Spencer's Fresh Market in Arroyo Grande plans to relocate

Chain plans to stay in Five Cities; current building will house Smart & Final

sdaniel@thetribunenews.comMay 10, 2012 

Smart & Final is moving into Spencer's old location in Arroyo Grande.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

After eight years at its Arroyo Grande location at 1464 E. Grand Ave., Spencer’s Fresh Market will close that store this summer in a plan to relocate to another storefront in the Five Cities, owner John Spencer said.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to relocate, but that’s part of doing business,” Spencer said Thursday. “We are hoping to relocate in another area of the Five Cities. We have a couple of options that we are very interested in.”

According to Spencer, his lease agreement with property owner CenCal Pacific allowed for his agreement to be terminated if the property owner could find another tenant willing to pay more money.

A spokesman for CenCal Pacific said a new lease had been signed with Smart & Final to fill the space being vacated by Spencer’s.

While there is no firm date for Spencer’s last day, the property owner said the market would close in July and the building would be remodeled before opening as Smart & Final.

The first Spencer’s Fresh Market opened in Santa Maria in 1996. There are now five Spencer’s on the Central Coast — in Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Atascadero and Santa Maria.

Shoppers at the Arroyo Grande location were shocked to hear that the store was closing.

“I’ve been shopping here since they opened,” said Arroyo Grande resident Delfina Zarate.

“It’s a great store, and it’s just down the street from me. It’s so convenient, plus the other stores are more expensive.”

Kristie Molina, who owns the Laguna Village shopping center where the San Luis Obispo Spencer’s is located, said she understands how difficult it can be for a grocery chain in the current economic climate. Molina’s family owns Scolari’s. After 60 years in business, the Reno, Nev.-based grocery chain announced April 12 that it was closing all four of its California supermarkets.

“You can’t compete anymore,” Molina said.

“Everybody is selling groceries, and stores like Target and Walmart can buy in such large quantities and, more importantly, they don’t have to pay union wages.”

Scolari’s stores in Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara have slashed prices to move merchandise out the door in anticipation of closing Wednesday.

Joey Scolari, who co-owns the chain with his brother Jerry, said in a news release issued the day the closures were announced that they were shuttering the Central Coast locations to focus on Scolari’s 14 stores in Nevada.

Scolari’s store in the Pismo Coast Plaza is one that will close. The Pismo Coast Plaza LLC and Tai Martin, senior vice president of the commercial brokerage firm Colliers International’s Central Coast office, are “considering multiple offers from several retailers.” Spencer’s is one of those stores, though no deal has been finalized, John Spencer and Martin said.

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