AG city council takes up Foods 4 Less debate

November 5, 2010

The Arroyo Grande City Council meets Tuesday night to decide whether to allow a giant Food 4 Less grocery store to be built on Grand Avenue–across the street from Spencer’s and just down the block from Von’s.

The store, being proposed for the corner of Grand and Courtland, has the official blessing of city staff, even though the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission vote 5-0 to deny the project last month.

“When you see a rendering of this huge store, proposed to be located 10 feet from the property line, next to the family residences that will be its neighbor,  you’ll agree this ‘mixed use development’ is not “compatible in size and scale to ensure preservation of the rural setting and small town character of  Arroyo Grande,” wrote grocer John Spencer in an email distributed to supporters.

Critics are suggesting that developer Nick Tompkins is pushing the Food 4 Less project in an attempt to drive the Cookie Crock grocery store, currently a tenant in his shopping center at Elm and Grand, out of business.

Cookie Crock has a long term lease in the center and has refused offers from Tompkins to buy the store out. There is speculation that the property is the possible target for redevelopment by the City and therefore more valuable.

Opponents to the Food 4 Less store, which would be about half the size of the local Wal Mart,  fear increased traffic congestion and say that Arroyo Grande doesn’t need another grocery store. Supporters argue for increased tax revenue and more jobs.

The city council meets at 7 p.m. in council chambers at 215 E. Branch Street.

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I drive all the way to SLO to shop at Food for Less. I would shop in AG if it was there. Like has been mentioned. If AG was business friendly, they would approve the new store. And I’ve spoke to the employees at Food for Less, they get well paid.

Spencer’s and Cookie Crock have been jacking the local senior market for years. Food 4 Less instantly brings the cost of groceries down and don’t get me started on Von’s. They charge us more because we typically won’t or can’t make the drive to S.L.O.

We need the competition to keep it real in the South County!