Town Square

Keplterize JJ&F?

Original post made by moonwalk, College Terrace, on Oct 26, 2006

ANOTHER KEPLERS TALE? ... The mere suggestion that JJ&F, College Terrace's independent, family-owned grocery store, may be forced to close it doors has put neighbors and longtime customers on high alert.The official reasons for the possible ousting are redevelopment and rent hikes. The unofficial reasons are misunderstandings and lack of trust. "Maybe we should Keplerize it," a member of a small group talking earnestly in front of the grocery store at 520 College Ave. said last week. "I like it. That's a great idea," longtime neighborhood leader Pria Graves replied. The term "Keplerize" was created last year when Kepler's, Menlo Park's 50-year-old independent bookstore, abruptly closed one day. A sense of loss and outrage spread through the community and within days a group of Kepler fans got together to raise enough money to keep the store in business. "I only hope there is sufficient will in this community to keep JJ&F in business," Graves said. JJ&F's current lease runs through 2011, although rent increases may make closure more imminent. These events are in stark contrast to the mood just 18 months ago, when JJ&F spoke of plans to enlarge the family-owned store to nearly three times its current 8,000 square feet. It now looks like the entire square block could be razed for a brand new development. And feelings have soured between JJ&F owners and the landlord, who has sued the JJ&F family for $350,000 back rent. See story in last Friday's Weekly for details, online at


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Posted by A Safeway Shopper
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2006 at 1:26 pm

Let see if people put their money where their mouth's are. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
(Of course you cannot compare Kepler's with JJ&F--Keplers was a local bookstore, with nothing else near it--JJ&F has two local competitors within walking distance)

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Posted by young mother
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 26, 2006 at 1:36 pm

It would be a travesty if JJF left College Terrace. Don't take this lightly. We do need to pull together and save them, if they need saving. I don't think we know yet if JJF is in real trouble. Does anyone know?

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Posted by A Safeway Shopper
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2006 at 1:45 pm

I think we are basing our reasonings on reports in the PA Weekly ( a dubious source for accurate news).
At first glance it sounds like a tenant/landlord dispute--which would make it different from Keplers.
Maybe we should wait and see what is really going on.

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Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2006 at 3:42 pm

I can't believe we are talking about a grocery store. Now, I admit it may be useful and contain unusual ingredients, run by nice people in a rather sedentary neighborhood. But it is only a grocery store. I don't think it is historic and I don't think that if it can't afford to operate than anyone should try and subsidise it. This is Palo Alto in the extreme. We can't have all these specialty stores that don't thrive. We have to look at modern business practices. We don't have milk delivery anymore and no one misses it. We don't have the Co-op in Midtown anymore and no one really misses it. We need to grow up and accept changes. Some of them are painful. But, we live in the real world, not nursery book land.

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Posted by ssquared
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2006 at 9:21 pm

I agree with Bystander. This is just a grocery store; albeit a much-loved one. In the end this is a tenant-landlord situation. Having people threaten to starve rather than shop somewhere else is like a third-grader threatening to hold his breath until he gets his way. As bystander states: you'll get over it.

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Posted by Terrace Ex
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

"just a grocery store" perhaps if you're used to shopping in chain stores, in tract neighborhoods, where everyone drives. There is a measure of walkability that the Terrace rates high on because of stores like JJ&F. Walkability and traditional architectures, traffic calming, and good neighbors contribute to what most Palo Alto residents recognize as quality of life.

But I do digress, as the comments here are far too similar to those posted elsewhere by proxies and astroturfers working for the Silicon Valley Realtor Assn (or whatever they call themselves this year). Sadly, this realtor group cares only about commissions, not neighborhoods. The more a property turns over the more they make. Their bottom line is all that matters (to them, and their proxies).

It is also sad that Palo Alto has so many new residents, from the east coast and other tract towns, newbies that don't yet recognize what makes one neighborhood better than another (aside from freeway access). Sadly, they'll never know until it's too late for Palo Alto and cities like it.