Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association Appeals to L.A. Owner of Apple Tree Property

by on October 25, 2012 · 15 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular

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

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

gailpowell October 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Thank you to the OB Mainstreet Assc. for stepping up to the plate & sending this letter.

I wonder if the group has some sort of business emergency fund that they could use to help Apple out until a new rent is agreed upon–if that is even a possibility?

Might the Independent Grocers Assc. also have a way to assist this valuable OB business?
S0metimes I think that all OBMA ever does is organize street parties along Newport Ave. to shill booze at but here they are really showing their ability to back up Apple.
Thanks again to OBMA..


obkenob October 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm

All the OBMA is interested in IS shilling booze and lining their pockets. Without full disclosure of how much Knox, Jack, Kline, and Akey are making per year, their credibility is non existent. A public statement needs to issued in The Beacon to reveal the hogs at the trough. The original events that make OB great are the tree festival and holiday parade, the kite parade, the Wednesday farmers market, the July fourth fireworks, the pier breakfast, the chili cookoff and streetfair, and local surf contests with the Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association. All the other “events” need to go. All the kOBeys by the sea vendor crap fests on the grass need to go, as well as the violence encouraging Oktoberfest drunken scene, and all the other commercial “events” that sell out our unique beachtown. We need to stand up to these greedy people that are pocketing large annual salaries at our expense. Enough is enough, even though the genie has been released from the bottle, we citizens can insist that things go back to a sane level. The original intent before the old merchants association was to have citizen volunteers ONLY running all events, not greedy hogs exploiting our local resources. And the Hirmez brothers are multi- millionaires, let’s all bail them out? I don’t think so! They own the old B of A building, they can boot the cheesy alcoholic owned surf shop and run a small market there. Wake up people, this is all crap. You think for a second that these current sloths of the OBMA would get out of bed to help OB for free? Laughable.


liveinob October 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Thank You OBMA! is there anything the citizens of OB can do?


kenloc October 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

You’re assuming the property owner doesn’t have a new tenant lined up already.Perhaps a Fresh and Easy or Whole Foods.or a Trader Joes? I dont know that tey would be letting a long term tenant go without a plan.Apple Tree will be missed :(


Citizen Cane October 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Denny says, “Ocean Beach has a large elderly and handicapped population that would be displaced without a supermarket nearby. ”
If her concern is genuine, then maybe she could focus on changing the Farmers Market to make it more appealing to the elderly and handicapped. I think the elderly would be better served by a Farmers Market that had hours in the middle of the day. Moving the market to Sunday and two blocks North to the school would give us a market with restrooms, bike racks, and drinking fountains. Maybe some of the parking on 4700 Newport could be senior parking on market day. Something similar could be done two blocks South on the (grassy) Flatiron Triangle. Maybe we could have two markets per week…one on Sunday and one on Wednesday. I’m talking real Farmers Markets, and not something that is mostly street fair.


Goatskull October 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Price wise a farmers market would be out or reach for a lot of these people if that were to become their only shopping option due to lack of mobility.


Sunshine November 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Fresh Fund allows EBT (food stamps) recipients to spend $20 on their EBT to purchase $40 of food at that Farmer’s Market. I’ve approached OBMA twice with this info and both times been shot down. The OBMA is not open to new ideas that will help the local community. there are 6 other Farmer’s Markets in San Diego that accept this Fresh Fund. Why not in OB?


Citizen Cane October 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Typo…I meant move two blocks “East” to the school, and two blocks “West” to the Flatiron Triangle.


Kathy October 26, 2012 at 4:56 am

Has this been publicized to OB residents? It’s the first I heard about this, and it appears I’m one of a few who would be “devastated”. I shop once a month at Costco and rely on Apple Tree to buy fresh products a few times a week. Most items (especially produce) are cheaper than big grocers, that jacked up prices after lengthy and threatened strikes, and a temporary diesel fuel price hike that had no effect on wholesale food costs (according to a restaurant owner I know) . . .

and, a perfect segue to OB residents whose PREFERRED or ONLY mode of transportation is biking or walking. I rarely drive my car in OB, it’s more efficient and convenient to ride my bike.

Others aren’t as fortunate to have a choice – they may not own a car because they’re not licensed to drive, or simply can’t afford to buy, maintain, insure, register and pay for gas. Limited street parking for tenants without assigned spaces is a hardship in itself, made worse when they lose their spot to shop at a market outside biking/walking distance.

And, what about Apple Tree’s employees? Most have been there for years, now they’ll be unemployed.

I’m not quite understanding the reasoning behind this decision. Are there plans for the property after it’s vacated, or will it offer an opportunity for undesirables to expand their transient life styles into new territory?

I guess 7-11 and Quik Stop will enjoy a surge in business. This really sucks!


Goatskull October 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

Did you read this? The current plan is to put condos in that space.



Goatskull October 26, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hopefully the rumors of condos are just that and nothing more. If another store grocery type store goes in and one that does well don’t you think that would be a good thing?


Christine October 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Tell them you are going to file an enormous lawsuit if they demolish the building because they are exposing neighbors to large amounts of asbestos.


