We have heard rumors that there is a petition drive just getting off the ground here in OB in an effort to get People’s Food Co-op to either purchase or lease the old Apple Tree Market site over in the central commercial area of the village.
The former business – Apple Tree Market – closed at the beginning of the year. The store owner had talked about opening a smaller version of the store in his property on Newport Ave – the old OB Bike and Skate Shop (the old Bof A building), but we are unaware of any progress in that direction.
In the meantime, residents, shoppers, and visitors do not have immediate access to a large market in downtown Ocean Beach. The nearest large food stores are over in the Midway (Barons), up near the high school (Stumps), or on top of Point Loma (but the Fresh & Easy is closing itself).
And then there’s OB People’s Food Co-op – the organic store that has served the community and outlying areas since the early 1970’s – and already OB’s largest employer – with over one hundred full and part time people – many of whom live in the village.
Not too long ago Nancy Casady – head of the store – announced that they were looking for larger facilities in order to expand what they have now. Their parking lot is too limited for the number of customers, for one example of the store’s current problems.
Why can’t People’s move into the old Apple Tree, you might ask?
There would be horrendous improvements needed in that old Fifties-era building. The architectural design of the old place – which had been a Safeway for decades – has its fans. Others feel it’s a very ugly and out-of-place building. Reportedly, it has asbestos that would need to be mitigated. And whether People’s can afford to buy the building outright and make the improvements itself – currently the building is for lease – or whether the organic market could obtain a sufficiently long lease and guarantees from the owner to mitigate the unhealthy substances himself are all issues, questions that would have to be resolved.
Also, could a new, expanded People’s survive or be supported in downtown OB – where many of the denizens are meat-eaters (People’s does not sell meat)? Perhaps People’s in their wish to open an additional store does not believe the old Apple Tree site is a far enough distance to warrant the move.
At any rate, there is a petition out there – and while we are not serving any judgement on its wisdom – we would like to provide a forum for the issue, so if you wish to obtain one, have info on the campaign – or just have something to say on this issue, please do so in the comments below.