Thursday, August 2, 2012

We Called It - Fresh & Easy Will Not Be Coming To Sierra Madre

Apparently it has been official since July 18, though the folks at City Hall are only now beginning to talk about it. Sometimes disappointment can make people reluctant to share. The great excitement of last spring has become just another downtown sob story here during the dog days of summer. Fresh and Easy will not becoming to Sierra Madre after all. This yesterday from Rooster Coburn's venerable SierraMadreNews.net site (click here):

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.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

62 comments:

  1. Maybe some Sierra Madre investors could get together with Taylors and expand the market?

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  2. I still like MaryAnn's idea of turning that empty space into a bowling alley. That would draw a lot of people to our downtown, especially on the weekends.

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    1. I don't think MaryAnn was serious. I had suggested to her to "make it into a card club", she said something like "no, maybe a bowling alley".
      She was laughing.

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    2. Why would you want to "draw a lot of people to our downtown"? Are you lonely?

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    3. Good opportunity to pick pockets and rob cars.

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  3. I hear Bingo is hot.

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    1. We need a hokey pokey dance hall.

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    2. The Nancy Walsh School of Latin Dance

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    3. "Please, step into my cha cha chamber," she purred.

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    4. "My mind's eye!" wailed the reader.

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    5. Nancy Walsh needs to resign!

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  4. "Fresh and Easy will not becoming to Sierra Madre after all." Kind of a Freudian typo: they will not be coming, because they are not becoming.

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  5. With the exception of Starbucks, every chain retailer who has come to Sierra Madre has failed. Dominos and KFC being two of them. It is the Sierra Madre curse.

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    1. You mean blessing.

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    2. KFC had a long run here. Don't know why corporate made that decision, but it lasted here for a couple of decades or more.

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    3. Businesses that the community wants and uses make it, businesses that the community doesn't want or use, don't. It's a good free market thing we've got going on here. The Waterworks business at the pool is apparently thriving.

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    4. The KFC on Foothill in Arcadia closed down as well.

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  6. We'll see if Subway can survive.

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    1. Eat fresh. When will they be coming to town?

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    2. Supposed to go into the former coffee place next to SMCC, although the remodel has been going on forever.

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    4. The remodel has been taking a long time, but if I understand correctly, there will be more than one kind of food service there, and they are also working on the apartments behind the building.

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    5. I heard that the commercial space should be three food establishments, Subway, possibly Chinese food and a player to be named later.

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    6. I take it most of this enterprise is being powered by prayer from next door?

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    7. Good Lord, don't go there, 11:45. The new enterprises at that old church coffee shop site are not connected to the church, right?

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  7. "push more into listings and commerce." Hello Patch the AOL Pennysaver.

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    1. The Pennysaver field is quite a lucrative one. I'm very surprised Google or Facebook hasn't gone after it already.

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    2. Poor Tim Armstrong - never heard the expression about throwing good money after bad.

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    3. I can't tell whether Tim is delusional or just desperate.
      Patch is a failure.
      What more does he need to see to believe it?
      The end of AOL itself?

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    4. The stockholders have given Armstrong a year to straighten his Patch disaster out. It won't happen. He will probably be asked to leave. And you have to remember, this is the guy who sold AOL's patents to Microsoft for $1.1 billion dollars. That is something you can only do once.

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    5. Armstrong was brilliantly successful at one point; and then not. Local spontaneity cannot be manufactured.
      He still seems to operate as though he's on his lucky streak, like a gambler who is only getting deeper into debt but who thinks the next card will do it.

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  8. I was surprised that Tesco wanted to put a store that depends on high volume in low volume Sierra Madre in the first place. Compare the traffic flowing by the location on Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd. with the location on Foothill and First Avenue in Arcadia. Then it made sense that Tesco was failing with the F & E chain, if someone in charge thought the Sierra Madre location would be profitable.

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    1. My guess is desperation. They haven't been doing all that well, and they were looking at all options. Even here.

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    2. Thank God Wal Mart isn't desperate. They are trying to open 2 supermarkets in Altadena.

