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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Woodside Bakery is Closing?

Uploaded: Nov 28, 2015
What a surprise to learn that Woodside Bakery, located at 3052 Woodside Rd, next to Buck’s, will close January 15th, not due to lack business, the place is always packed. But because, well, has anyone even heard the reason why?

Maybe business has gotten too good? We won't know till the Landlord agrees to comment. (I removed the name after a few readers complained below.) The company owns a lot of the commercial district in Woodside, and keeps tenants on a month-to-month lease. Mark Sweyer, owner of Woodside Bakery has been leasing monthly for the last seven years. On November 3rd he was unexpectantly told to close up shop and get rid of all his employees, smack dab in the middle of the holidays.

I recently went into Emily Joubert, the wonderful home and garden store just down from Woodside Bakery, and noticed a cute little coffee station in the works. “Are you starting an espresso business?” I asked. What a great idea - we have so few places to enjoy a coffee or wine in Woodside and Portola Valley. This would be a perfect use of their lovely outside gardens. But the answer was unfortunate - they had opened, but were soon told by their landlord to close down.

Guess who the landlord is?

You know, I understand property and business ownership. But I also understand community.

Which one do we value the most?
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Nancy, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Nov 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm

The Woodside Bakery and Robert's Market have existed side by side for many years, more than 10 years as far as I know. It is premature to blame the landlord for this close. Please get more information before you put your theory out there. Your blog is more of a disservice than anything else without real information.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Nov 28, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Nancy. Than we need to hear from the parties that be. Don't blame the messenger. Sounds like you know more than the rest of us. Do tell.

Posted by ron chee, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 12:01 am

Weather nancy knows more to your story is not the issue, for you to "name drop" and attach it to a story is unprofessional? I can ask the same to you , laura do you know more that you are not saying? Do tell?

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 7:33 am

Thanks ron chee. I read the article in the paper, and the blog repeats what has already been reported. The issue was also discussed at length on the Portola Valley Forum, but that info was not shared. The question I pose is one asked by many - why was Woodside Bakery asked to leave, and especially with such short notice during the holidays? Until the company is available for comment, people will continue to ask. Property and business are owned by individuals, but the community that makes them possible is owned by all. I wonder why you wouldn't want to know?

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 7:54 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Nancy and ron chee, I adjusted in reply to your comments. Thank you for your input.

Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:16 am

Unless the landlord doesn't want to sign a longer-term lease, why would a business decide to go month-to-month? That seems like a recipe to have your business be shuttered when the landlord asks you to leave.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 1:40 pm

The biggest red flag in this whole situation is a month-to-month lease for seven years. That is akin to the landlord telling you that he no longer wants you and to pack up your bags as soon as you find a better place, or vice-versa. For seven years?? That is not a 'short' notice, and that is what month-to-month means i.e. one month you're in and the other you could be out.

Your commment about Emily Joubert is also odd. They do not seem have the right facilities for serving food to the public. I actually saw them at work twice and wondered how the health department ever gave them a license. And even if for whatever reason they did, it was likely that the bakery or Bucks had a non-compete agreement within the shopping center; thus, requiring the landlord to put a stop to the activity.

The point is that there are many sides to every story, and writers shouldn't be able to write an opinion without having balanced information.

Posted by Mike, a resident of another community,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Since when is voicing a concern about a local business seemingly being muscled out of business out of place? The article begs for more information. And the author clearly asks for those in the know to come forward with more info.
Giving a long term tenant 30 days notice seems a bit harsh. No?

