at 3:56 pm

"I LOVE that rendering by the Hayes Group and SWA Group. If I didn't know better I would say it is a drawing of a store at the corner of College and El Camino, done in appealing, neutral colors. IF ONLY!!"

To borrow from Mark Twain: There are lies, damned lies, and architectural renderings.


2 people like this
Posted by When Will They Learn
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2018 at 4:00 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by When Will They Learn
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

[Post removed.]


31 people like this
Posted by John Garcia
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:29 pm

This morning I get a text with a picture of the headline about JJ&F. That is the first I had heard of this. There is a lot of history and emotions that go along with that name for me. That name is part of my family. That name aloud me to live in this area. I owe a lot to that name. John, Joe and Frank knew how to run a grocery store and knew about customer service. Lloyd, Dennis and I learned from the best. We tried to live up to that name. The following and support from our friends who shopped with us daily are a tribute to that name. The Khoury’s did a great job with what they were given to continue running that location with those values. We allowed them to keep the name on the building to help them survive in the building that they had. That was the name for that building, maybe not this one, we will see. We are talking with the Khoury’s about this and I know that the name will or won’t be JJ&F. The Khoury’s were very nice to us. They employed Lloyd, Dennis, as well as my son. They knew the hell that we went through with the old developers. They tried, with a leaky roof and the ceiling falling to run that store. We knew what they were going through with the old developers, and they kept it going in spite of what they had. I don’t know about the name but I do know they will do their best (and with a new building).


12 people like this
Posted by When Will They Learn
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Should the store fail there will be no one to blame but the neighbors in the community who demanded a market be included in the development. Who else would go out of their way to patronize a small store without the stock on hand and limited parking, to compete with the other markets in Palo Alto? Shop there for all your groceries or keep quiet.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2018 at 9:38 am

Posted by When Will They Learn, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Should the store fail there will be no one to blame but the neighbors [...] Shop there for all your groceries or keep quiet.

How about this? No special zoning exceptions or public benefits or anything else "special" asked for by developers. Stick to the zoning, period.

Should the store fail there, then, the developers have no one to blame but themselves-- and, they are obligated to do what it takes to find and keep a local market going there.


3 people like this
Posted by Michael O
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 29, 2018 at 9:43 am

The last market shut down with subsidized rent. Unless the rent AND the groceries AND the staff are subsidized this one will shut down too. I’ll shop to be nice but Whole Foods is not so far (and they deliver) and I have those Molly Stones gift cards to use up...It will be entertaining to watch at least.


4 people like this
Posted by I'll probably be there daily
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 29, 2018 at 9:47 am

I live right by it. They'll get a lot of my $, that's for sure.


5 people like this
Posted by Carnivore
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 29, 2018 at 9:48 am

Will the new store have a really good butcher department like JJ&F?

Duca-Hanley (Midtown) is long gone.

Same for United Meat Market (California Avenue).

Schaub's & Dittmer's only current options.

Stopped eating Safeway beef 20 years ago.

Big difference between a real butcher & a 'meat cutter'.

Butchers know how to trim & suggest the best cuts in stock.


13 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Duveneck School
on Aug 29, 2018 at 10:02 am

@When Will They Learn: Agree that the Khoury's might have a difficult time surviving, especially since JJ&F has been gone for years, thus the community has moved onto different shopping routines.

Disagree with you, however, about The Market at Edgewood—the place is thriving and is busy. The owners are always there, delivering superior customer service. It's a much better store than Fresh Market was. The owners have hit the sweet spot of high quality items but regular brand items too (Fresh Market had too many offbeat brands). The meat department has AMAZING quality, their produce department has amazing quality, their general selection of other items is fantastic. I no longer have to run to the dingy Milk Pail for produce or Whole Foods or Piazza's for meat. Their cakes (the owner who sold cakes at Miki's on El Camino) are excellent (as long as they are fresh—they keep them up to 7 days—order for an occasion so it's fresh). I can actually find everything I need at The Market, vs. having to shop at Safeway also when the Fresh Market was there. Sure, I still visit Safeway occasionally, but don't NEED to like before.


20 people like this
Posted by Ahmad
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 29, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Will the new Khoury's/JJ&F accept SNAP (foodstamps)?


3 people like this
Posted by Revolving door
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 30, 2018 at 11:51 am

The revolving door yet again.
Richard Hackmann worked in the City Manager's office and now switches sides, from working for residents to working for a developer who may need to advocate before the Council.

Some people wonder why there is so much negativity.
Here's a clue.
Trust in the city staff is at a historic low.


5 people like this
Posted by Loyal
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 31, 2018 at 3:52 pm

The Market at Edgewood is the best! Great fresh produce that is amazing and they have an outstanding bakery with As Kneaded bread. Not to mention the staff goes out of their way to order products and make suggestions. The produce prices are on par with TJ but 100% better.


5 people like this
Posted by College Terrace
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 31, 2018 at 4:29 pm

College Terrace is a registered user.

@When Will They Learn

The site was zoned for approximately 13K square feet of office space. The developer wanted to build approximately 40K square feet of office space and a change in the zoning to do so.

This would have been a non-starter if the developer hadn't decided that he could use the return of JJ&F as leverage. The cost of a subsidizing a space for a market in return for 40K square feet of first class office space was apparently worth the price.

The owners would have received a bonus 25K square feet to build housing on top of the 13K sq ft of retail and 13K of office the site was zoned for. They refused and chose to build offices with space for a market instead.


Like this comment
Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 3, 2018 at 2:43 pm

How can this new grocery store or any retail business anywhere charge prices that most customers can afford if it has to pay sky-high lease payments because it is in a new or recently-sold building whose owner(s) understandably want to make a profit of some kind, and do not want to subsidize these retail businesses?

The huge problem this creates is that this destroys the healthy small businesses that are the economic and social backbone of this and all areas. Giant corporations like FaceBook, Google, and Apple do employ thousands of people, many of whom are paid high wages, but all of those employees still need these healthy small businesses, which cannot survive when leases and rents are sky-high.

This is not "being negative." I am just stating facts and being practical. It is always unpleasant to have to admit that a problem exists, but no one can fix a problem if they refuse to admit it exists, and if admitting that a probelm exists and discussing how to fix it is not OK because that is "being negative," then no problems ever can be solved.

I happen to believe that there are good ways to fix these problems. That is being positive.

I liked the old JJ&F Market, and used to shop there sometimes, and I really miss it.
The new owners are wrong to call the new market "JJ&F Market" if the old owners of JJ&F Market do not freely agree to let them use that name.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Posted by Loyal, a resident of Stanford

>> The Market at Edgewood is the best!

I agree. I like the store-- it has a very good selection of -food- and not so much other stuff. Very welcome addition. Folks should check it out if you haven't already.


Like this comment
Posted by Every Dollar Counts
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm

A Smart & Final would have sufficed for basic grocery shopping needs. Like many chain grocery stores, some are nicer than others. A good inventory and reasonable prices are all that matter. The higher-priced elite-name stores are fine for specialty purchases but why pay more for the common necessities?


Like this comment
Posted by Dottie Silverberg
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 24, 2018 at 9:01 am

I would love to work here worked at Safeway’s at several stores doing ICC and opening some of them 650 7405218


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