"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," he said.
The neighborhood has been anticipating a new grocery store in the new mixed-use College Terrace Centre at 2100 El Camino Real since the College Terrace Market closed last December. It had been open only six months. The space, as designated by city ordinance, must be occupied by a grocery store as a "public benefit" to the community. Since July, the property owner has been racking up city fines due to the vacancy.
The Khourys had taken over the JJ&F Market at 520 College Ave. from longtime owners and founders the Garcia family, but were evicted in 2013 when the building was sold to make way for the College Terrace Centre. The family said they had expressed interest in returning to the new grocery site, which is located just north of the original location, in 2016 but the College Terrace Market was selected instead.
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."
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 is not associated with the Khourys' enterprise and did not sell the name or the market to the Khourys.
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."
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