Posted by Dizz, a resident of Martens-Carmelita,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Mike on average how many days are in a month? If the tenant is in a month to month lease why would 30 day notice be harsh? What's more comfortable, 60 days? What's the difference G T F O

Posted by Jackie Reses, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:54 pm

So sad to see Woodside Bakery leave the town. Would love to understand what made them leave. Jackie

Posted by Bridget, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 1:35 am

I guess that is not obligatory their decision and the issue is definitely not a lack of customers. Maybe some competitors made them close the cafe.
Web Link - education topics

Posted by Maggie, a resident of Woodside,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 3:23 am

I don't know either party personally and don't know anything about this situation other than what was published in the Almanac (I do patronize both the tenants' & the landlord's businesses). What if there's a legit reason for evicting them, and the landlord is being discrete and professional to avoid embarrassing the tenant? As others here have implied, a month-to-month for several years is a powerful message. In any case I'm sorry for those losing their jobs and their business; and for the community losing a great place to gather.

Posted by L, a resident of Woodside,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 9:28 am

I feel bad for the employees. That's a rough time of year to lose a job!

Posted by CC, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 12:02 pm

CC is a registered user.

Can't the Almanac, being a local paper get a better story on this with more details? For one, is it true the Mayfield bakery is opening an additional location as the replacement for the Woodside Bakery? And if true, what do they plan to offer? Might they hire some of the current employees? How about calling them for comment?

Posted by 70's gal, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Maybe the landlord has a better offer and is going to build a 20 story apartment complex - one narrow apartment per floor! hey, it happens in Redwood City all the time now! UGH

Posted by No place to sit, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 12:51 pm

You know what I want to ask - what happened to the front tables at Woodside Bakery that were removed and replaced with nothing? Is there is a secret coffee conspiracy I don't know about - No One Shalt Sit and Drinkith from the Coffee Cup of Woodside?

Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Have the front tables gone missing? I haven't been in for a bit now. Mark and Jan were forced to remove the chairs from the front seating during the lunch hour as of last year due to (as I understand it) town permit limitations based on their allocation of parking. The spillover (if you'll excuse the pun) of being forced into the chair removal played into their complaint that Emily Joubert had zero sit down service in its permitted parking allocation when Stumptown started its service.

Of course the Bakery would have loved to be able to have provided the front seating all of the time. They tried to argue that the weekend parking overflow was greatly mitigated by the huge percentage of bicyclists that they served, but apparently they did not make any headway.

Posted by Luke, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Putting the landlords name is unprofessional???

Its called stating the facts in an article.

Thats what professionals do.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Nov 30, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Why Luke, this is Laura... remember me? You were always good with words.

Posted by Woodside Cyclist, a resident of another community,
on Dec 1, 2015 at 7:10 am

They stopped a coffee kiosk from going up next door? Sounds like they're going to put in a coffee house later on and they don't want the redundancy.
They wouldn't put a Starbucks there would they? No, that seems too far fetched. Probably a friend of the landlord, or maybe his kid got old enough to run it. It'll be sad to lose a great place like the WB whatever goes in.

Posted by Grumpy Old Guy, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards,
on Dec 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Grumpy Old Guy is a registered user.

A great place for coffee and pastry break after a hard (sort of) bike ride up to woodside from Palo Alto. Good luck and may your dough always rise timely!

Posted by Woodsie, a resident of Woodside,
on Dec 1, 2015 at 4:56 pm

A few weeks ago the bakery set its wood shake roof on fire. This did not endear it to its landlord. Subsequently the owner replaced the entire roof with less fire-prone shingles.

Local rumor says the landlord owns the Mayfield Bakery.

Posted by Really?, a resident of another community,
on Dec 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm

George Roberts and Co own Mayfield Bakery? Interesting rumor.

Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:43 am

Roberts does NOT own the Mayfield Bakery. The Village Pub and Mayfield Bakery are both owned by the Bacchus Mgmt Group, founded by Woodside resident Tim Stannard.

