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Nov-28-2010

CLOSING: Delano’s Market at 27th & Geary; possible bankruptcy

Several readers have written in today with the news that Delano’s Market, home of the double coupon, is closing in the next couple of weeks.

I stopped by the store this afternoon and saw signs posted, announcing their reduced hours. Normally the market is open 24 hours but starting tomorrow, they will only operate from 8am until 8pm daily.

Other than the store hours announcements, the only other sign there was something amiss were the empty shelves in many of the aisles. As I took photos, one woman asked me “Are they in trouble?” and when I replied they were closing, her mouth fell open in disbelief.

I spoke to a couple of store staff while I was there, James and Daniel. Both men have 20 plus years working at the Geary location which has changed hands several times since it first opened as a CALA Foods many years ago.

They told me that the market would be closing soon but they didn’t know exactly when. “When the food is all sold, we guess!” joked one of them.

Not every staff member was as lighthearted about the closure – one reader reported that staff at the store were in tears about the closure when he shopped there today.

Despite their looming unemployment, James and Daniel said that they’ve always loved working at the market. James was born and raised in the city. When I asked what was next for them they laughingly replied, almost in unison, “We’re going to live off our wives!”

Other employees guessed the store would officially close in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, no fresh food is being stocked in the store – there are already large, gaping holes in the milk, bread and egg aisle.

So why is Delano’s Market closing? James and Daniel said the market chain is in financial distress and would be declaring bankruptcy soon. James emphasized that the Geary location does fine, but that the other six Delano’s locations in the greater Bay Area have been struggling. Curiously when I tried to visit their website tonight at delanomarkets.com, it came up empty.

I was not able to confirm with Delano’s if bankruptcy issues are the reason for the closure. Some readers asked if the planned opening of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market at 32nd and Clement next year contributed to Delano’s demise, but that does not seem to be the case.

For outer Richmond residents the closure of Delano’s further limits their choices for supermarket shopping. Neighbors will have to drive or bus out to the Safeway at Ocean Beach (48th Avenue) or head the other direction to the Safeway on 7th Avenue at Cabrillo. Either way, a long trek for shoppers that have relied on the Geary & 27th Avenue market for many years.

The closure also leaves a gaping vacancy on Geary Street – the market’s lot spans the entire length of the block between 27th and 28th Avenues. Let’s hope that the property owner has some other tenants lined up or at least a plan in place to keep the area clean and secure.

Are you a Delano’s shopper? How do you feel about the market closing?

Sarah B.

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9:35 pm | Posted under Business | 42 comments
  1. Cass Phillipps said (11/28/10; 9:49 pm):

    Was just there earlier today – perhaps while you were taking photos, heh, and was wondering about the empty shelves.

    This is incredibly tragic news for the neighborhood. I do enjoy doing my produce shopping at all of the wonderful markets along Geary, but Delanos was really the only one-stop-shop for everything I needed for a meal.

    A bit worried where I’ll get this kind of stuff now, not having a car. :\ I suppose a LONG walk to the 32nd & Clement location when it opens, or a bus to Trader Joes.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. Cat said (11/28/10; 9:56 pm):

    This is really upsetting… I’ve been shopping there for almost 5 years, since I moved to 22nd Ave. It’s never really been the cheapest or the freshest but it’s convenient if you need to pick up something like flour or sugar at 10pm.

    I have a lot of funny/good memories of walking down with my boyfriend late, late at night for snacks, listening to the oldies music they always play at the store.

    I am more upset for the people working there. Really good people. I hope they can find new jobs soon.

  3. troymccluresf said (11/28/10; 10:01 pm):

    Wow. I worked there (Cala Foods) for three years. My recollection of names is fuzzy, but I bet I know James & Daniel. I don’t know what Cala/Bell/Ralphs/Kroger/DeLano’s did, but man, they sure ran the Cala/Bell chain into the ground.

  4. Tweets that mention CLOSING: Delano’s Market at 27th & Geary; possible bankruptcy -- Topsy.com said (11/28/10; 10:19 pm):

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff McC and Richmond SF Blog, Andy Wernette. Andy Wernette said: RT @richmondsfblog: The latest victim of the economy: Delano's Market at 27th & Geary is closing, possible bankruptcy. http://bit.ly/h7YxvX [...]

  5. Mike said (11/28/10; 10:32 pm):

    I stopped at the location on S Van Ness near 24th St recently and got spooked out when I saw all the empty shelves so I walked out. I wondered if they were closing.

  6. Ed said (11/28/10; 11:06 pm):

    I came there an hour ago and wondered why they were closed…

  7. Al said (11/29/10; 12:11 am):

    I’ve often wondered: around 6th & Clement there must be more than half a dozen grocery stores within two blocks. How do they stay in business?

