Executive Director Denny Knox requests re-consideration on behalf of OB’s elderly and needy and the Saad Hirmez family – Apple Tree has been here for 25 years
Here below is the letter from Denny Knox of the OBMA, sent October 1st to the landowners of the property that Apple Tree Market sits upon, asking that they reconsider the Notice to Vacate, and allow the supermarket to remain:
Mr. Elliot Megdal
Elliot Megdal and Associates
1875 Century Park East – Suite 1840
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Re: Apple Tree Supermarket Notice to Vacate
Dear Mr. Megdal,
By way of introduction I am the Executive Director of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association (OBMA), which represents 525 businesses in Ocean Beach, CA. I am writing on behalf of the Executive Board of the OBMA as well as Saad Hirmez, owner of Apple Tree Market located at 4949 Santa Monica Ave. San Diego, CA as regards the notice to vacate sent to them on 9/27/12.
As a valued member of our association, Apple Tree has greatly contributed to the fiscal health of our business community in innumerable ways. They have been a strong advocate for the community and provide continued support for our marketing efforts that are vital to the growth of our local economy.
As an economic engine in Ocean Beach, Apple Tree has successfully provided the only local, full-service supermarket for the community for 25 years. Ocean Beach has a large elderly and handicapped population that would be displaced without a supermarket nearby. Apple Tree has employed over 25 people, most have worked for the Hirmez family for over 20 years. Twenty of their employees live in the community; paying rent, shopping locally, and otherwise contributing to the overall good of the community.
With the closing of Apple Tree, with the economy being what it is at this time, I cannot stress with enough urgency how this would create cascading negative effects for Ocean Beach.
It is of extreme concern to us, as a business development association, that there is the possibility that Apple Tree Market, a highly valued business, would be leaving our community. Furthermore, the timing of their notice to vacate is extremely onerous for our walking community. In order to comply with your notice, Apple Tree would most likely have to close their doors well before the heavy shopping period immediately preceding the Thanksgiving holiday, leaving a local population of approximately 18,000 without a local supermarket in downtown Ocean Beach during this critical time.
Furthermore, the closing of Apple Tree would without doubt create a vacancy of unknown – and perhaps long term – duration, further contributing to the downgrading of the economic future of Ocean Beach. A community without a local supermarket as an anchor tenant simply drives people out of the community for their grocery needs and subsequently away from the remaining local merchants who provide for many of their other needs. As you well know a strong anchor is key to the success of any shopping “center,” and in this instance, Ocean Beach, Apple Tree Market is one of its strongest anchors.
Regarding your decision to terminate your relationship with Apple Tree Market, I can only suggest that the Hirmez family has indicated that they are eager to enter into a fair lease that would not only improve your stake in the property, but would allow them the opportunity to continue participating in this community, make the needed improvements to the property that would further enhance the profitability of the business, and thus, could only provide future mutual benefit for all. We recommended to the Hirmez family that if relations are strained, possibly a third party mediator could work to meet both your needs and theirs thus bringing this to a positive conclusion.
We encourage you to reconsider your decision to create a vacancy at this time in our community, add to the overall unemployment effecting over twenty families, and contribute to the overall economic uncertainty of our small community. And lastly, if all efforts are exhausted with the present tenant, please consider allowing Apple Tree to operate until another suitable grocer is located to fill that important spot in our community.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you should you have any questions or concerns.
(Signed:) Denny Knox, Executive Director, OBMA