Two small businesses in Walnut Creek are being kicked out of the Encina Grande Mall because of the recently opened Whole Foods there.
On Thursday night, outraged residents spoke out against the move at a city council meeting. Dozens of people showed up.
Residents say they are just disgusted by the way Whole Foods and the property owner Regency Centers is acting.
They say Walnut Creek should be doing a better job to protect small, family-owned businesses rather than letting big companies run them out simply because they don’t want the competition or they want their space.
Everyone that showed up on Thursday says they’re boycotting Whole Foods, and they’re going to encourage everyone around there to do the same.
The two businesses that have lost their lease are Jade Garden Restaurant which has been at the same location for 31 years. The daughter of the owners was at the meeting on Thursday and spoke emotionally about how devastated her family is to lose their business like this.
The UPS Store next door also has been there a long time–about 20 years. The owner Pat Blume was also present Thursday.
And they had a lot of support from residents who tell KRON4 they’re boycotting Whole Foods until they can force some sort of conversation about this.
“Certainly, companies pay attention when their pocketbooks are hit,” resident Jason Gordon said. “And they pay attention when there’s bad PR. And I think that can lead to some attention at least. And maybe hopefully start some discussions. I think people were serious about that. There’s Safeway across the street. There’s a Nob Hill Foods across the street. There’s another Safeway right down the street, so there’s not a lack of options for shopping and grocery shopping in that area.”
Janis Roberts also agrees.
“I’m absolutely disgusted, to be honest with you,” Roberts said. “We found out about this, this week that Jade Garden after 31 years has lost their lease. And it just seems like this is the epitome of corporate bullying by Amazon and Whole Foods and the landlord Regency Centers. They have turned their back on this business that has been there for 31 years. And they just do not care that they are losing their livelihood over it.”
AAA was supposed to replace the two businesses but we learned from the city council on Thursday that the company rescinded their application.
It is unclear what will go into those spaces.
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