Walnut Creek community outraged as family-owned businesses closing due to Whole Foods

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An East Bay community is outraged after two longtime family-owned businesses are forced to shut down.

Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant and the UPS Store next door have been in Walnut Creek’s Encina Grande Mall for decades but can’t renew their lease.

And it’s all connected to Whole Foods.

Jade Garden Restaurant has been there for 31 years but will be forced to shut its doors in February.

It’s all because of a contract the property owner signed with the recently-opened Whole Foods just a few doors down.

“The whole neighborhood is sort of up in arms about this,” Walnut Creek resident Frank Napoli said. “We don’t understand why Whole Foods has an issue with a restaurant that’s been here for over three decades. These people are the original owners. My wife and I come here a lot. In fact, a lot of the neighborhood comes here a lot. And I think it’s unfair.”

Chrissy Wang’s parents opened the Chinese restaurant before she was born.

“I’m about 30 now,” Wang said. “So, it’s been here for 31 years. It’s pretty crazy. We have regulars that come here every week and order the same thing. And my mom knows them by name. They’re very friendly to my mom. It’s kind of heartbreaking we have to tell these people like we’re closing. We are not going to be here anymore. It just feels like an end of an era.

The UPS Store next door has been owned by Pat Blume for about two decades but will also be forced to shut down early next year as a result of the contract with Whole Foods, which has only been at this location since 2016.

“Just a shame to see a big conglomerate which 20 years ago didn’t exist is now beating up some little mom and pop store,” resident Hussain Khan said. “They can probably legally do it, but it’s what I would consider a predatory business practice. It’s mean-spirited. I think it just takes advantage of the power they have. And they’re stepping on the little guy. And I don’t know that it’s the right message for that company and its image. And I hope people go on social media and shame them because it’s a big mistake”

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