Jul 29, 2014

Bristol Farms Closing Store Aug. 19

Councilman says rumors about condos going up on the site are false.

Bristol Farms Closing Store Aug. 19

Shoppers of gourmet food at Bristol Farms near Riviera Village will have to scout around elsewhere to satisfy their gastronomical cravings because the store is shutting down Aug. 19. Poor business is the reason.

Outside the store today, shoppers were surprised to learn the store was closing, or had heard of the closing but did not know exactly when it would happen. 

"You have Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, and basically it's all the same stuff," said Norton Donner of Redondo Beach. "Here, it's nice to have a variety."

Donner was concerned about a rumor that condos were slated to go up on the site at 1700 Pacific Coast Highway, but that's not true, according to Redondo Beach Councilman Steve Aspel.

"Though the area is a mixed-land use zone, there are currently no plans for making condos here," said Aspel, who has fielded calls from neighbors concerned about development.

Bristol Farms, which has 13 other outlets in California, including one in Manhattan Beach, according to the chain's website, started the Redondo Beach outlet in December 2000. This outlet, located near the Palos Verdes Inn, features a cafe selling sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads and breakfast items. The roughly 4-acre property is owned by Legado Companies. 

The Chief Operating Officer of Legado Companies Derek Jones did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Aspel said he was "sad to see Bristol Farms go because the store attacted a lot of clientèle. It has a lot of wonderful products, and the city will definitely be affected by the drop in sales tax revenue from the store."

The store is a victim of the economy, Aspel said.

According to Aspel, the store was plagued by two problems: price and lack of space. "People would buy their gourmet foods there, but they would go across the street to Albertsons to buy their paper towels and diapers because it's cheaper," he said. "My wife says she loves shopping there because the aisles are so empty, and that is precisely the problem--no one goes there." He said the store also needed more space to add items to its shelves.

Aspel said he would try to put the developers in touch with Whole Foods, which had showed interest in starting an outlet in South Redondo. "It's going to be whatever the economy will allow. We can't force the developers to put a particular kind of market," said Aspel.

Ed Pilolla contributed to this report.

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