Jensen’s Moving into Former Fresh & Easy Store in Point Loma – Hopes to Open in 6 Months

by on March 18, 2016 · 4 comments

in Culture, Economy, History, Ocean Beach

PL fresh n easy mh 01

The former Fresh & Easy closed in Fall 2015.

A small Southern California market chain, Jensen’s Finest Foods, has bought the former Fresh & Easy grocery store off Catalina Boulevard in Point Loma. And it plans to open in up to 6 months, a Jensen’s vice president told the press.

This news should bring a sigh of relief to many Peninsula residents, who uttered a collective groan when Fresh & Easy closed last fall. But when CVS started making noise that they wanted to acquire it, the reaction among local residents was immediate: they were against it.

In fact, an online petition began with the statement:

It seems we need to communicate to CVS Corporate that Pt. Loma residents don’t want another CVS in the Pt. Loma area. There is a sense that it will be virtually boycotted if they move into the old Fresh and Easy location. Let’s do what we can to make this clear to CVS Corporate.

At last look, the petition had nearly 2900 signatures. So, CVS Corporate must have heard it.

Earlier this week, the good news was that Jensen’s bought the grocery store in bankruptcy court. It will be the first market in San Diego County for the San Bernardino County-based chain, which has eight other stores, 4 in Riverside County and another 4 in San Bernardino County.

A vice-president told the SD Union-Tribune that it may not be for 6 months that the new Jensen’s can open its doors. They want to install a deli and a kitchen for fresh food – a delightful change from the mainly prepackaged foods that Fresh & Easy had offered.  VP Matt Zack stated:

“I think the community will be very responsive to a fresh deli with freshly made entrees and salads.”

Zack also stated that the company wants to hire about 50 workers – which it will do closer to the opening date.

The former owner, Fresh & Easy – had closed its doors in Point Loma last November and had declared bankruptcy – again – l, and apparently went along with the court’s arrangement to allow Jensen’s  offer to pay $360,000 for the 20-year lease. According to the U-T:

The bankruptcy court ruling was a victory for the Point Loma building owner — Catalina-Talbot Properties, which got nearly $40,000 in legal fees that were incurred fighting the CVS plan. Fresh & Easy agreed to pay the amount.

San Diego attorney Christine Baur, who specializes in commercial bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, said it was unusual for Fresh & Easy to pay legal fees but that it was probably a good idea for all parties to wrap up outstanding issues quickly after the community backlash.

This is all indeed favorable news for Point Lomans who live on top of the hill and in the surrounding neighborhoods that now they’ll have a fresh food grocery in their midst. Unfortunately, when a similar situation occurred in Ocean Beach, the results were different.

Instead, CVS opened in the former Apple Tree Market which closed awhile ago – and up until now, there is not a major market with fresh food in downtown OB. To be truthful, after Apple Tree had left, the building stayed vacant for years, and OB had to suffer through a long period of viewing an embarrassingly huge empty parking lot growing weeds with an encircling mesh fence. Not a pretty site.  The OB Town Council worked out a “community benefits” agreement with CVS in order to ensure some of the village wants were met.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Apple Tree has been attempting to open a fresh food market on Newport Avenue in the former Rock Paper Scissors building (the old Bank of America). Some progress has just been made in that direction.

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

triggerfinger March 19, 2016 at 7:31 am

Thank you Pt Lomans and other locals who committed their time and fought CVS for this, community pride at it finest! I know there was much more to it than just a petition.

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Debbie March 19, 2016 at 11:23 am

Right on!

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Colin March 19, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Why didn’t a food market replace the Apple Tree? Just seems like a profitable location, minimal to no competition. I know I heard/read snippets back when Apple Tree closed and space remained vacant, but have no recall/knowledge how a CVS went in, down the street from the Rite Aid, and not a food market.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie March 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm

It sat empty literally for years – and the landlord and some in the community were desperate it seems.

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