  8. Jean said (11/29/10; 7:43 am):

    This is terrible news. A supermarket at that location has always been so convenient. I’m also very worried about what’ll happen to such a large, unused space. We need to make sure it stays safe and clean until there’s another tenant.

  9. David Stimpson said (11/29/10; 8:10 am):

    Sad, but explains the empty shelves when I went there last night. Hoping for the best for all the staff.

  10. drea said (11/29/10; 8:44 am):

    I am bummed!! I liked picking up quick supplies fro breakfast or a simple dinner and it seemed to be the only place in the hood to pick up nitrate free breakfast sausages!

    I think its a loss!

  11. Amy said (11/29/10; 10:52 am):

    What a bummer! Delano’s is right around the corner from me, and I really appreciated them being open 24 hours so I could pick up whatever I had forgotten for dinner or for a snack. Definitely a loss for the neighborhood.

  12. Laura said (11/29/10; 12:24 pm):

    This is awful! I feel most for the employees, what a time to be layed off! I stopped at DeLano’s not for my weekly shopping, but for those little things I needed in between or could not get at Trader Joes. I loved that I could walk there, now I guess I will be schlepping it with the car to Safeway on Cabrillo and 7th…

  13. Ben L. said (11/29/10; 3:03 pm):

    Scuttlebutt has it that Mollie Stones bought the Delano’s markets, not sure if this is true or what this means for this store.

  14. Paul Rosenberg said (11/29/10; 5:31 pm):

    Actually, the store opened as Littleman’s and became Cala in 1965:
    http://www.groceteria.com/store/regional-chains/k-o/littleman-stores/
    Leon Miller founded the chain of Littleman stores:
    http://articles.sfgate.com/1996-06-06/news/17777136_1_geary-boulevard-oakland-jeffrey-miller-san-francisco-grocers-association

  15. Michele said (11/29/10; 9:50 pm):

    The Delanos in the Castro has signs all over the outside “LOST OUR LEASE. STORE CLOSING. EVERYTHING 10% OFF.”

  16. Rachel said (11/30/10; 11:59 am):

    Ugh, how awful for the wonderful employees and for the neighborhood. I’m shocked… This place always seems to be hopping and it’s the only major super market in the area (except the Safeway on Cabrillo and 7th).

  17. Amy said (11/30/10; 4:20 pm):

    What a loss for our neighborhood. I’ve been shopping at Delano’s, previously Cala’s for the 15 years I’ve lived in the Richmond and have only had positive experiences. The employees at Delano’s are wonderful people who are always very kind and friendly. I know that this came as quite a shock to them and I wish them well in the future. While we are all rushing in to grab the discounted merchandise and stock up on some of our favorite items, let’s remember to say a few kind words to the workers. It’s never a good time to lose one’s job, but in December it’s got to be even more difficult. Let’s hope the lot doesn’t stay vacant like the nearby Kragens Auto Parts.

  18. W. said (11/30/10; 4:43 pm):

    Hard to believe this place is gonna be history. Originally when I heard about the reduced hours I thought, “Okay, well, it makes sense.” No more drunken 3AM treks down the block to grab chips or ice cream or Vitamin Water – I could live with that. But for them to close completely? Lame.

  19. James Benjamin Mariano said (11/30/10; 7:36 pm):

    I have been shopping there from since it was CALA’S in the 1970’s. This really bums me out. It is really hard and expensive to live in San Francisco. It will be hard for people that live in middle Richmond District. Especially for the elderly and seniors. The bonus was they were open 24 hours. Great for people to go to that work different hours other that 9-5pm

    Well all I could say is all the employee have always been nice and helpful working there. They try hard to give good service with pride and passion. Hope the owners figure this out and give them some compensation and severance for years served especially in this tough and trying economy. It would be great if…if there will be a Fresh and Easy that opens hire these industrious and dedicated workers!

  20. TheVapid said (11/30/10; 8:24 pm):

    I can’t say that I am sorry to see it go. The prices there are stupid, in fact insulting to my sensibilities. I get almost everything I need at 25th and Clement market while they are not the best for everything I can usually find what I need with in walking distance.

  21. Alison said (12/1/10; 12:18 pm):

    This is really a shame but I can’t say I’m surprised. Every time I’ve gone there in the last two years the produce has been really pitiful. And the prices are ridiculously high. Still, don’t know where I’ll get my coconut oil now!

  22. Rita said (12/1/10; 12:38 pm):

    I’m completely fine with this… DeLano’s is such a horrible grocery store… I just hope they replace it with something better so there’s a grocery store convenient to us mid-Richmond dwellers!

