JJ&F threatens move to Mtn View

An owner of Palo Alto's beloved JJ&F grocery store told the Palo Alto City Council on Monday night that unless they move quickly on a plan to redevelop its current site, the store may have to leave for downtown Mountain View.

JJ&F has been operating at the Palo Alto site, known as "College Terrace," for about 60 years. John Garcia, co-owner of the store, told the Palo Alto council Monday that if the city doesn't act soon to redevelop the property, he would have to seriously consider an offer put forth by Mountain View officials.

"It's just the reality," Garcia said. "I cannot wait much longer. Our store is old and functionally obsolete."

"I'm a grocer," he added. "I know my business and I don't want to leave Palo Alto."

He said Mountain View city officials have asked JJ&F to consider moving to a 1.45-acre lot which is now a city-owned parking lot on Bryant Street between Mercy and California streets.

In September, a majority of the Mountain View City Council supported leasing that land for a private housing development, with space for a grocery store on the ground floor.

"Downtown residents have wanted a grocery store forever," said Mountain View council member Ronit Bryant at the September study session.

Garcia said Monday that he would be hard pressed to pass up such an offer if the current site at 2180 El Camino Real is not re-zoned to make possible the higher-density "College Terrace Centre."

Applicant Patrick Smailey, representing property owners The Chilcote Trust, has asked the Palo Alto council to allow nearly 40,000 square feet of office space there. In exchange, he agreed to subsidize JJ&F, a family-owned neighborhood grocery store that has been struggling to keep up with its rising rent payments.

Because of a large number of speakers Monday night, most of them ardent supporters of the grocery store, the Palo Alto council delayed a vote on the project for two weeks.

Gennady Sheyner of the Palo Alto Weekly and Daniel DeBolt of the Mountain View Voice contributed to this report.

— Staff Reports


Posted by Carolyn, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I would LOVE to see J,J&F move to Mountain View. I shop for groceries in Palo Alto right now, would love to keep those dollars in Mountain View but Mountain View doesn't have a full service market with a real deli, butcher counter, etc.

Posted by Smomma, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm

We would welcome with open arms a grocer downtown, was bummed when Longs over-ruled the citizen choice of a store when the parking garage went in intially.

ANd how green for us to be able to walk and get groceries :)YEAH!!

Posted by Don & Gretchen, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm

JJ&F is a great fit for downtown Mountain View and our surrounding neighborhoods. Their personalized approach and quality products would draw a wide range of customers. It would also allow local commuters to shop conveniently before taking light rail or Caltrain home. It would bring helpful economic benefits: jobs, income and tax revenue for the community.

Posted by karen McAdams, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm

if palo alto makes them an offer, i hope mountain view doesnt give up! downtown deserves a high quality business like JJf.

its about time there for a specialty grocery store in mountain view to serve the central and south mountain viewers- our options are safeway, alone.

Posted by shopper, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm

If the city council wants a grocery store so bad why didn't they let Dragers occupy the space that is now Longs (CVS) downtown..... quit talking about it and make it happen....

Posted by Laura Macias, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The current Longs/CVS location choice at the parking structure was between Longs and Zanotto's, which not was seen as being viable financially. Zanotto's, at the time, had a downtown San Jose store which today is no longer managed by Zanotto's. Council never has an offer by Drager's. If only...

I would love to see JJ&F in downtown. They've an excellent reputation.

Posted by tommygee, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I would love to see JJ & F Market move to downtown Mtn. View. The family which owns JJ & F Market are very nice people. And I have known them for at least 40 years as my brother and I used to do business with them.
But again, ANOTHER GROCERY STORE in Mtn. View!!!! WE have too many in this city of 12.1 sq mi., including THREE Safeway stores. But even so, I would welcome JJ&F Market...

Posted by Phil, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Hello Mr. Garcia!! Welcome to Mountain View! As a lifelong resident of Palo Alto and Mt.View, Just do it! Palo Alto has had its day, Mountain View is the place for you. I promise if you come to town, I will be your best customer, and so will everyone in my neighborhood! Tell P.A. SEE YA!

Posted by Peter, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I live downtown and would love to see JJ&F at the Bryant/California site. We currently shop at Trader Joe's but if we could walk to a store like this, they would get our business ;)

Even if JJ&R doesn't work out, I would love to see something comparable to JJ&R downtown.

Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:07 pm

I have a suggestion that may sound silly, but I'm quite serious.

Go to JJ&F. Buy something (they have an excellent deli). Pay cash. Write on the $20 bill that you use there: "Mountain View shopper". Get your neighbors to do the same.

Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Having grown up in Palo Alto I know JJ&F and Johnny Garcia quite well. Their store is the perfect example of a family grocery store. They know their customers by name and their customer's kids. This would be a perfect addition to downtown and I would definitely shop there like I always did when in Palo Alto. I too would look forward to a leisurely stroll or bike ride from my house to get groceries.

This should also serve as a reminder to Mtn. View to not get too tied up in the political process. We could wind up like Palo Alto, struggling to get the simplest thing done, if we go down that road.

Posted by The Dad, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm

The city of PA does everything in its power to make living there as inconvenient as hell on a day to day basis.
No thank you please.

Posted by Paul W, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm

It would definitely be nice to have an option other than Safeway. I agree, tommygee, three Safeways in a town the size of Mountain View is a bit too excessive in my opinion...I didn't even remember there was a third one as I don't ever go to the one on Miramonte and have only passed it once or twice.

My parents live in Palo Alto and I've tried some of JJ&Fs products, and the quality is amazing...I love eating their sausages!

Posted by The Dad, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Paul W if you're looking for an option to Safeway, Mtn View also hosts Nob Hill, Ranch 99 Market, Lucky, Whole Foods and also a host of smaller ethnic type grocery stores like Mi Pueblo.
I'd say MV is pretty good wrt a variety of major and minor grocery stores to chose from.

Posted by harvardmom, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I don't know JJ&F, but reading all these comments it sounds like a store that I would enjoy shopping in. I'm in downtown MV often, and it would be a perfect location to have the grocery situated there. Good luck!

Posted by Kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I hope this works out, the Longs seems pretty empty when I have been there, a full service grocer would have been a better choice. It's nice that Mountain View has a 2nd chance to get it right.

Posted by Ron Seward, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm

My self, being a buthcher (Ass. meat mamager at Andronico's in Palo Alto) and who has worked for Loyd,(fellow butcher and co-ower at JJ&F's) would love to see them move to Mountain View. If fact, it may inspire me to join the team as they were not only great with there custormers, but treated me great. Loyd, if you read this, the move would be great for you. Ron Seward of Mountain View

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