M.D. November 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Pretty cool market. Go check one out that just opened in East village at 9th & Market http://goo.gl/UwfW1 . Low cost, good food and still locally owned :) Don’t think it would be bad for OB?


Dorothy Lee April 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

This comment is a little late, but your Mr. Elliot Megdal isn’t probably ever going to listen to anyone. Get this story:
This Sand Is Your Sand, People
Steve Lopez / POINTS WEST
June 25, 2006|Steve Lopez

“As a California native, I can’t help myself. Summer arrives, bringing dizzy days of sun-blasted heat, and I can’t wait to sniff cool salt air and dive into a wave.

But there’s trouble once again along the exclusive shores of Malibu, and if it keeps up, it might be time to resurrect my plans for Sand Aid, the concert to free the beaches for one and all.

No, David Geffen is not up to his old tricks. He’s one of the good guys now, having finally opened the gates next to his Carbon Beach compound last year so the hoi polloi can enjoy their God-given right to frolic in the surf. What a mensch, that Geffen, and I’m not just saying that because he’s trying to buy my newspaper.

The first flare-up of the season actually occurred farther west, on Amarillo Beach, where a sunbather, out for a day of relaxation with his wife and 10-year-old daughter, ended up in custody after a call from an angry homeowner.

This got the attention of Access for All’s Steve Hoye, who was horrified to learn that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department plans to encourage property owners to make citizen’s arrests this year on fabled shores that are home to some of the world’s richest and most famous people.

Like me, Hoye envisioned movie stars and moguls hoofing across golden sand to make flying tackles of greased sunbathers. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s begin at the beginning, back in May.

A Beverlywood couple named Jean Philippe Chabassier and his wife, Catherine Deschamp, along with their daughter, love a fine day at a nice Malibu beach, and they’ve been regulars for years. This time they chose a spot along Malibu Road, using the public accessway to Amarillo Beach.

As regulars, they know public beach from private and know that they have a right to the area beneath the mean high tide line. It’s a confusing concept and the line is not fixed, but essentially, if you’re on wet sand, you’re legal.

You’re legal on dry sand, too, if the homeowner has traded public access to the California Coastal Commission for the right to remodel a home, although it’s not always easy to know where that is, and signs posted by homeowners are sometimes intentionally misleading.

Chabassier, a photographer and screenwriter, said there were signs on this particular beach saying “private,” but he and his wife, a teacher, took their place and quietly enjoyed themselves. He was reading and his wife was napping when a man called out from the balcony of the home behind them.

“He said, ‘This is a private beach, you have to leave. You are bothering me,’ ” says Chabassier, whose wife woke up and responded.

“We know where we are,” she said, “and we’re not bothering you, you’re bothering us.”

If they didn’t move, the homeowner snapped at them, he was calling the Sheriff’s Department.

Go ahead, the couple said. And minutes later, an L.A. County sheriff’s deputy stood in the same spot on the balcony.

“He said, ‘Hey, dude, I need to talk to you. Come up here,’ ” says Chabassier, who told the officer he wasn’t doing anything wrong and didn’t see why he had to move.

“He got his handcuffs and said, ‘If you’re not coming right away, I’m arresting you.’ ”

Chabassier and his wife ended up on the street with the deputy, who they say was stunningly misinformed about beach access.

“He said … ‘You don’t have the right to sit anywhere. You’re allowed to walk in front of a house. You can’t sit. You can’t stop.’ Catherine and I argued with him, ‘No, that’s not the law.’ And he said, ‘I want you to go inside the police car.’ ”

Chabassier called the Sheriff’s Department on his cellphone to report what was happening and says the deputy tussled with him over the phone.

“He was twisting my right arm in back, then he grabbed my other arm. I’ve never been arrested, and he was saying something about my fingers: ‘Interlace your fingers; otherwise I’m going to break them.’ ”

He said the deputy then lifted him off the ground and ordered him into the squad car, and Chabassier decided to stop resisting.

“My daughter was crying, ‘Papa, papa, papa.’ ”

And then, saying only that he had a more important call, the deputy released Chabassier and drove away.

I drove out to the scene with Hoye and spoke to a neighbor who said he saw the trio on the beach and thought they were on public space, not private. When we knocked on the door of the man who had shooed away the Chabassier family, an employee answered by intercom to say Elliot Megdal, a shopping center developer, could be reached at his Beverly Hills home. He spends weekends in Malibu.

I wonder if he’s got a place in the Palisades to cut the drive in half.

I left a message and Megdal returned the call.

“I understood there’s an area that is private and there are areas that are public, and I was of the opinion he was in a private area,” Megdal said. “I just assumed.”

He assumed?”


Kelly April 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Elliot megdal is a crude businessman who thinks he’s above the law and has no regard for anything anyone else but money. He recent threatened one of the tenant I his shopping strip to break lease because opening date was getting delayed. Tenant had no faults of their own as the delay was due to slow progress for permits. Elliot ignored the contract, made rude threatening phone call and harassed the tenants.


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