No Ralphs Representative at Meeting on Improving Store

At Tuesday's Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations meeting, the agenda included an item on improving the local Ralphs grocery store, but notably absent was any representative from the store.

A discussion on whether it will be feasible to improve the grocery store on Lake Avenue that took place Tuesday night was missing one important component: a representative from the store.

The item was one of three on the Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations monthly meeting that took place on Tuesday.

The discussion was led by Ericka Lozano-Buhl, an Altadena resident who started a --the petition, which can be viewed at the right, describes the store as "cramped" with a "poor selection of produce and items."  

Also joining the discussion was Ed Meyers of the Altadena Chamber of Commerce, and Lori Webster, who owns and is also active with the Chamber and other civic events.

Elliot Gold, the organizer of ACONA, said he invited the store manager of Ralphs and had expected someone from the organization to show up.  He said he believes that local representatives of the store likely had trouble getting corporate approval for the event.  Gold said he listed a Ralphs representative on the agenda thinking the manager would get approval to show up.

Improving the Ralphs has been discussed on Altadena Patch in several articles as well as on the Altadenablog.

Attendees at Tuesday's meetings raised some of the familiar issues discussed in the past--lack of selection and the absence of features like a deli, coffee bar and florist.

Lozano-Buhl noted that she has spoken with the management of Ralphs, and they feel the same way about the store.

"I talked to the manager about the petition, and he said, 'I wish you the best of luck,'" Lozano-Buhl said.  "He said he had been telling corporate that for a long time."

Some on the site have asked why the store does not expand on to the vacant lot on the property immediately south of Ralphs.  Meyers, of the Chamber of Commerce, noted that Ralphs does not own the lot and would have to work out a deal with the owner.

Meyers also raised the issue of whether an expanded Ralphs could hurt local businesses by adding services like a pharmacy, bakery or floral service that are currently available at small businesses nearby the store.

Webster, a local business owner herself, said that while local businesses are generally not doing that well right now in Altadena, expanding retail of any kind would only help local businesses, in her opinion.

"The more retail the better," Webster said. "It gets more people up here, more people shopping around. Success follows success."

Several people also brought up the upcoming Altadena Community Visioning workshops and the need to address larger issues with the town's retail options during that process.  The links below have more on those workshops:

Brian March 31, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Well, many if not all of the current Altadena restaurant businesses will continue to be around despite any remodeled Ralphs on Lake Ave. That is the situation in La Crescenta where that new store was remodeled a couple of years ago. Many restaurants all around that area. Same story in East Pasadena / Hastings Ranch Ralphs. Steer & Ale is still across the street on Foothill Blvd and has been since the late 70's, Baja Fresh Fish is still there, Mako BBQ etc, etc. Once a nicely remodeled Ralphs goes into Altadena, it will create local business opportunity since more people will be driving into the Altadena area to shop, which is a good thing. Don't be afraid of progress, East Altadena needs a bit of it.
Lisa Hastings March 31, 2012 at 02:41 AM
@ Brian. No one is afraid of progress. Many like Altadena just the way it is. You acknowledge that a remodeled Ralphs will bring more people and traffic. Many in Altadena do not want that at all.
Lisa Maiorana March 31, 2012 at 03:23 AM
As I've said before, with the post office going out, the empty lot across the street, Lake Avenue is well, sad. People do not shop at the local stores anymore because they do not carry the items that we need. Just the other day I was in a hurry and stopped at a local store. Of course they didn't have what I needed adding to my continued frustration. This is why people in the community do not patronize the mom and pop stores. We WOULD, however, if they carried what we needed. When push comes to shove, if you go to get something, they're not going to have it. If they do, it's generally 2x as much. It frustrates the consumer and makes them shop elsewhere and that place ends up being there "go to" place. The empty lot needs to have a big huge shopping plaza. A brand new Ralphs, postal store (because that will be out very soon as well), restaurants, etc. Something needs to be done or people will leave this community in droves. There are already 10+ houses for sale on my street alone, is this really want East Altadena wants to happen?
Chris April 03, 2012 at 06:07 PM
sorry. was gone a few days. ralphs meats are industrial quality. there is NO way i'm going to shop there or, actually, at any ralphs. they don't have the brands that i buy nor does any store in altadena. so ... i'm the bad guy for buying top-quality products? puhlease.
Douchay Bellerphony May 08, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I heard Ralphs is going to have a bakery and deli - when you ask for either they send you to the Dutch Oven or Park Bench! Ba da bum!


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