Posted by AliMAd, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Dec 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Guys, the parties are who they are. Why is it name dropping or something to be avoided to leave out a fact. I love shopping at Robert's, but if the Roberts' are the landlords then they are the landlords. And if they are terminating a lease, they are terminating a lease. These are objective facts, not name dropping, suggestive, theories or anything else. The reason has yet to be made public, and maybe it never will be. And lots of businesses and long term tenants go month to month. Yes it's risky but having a charming, local bakery and restaurant is worth the risk given prior course of dealings, local practice etc. I like both businesses, both parties, both families - I really hope whatever is going on can be ironed out. It would be nice to keep the bakery.

Posted by take a load off, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights,
on Dec 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

If they give us another bakery - I wonder if they'll let us sit down in the next one and drink a cup of coffee?

Posted by Woodside Strider, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Dec 3, 2015 at 2:06 am

Mark is a pillar in the community, always willing to help out for local school fundraisers and events. He is ambitious and has wanted to open other businesses in town. His plans have been stopped because of various reasons none of which were for the lack of will power. Everyone in Woodside knows the town is owned by two families and they control the climate of what goes in and what goes out. I suggest Mark re-open "Jan's" in Portola Valley its owned by a great family that lives in town.

Posted by Wondering about Woodside?, a resident of Woodside,
on Dec 3, 2015 at 7:53 am

"Everyone in Woodside knows the town is owned by two families and they control the climate of what goes in and what goes out." I need to get out more often. If true - what a shame.

Posted by Ginny, a resident of Woodside,
on Dec 3, 2015 at 11:01 am

People should stop writing about other people or events until they have all the facts,from both sides, of any issue. It is no more than tabloid fodder to tell "part" of a story. Blogging about one side of an issue is gossip.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Dec 3, 2015 at 11:26 am

What a loss. When a landlord allows only month-to-month leases, it is usually because they have plans for developing or selling the property and wants to be able to make changes quickly. Tenants sometimes benefit because their costs are lower than long-term leases, sometimes not. It would be interesting to find out if the tenants knew of any plans before being forced to close.

Posted by @Ginny, a resident of another community,
on Dec 3, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Oh Ginny, you can't control people's actions no matter how much you want to. Don't you know that? I always find it best not to try and tell others what to do.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Dec 3, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Well this has been quite a week. Thanks everyone for your input. It was a pretty civil discussion, even though we have differing opinions. That is much appreciated. This blog will be replaced on Saturday, so speak now, or forever hold your Raspberry Ganache or Slider Buns (my Woodside Bakery faves!)

Posted by Last thoughts, a resident of Woodside,
on Dec 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Terminating a commercial real estate lease usually requires 6+ months notice. As you cam imagine, if a restaurant or bakery needs to move, they need to find a new location, renovate to fit the need, and transfer existing vendor contracts, employees, etc. It can easily take a year to do that, and a substantial amount of money.

It's sad part is they were on a month-to-month for years, which offered them no protection, and a false sense of security.

I sincerely advise any new business (and the other existing local businesses) insist on year long leases, with adequate termination notification periods, depending on the kind of store. Retail can move easier than a restaurant.

Posted by Matthew, a resident of another community,
on Dec 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm

That's too bad as, if passing by on 280, that's about the only interesting place worth going in Woodside (am assuming this closing includes the cojoined restaurant, if not, then forget this entire post). The breakfast place is fine but does not stand out compared to competition elsewhere. The Village Pub is not one. The market, whilst good, is no reason to stop. Of course, this could be how the locals like it, none of that South Bay rabble clogging up the place.

Posted by awe, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Dec 8, 2015 at 7:10 am

[url=Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Jan 22, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

This just in: Woodside Bakery leave by date extended to mid-march.

Posted by Matthew, a resident of another community,
on Jan 23, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Looks like I was right; Web Link

Posted by Elaine, a resident of Downtown North,
on Mar 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm

For an update on this story, and more information in the comments
Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Mar 12, 2016 at 1:34 am

Thanks Elaine for the update

Posted by Robert, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Mar 27, 2016 at 10:49 pm

I wish Larry or one of the other Woodside residents with money would step in and sort this out... what a loss!

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