In the latest Shop Talk column, read about Reach Fitness Club's closure, ACE Hardware using autonomous cars for deliveries and Blue Bottle Coffee opening a new cafe at Stanford Shopping Center.
PALO ALTO'S OUT OF 'REACH'... After providing fitness classes in Palo Alto for 36 years, Reach Fitness Club is permanently closing the doors of its gym at 707 High St. on Dec. 15, according to a notice posted at the club on Nov. 1. "The debate to close Reach Fitness Club or stay open was truly a difficult decision. Unfortunately, due to the economic demands, it has become a financial hardship to maintain our position in Palo Alto," Darryl Brandon, vice president of operations, wrote to members. "We appreciate every single one of you and hope that you understand our decision." According to a flyer from Premier Properties advertising the 6,070-square-foot facility as "ideal for fitness, retail, or personal services," the building will be available for lease on Jan. 1, 2019. The announcement of the building's pending availability was posted online back in July, according to the real estate site 42floors. The asking rental rate has not been disclosed. The Reach Pilates Studio at 833 Emerson St. will remain open and operate as usual, according to Brandon. Reach opened in Palo Alto in 1982 with the goal of building a community around health and fitness. Over the years, the gym has offered everything from cardio and strength training to yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes to personal training services. Members, many who have been there since the start, described the club as a welcoming community that "feels a bit like home." In 1990, the company expanded its operations to include corporate fitness. Today, it manages facilities for corporations across the country. -- L.T.
ACE GOES DRIVERLESS ... Palo Alto's Hassett ACE Hardware store at 875 Alma St. is partnering with Mountain View-based tech company ThorDrive to bring same-day, autonomous driving delivery service to customers in Palo Alto and eventually the greater Silicon Valley. Ace will launch its driverless delivery service on Nov. 29 to select residents of Channing House in Palo Alto before expanding to other customers. A spokeswoman from Ace said the Department of Motor Vehicles has issued the company a permit to operate retrofitted Ford Transit Connect vans with a safety driver in the car for now. The idea behind driverless technology movement is that by cutting out the need for a driver, businesses can also cut costs and provide delivery services at lower prices. "This is simply the next step in providing the 'above-and-beyond' customer service we are known for," said Eric Hassett, owner of Hassett Ace Hardware. -- L.T.
BLUE BOTTLE COMING TO STANFORD ... Third-wave coffee roaster Blue Bottle Coffee is opening a new location at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. Outlines of coffee cups with the company's trademark bright-blue bottle image recently appeared on scaffolding covering a space next to the new Jeffrey clothing store, on the El Camino Real side of the shopping center. A Blue Bottle spokesperson confirmed the new location but declined to share further details. The opening is "still quite a ways out," the spokesperson said. Blue Bottle got its start in Oakland in 2002 and has since expanded beyond the Bay Area with dozens of locations on the West and East coasts as well as in Japan. The Stanford Shopping Center Blue Bottle will join a cafe nearby that opened inside the historic Varsity Theatre in downtown Palo Alto in 2015 Blue Bottle's first Peninsula location. That cafe serves espresso, blend and single-origin coffees as well as breakfast and lunch. -- E.K.
Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email email@example.com.