A new market is coming to Pismo Beach to fill the spot vacated in May by Scolari’s supermarket.
In the fall, Alfred Holzheu, owner and chairman of El Rancho MarketPlace in Solvang, will open his second location, this one in the Pismo Coast Plaza at 555 Five Cities Drive. He said he hopes to open by Oct. 1 but acknowledges that renovations may push the timeline to Nov. 1.
In the meantime, Holzheu and his management team are making extensive upgrades to the roughly 40,000-square-foot store. They’re stripping the sales floor, installing two dozen skylights, and adding a new service deli and meat counters, among other improvements.
Holzheu estimates the total cost of improvements, equipment and inventory at $3.5 million to $4 million. He said he expects to hire up to 125 full- and part-time employees.
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Scolari’s announced in April that it would close its four California supermarkets in Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara after more than 60 years on the Central Coast.
Local developer Nick Tompkins of San Luis Obispo-based NKT Commercial purchased the properties in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara from Joe Scolari, who did not own the Pismo Beach property.
Tompkins could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon on the status of those properties.
Meanwhile, Holzheu has signed a 15-year lease with Pismo Coast Plaza LLC for the Pismo Beach site, said Tai Martin, senior vice president of the Central Coast office for commercial brokerage firm Colliers International. He declined to disclose the lease amount.
Martin said he received five offers from grocers to lease the site but did not disclose their names.
“We said from the onset we really want a grocery store that will best serve the community,” Martin said. “We’re excited to have them.”
He called El Rancho MarketPlace a unique store where employees make their own sausage, mayonnaise, orange juice and bread, among other products.
“They’ve learned how to successfully compete against the chain stores,” Martin said.
Holzheu’s father immigrated to Santa Barbara from Germany in the 1950s and later acquired a market in Santa Ynez, which he renamed El Rancho Market. Holzheu bought the business from his father in 1988.
He intends to have an extensive bulk foods section, offer as much local produce as possible, and partner with local churches to “provide chicken and turkeys during the holidays (and) free or at-cost food for every organization that requests it,” he said.
“We also have the experience and drive to make this a successful enterprise for all, while bringing true value and healthful food to those most in need,” he said in a statement.