Cookie Crock grocery store in Arroyo Grande to close

Cookie Crock Warehouse in Arroyo Grande will close Feb. 16 to make room for the surrounding shopping center’s redevelopment.

Grand and Elm Properties LP, which owns the shopping center at 1221 Grand Ave., bought the grocery store for a “seven-figure sum,” Cookie Crock owner Del Clegg said. He declined to disclose the exact amount.

Last year, the Arroyo Grande City Council approved a redevelopment at the shopping center that could attract a drive-through restaurant and more retail space to the area, according to a June 2013 city staff report.

Clegg, who has owned the 25,000-square-foot grocery store in Arroyo Grande for nearly 17 years, decided to sell it because he felt it would be difficult to run a business in a construction zone. He also did not think he could afford the investment in renovations down the road.

“We just got to the point where a major commitment would have to be made,” Clegg said. “If we had decided to go with (Grand and Elm Properties), we would have to put up a million dollars eventually. Everybody is happy with this decision.”

Clegg would not rule out moving back into the location once redevelopment has occurred.

“Never say never, you know,” he said.

For the time being, Clegg said he is content to move out of the Five Cities area, where grocery store competition is tough. He will focus his time on his other Cookie Crock locations in Cambria and Morro Bay.

All of the Arroyo Grande location’s 25 employees have been offered positions in Cambria and Morro Bay, but some have chosen to pursue other options because of the driving distance, he said.

“It’s up to the employee,” Clegg said. “It’s their choice, and we are happy to work with them on whatever they decide.”

Smart and Final has also offered to hire Cookie Crock’s Arroyo Grande employees.

Other businesses in the shopping center include Carquest and Rite Aid. Neither has announced plans to close.

A representative of Grand and Elm Properties could not be reached for comment.