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  9. Most large retailers and chains that have done market research will tell you Sierra Madre will not pencil out profitably because we are a demographic dead- end, where there are duplications of the same businesses just South of here.
    The only businesses that will sustain themselves are small mom and pop retailers, professional businesses, i.e. medical, dental, accounting, realtors, etc.
    A good way for the town to profit from non-sales taxable services, is to have local businesses such as food services provide advertising, coupons, etc. in the professional waiting rooms, to give clients the idea to use those local businesses.
    Taylors should expand their stock and advertise. I have seen many retail grocers that had balanced goods for sale go under because the public did not know they were open for business...even at a local level.
    This is something the local C.of B. should help to do.
    Wasting public funds on marketing studies only tells you what most businesses already know.

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    1. If we stay unattractive to chain retail, then we are truly a fortunate town.

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    2. Where is the Chamber?

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    3. The Chamber is broke and they're laying people off. Twitter your favorite gourmet food truck for details.

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    4. Good comment, DW.

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    5. The very reason Trader Joe's will not come into Sierra Madre is parking and the fact they have two stores close to us - Monrovia and Pasadena. Walmart would not come in because of the parking. And, by the way, that $30,000 marketing consultant was a real waste of our taxpayer funds. There was nothing in yesterday's meeting that the merchants didn't know already. Buxton was set up to help cities like Pasadena and Arcadia, not isolated Sierra Madre. Elaine said this was not to increase our tax base, but to create good will amongst the merchants. Good will??

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    6. Buxton was done because the Buchanan and the Bobbeheads thought they were being smart by spending out the CRA checkbook before Scaramento could take the money. It was sheer idiocy. And I hear that it was a bunch more money that $30,000.

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    7. I agree. The Buxton presentation was a waste of time. Although I will give kudos to the anonymous person who, when Elaine mentioned that the City decided to spend the money on this survey, shouted out that it was our tax dollars that had been spent. Way to go!
      Lisa Hill, the Buxton rep did mention that their contract with Sierra Madre is only for 6 months and if we want to continue to receive their valuable information, the Council will have to vote to spend more money to retain them. One hopes this will die for lack of a second!

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    8. This Buxton thing really should have fallen under the purview of the chamber of commerce. that is what they are supposed to do; champion the businesses already in town and locate new businesses to come in and set up shop in our town. This is NOT a function of the city council, no matter what Nancy Walsh thinks. If she's so smitten with this, she should be on the Chamber of Commerce Board, not the city council.

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    9. The Buxton study was a terrible misuse of funds.

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    10. Buxom was not ever an appropriate expense. They are a firm that just manipulates already existing data. They do no individual and unique surveying. It was a waste and Maryann said that from the git-go but nobody listened.

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    11. You mean nobody on the dais listened. I heard her loud and clear.

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    12. I think it was done to prop up the Chamber of Commerce. Yet another failure.

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  10. Turn the library into "Lucky Bucky's Casino and Book Barn," you'll pack 'em in!

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    1. Bet the new sports bar will do a brisk business.

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    2. Too bad Cafe 322 didn't just turn itself into a music bar.

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    3. As long as they show out of town sports, I'm cool with it.

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  11. Patch now has an article up trying to make it sound like Fresh and Easy dumping Sierra Madre is breaking news. I can't figure out which is dumber, the Looney Views News or Patch.

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    1. Looney Views News, by far.

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    2. Dumb and Dumber

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    3. I don't think there'll be much of a difference between Patch's brand of breaking news and posting classifieds - both practices akin to cleaning out the basement and holding a yardsale on old, stale hand-me downs.

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  12. Patch has an article up on Bill Coburn being out at the Chamber of Commerce. How many weeks ago did the Tattler announce that one?

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    2. Yet another victim of Repetitive Posting Syndrome.

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  13. Fresh and Easy - Sounds like my X wife!

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  14. I didnt think that FnE would come to town. It just doesnt pencil out for them. Through their due diligence they determined that it would not meet their minimum ROI requirement. Its to bad I like FnE. Very convenient.

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    1. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

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