Fresh and Easy Withdraws Plans for Sierra Madre Store - According to City Staff, on July 18, 2012, a letter was received from Fresh and Easy withdrawing their request for review of a proposed project at the corner of Baldwin Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. The letter stated that they were reviewing all of their projects, and had decided at this time to withdraw the Conditional Use Permit application they had submitted to Development Services in Sierra Madre on April 27, 2012. According to City staff, proposed projects in other cities were cancelled as well, not just Sierra Madre.
Had you been reading The Tattler on July 8, 2012, you would have known that this was coming a full ten days before the Fresh and Easy people shared their pain with City Hall. In our article "A Possible Reprieve for Taylor's? Fresh and Easy May Be On the Way Out" (click here), we explained that parent corporation Tesco in Great Britain has been seriously contemplating shutting all of their Fresh and Easy outlets in the United States down. Every last one of them. The reason being that Tesco has lost a shocking 339 million British Pounds on their pale green U.S. food chain in the last two years.
Here is part of what we had to say about this:
What does this mean for Sierra Madre? To begin with the much ballyhooed interest of Fresh & Easy in moving into the space at the corner of Baldwin and Sierra Madre Boulevard might not be quite as certain a thing as many here had perhaps too easily assumed. For the parent company in Great Britain to be publicly stating that they are taking a serious look at shuttering their failing U.S. enterprise should probably be taken as evidence that Fresh & Easy isn't exactly in a position to save Sierra Madre.
You read it here first. The good news is Taylor's Old Fashioned Meats beat the odds once again. Something that may soon become the stuff of local legend. They survived the DSP, and now the less than provident Fresh and Easy has tucked its tail and run as well. Who knows, maybe there are some forces at work here beyond our ability to understand? You know, the same ones that keep houses from ever getting built at One Carter?
I for one am beginning to believe Sierra Madre has some sort of paranormal spirit. One that won't put up with the likes of a Fresh & Easy.
Speaking of big money losers, are changes on the way for Patch?
We have discussed Patch's loss leader status with parent company AOL before. According to an article from Media Alley (click here) those losses exceeded $100 million dollars in the last year alone. Which I guess means we can call them the Fresh and Easy of serial internet sites.
There had been considerable pressure from AOL stockholders to shut Patch down altogether, but in contentious meetings held just a few months ago, CEO Tim Armstrong managed to buy the Patchies a little more time. However, that hardly means you will recognize our local Patch site in a couple of months. This from AdAgeDigital.com (click here):
But perhaps the most interesting news was AOL CEO Tim Armstrong's comments about supporting changes to its hyper-local news network Patch. Ad Age has heard in recent months that the much-maligned news network was being rebuilt, with its original code base totally scratched. On today's earnings call, Mr. Armstrong alluded to this, saying that while the first generation of Patch relied on journalists creating news about a town, the next iteration will also push more into listings and commerce.
In an interview after the earnings call, Mr. Armstrong expanded on these thoughts, saying that the new Patch, to be unveiled later this year, "is really about unlocking the vitality in towns ... groups, commerce, and the social aspects of towns for a much deeper, richer engagement level.
Deeper and richer? Does this mean he just called the current Patch shallow? And is Tim Armstrong now looking to turn his little Patches into local Facebooks?
He was told what he was describing sounded a little bit like a social network. "You could call it community networking," he responded. As for the listings business, he was asked if Patch was trying to build a competitor to Craigslist. "Craigslist and other companies like that that sell used merchandise haven't really scaled into communities," he said. "They've been very metro-focused. One of the opportunities for Patch ... is the ability for us on the commerce side to offer the people the ability to do listings and other things like that locally."
Obviously we have so very much to look forward to.