  23. Christian said (12/1/10; 2:06 pm):

    I used to work for Cala Foods and resigned before it became DeLano’s. When I saw it became that. I said to myself that it’s not going to last because the prices were too high and not had so much going on like when it was Cala Foods. I saw almost no cars in the parking lot, not as much things to sell like they used to and not many customers. All the customers that used to shop for Cala now went to Safeway. Sad!

  24. Karen James said (12/1/10; 2:15 pm):

    I am very sad about the closure of this store as I live and work in this part of the Richmond. Although the prices were higher than some other stores I was willing to pay for the convenience. The employees there are terrific and I feel so bad that they will all lose their jobs particularly at this time of the year. I also think our District Supervisor should know how we all feel about not having a generic grocery store in our neighborhood. Give his office a call or drop an email.

  25. Bob said (12/1/10; 9:25 pm):

    I am not surprised either. DeLano’s charged premium prices for a non-premium product. And the food was not fresh either, and I’m not talking about just produce. They did not turn their inventory fast enough and it showed with lunch meat, etc nearing its expiration date still on the shelves.

  26. nina said (12/1/10; 10:04 pm):

    I’m inconsolable over the loss of Delano’s.
    The staff were friendly familiar faces that will now be without income.
    The neighborhood just lost a gem. It’s heartbreaking all around.

  27. sarah said (12/2/10; 10:13 am):

    I am so upset! The staff were so friendly, I knew all the cashiers, and it was super-close to my apartment. With this store closed, grocery shopping is going to get a lot harder for me without a car!

  28. JimC said (12/2/10; 10:56 am):

    I saw the “Lost Our Lease” sign and empty shelves when I stopped in there on Monday morning. Despite the high prices, I do a fair amount of my shopping there. For those of us who choose not to have a car and live west of 33rd Ave, this is quite a loss, since takiing a bus down to the Safeway-By-The-Sea is quite a pain-in-the-butt ever since MUNI “improved” service by re-routing the #18 bus and eliminated the 38 Ocean Beach line. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I may have to give up eating alltogether.

  29. Bob said (12/2/10; 11:27 am):

    For those who don’t know what they are going to do with DeLano’s gone, there is a new Fresh and Easy opening up 5 blocks away next year at 32nd and Clement. Hopefully you will see some of your friendly DeLano’s cashiers there!

  30. jonathan said (12/2/10; 6:14 pm):

    Sad. Let’s hope the neighbors of the new proposed safeway on La Playa do not cause significant disruption that causes that outlet to close down or I do not know how far I will have to go to shop. I was at the recent proposal meeting and a few neighbors were making it rough on the Safeway team which really did seem to try to meet them halfway. (I’m not associated with Safeway– only a neighbor).

  31. jacob said (12/3/10; 12:16 am):

    First DeLano’s, then Video Cafe… what next, closing Jook Time? Oh my God… We’ll all have to resort to cannibalism!

  32. BobbittJones said (12/3/10; 5:04 am):

    Hardly surprisng, but still disappointing. Quality went down after the Cala change, but the staff have always been fantastic. I wish them the very best and hope they all gain employment elsewhere as quickly as possible.

  33. John said (12/3/10; 5:49 pm):

    Well, it’s still a prime spot for a market, so I will hope for a better and more reasonably priced biz to take over. Maybe Trader Joe’s could run it well – that would be a huge upgrade over Delano’s.

  34. wife to daniel said (12/3/10; 10:38 pm):

    I am so deeply touched to hear that some people appreciated the people that worked there. You seem genuinely concerned for the employees well being. As my name says it all, I am wife to Daniel who joked about “living of his wife.” Truth is we are scared of what we will face in the next couple of months, hopefully this economy turns around and we will make it thru. I met Daniel in a different store when it was known as CALA FOODS three kids later things have changed and it is all a sign of the times. We have health and each other things happen for a reason, and after 20 years vested in this industry, hopefully bigger and better will come along. Daniel will miss the friendly faces, and the support this neighboorhood has shown over the last couple of days shows that a being just a “grocery clerk” can be fullfilling.

  35. GIno said (12/4/10; 4:35 pm):

    I hope Trader Joe’s is paying attention. That would be fantastic.

  36. Ben L. said (12/4/10; 4:54 pm):

    IIRC (as told to me by a TJ’s staffer at the store) TJ’s best performing store (out of their entire company) is Geary & Masonic, no reason for them to open another in the area to take any $ away from that.

  37. Jen said (12/5/10; 4:57 pm):

    I too am disappointed in the store’s closure, the location was so convenient being five blocks from my home. I especially appreciated their stocking organic produce and Rosie’s free range/organic chicken.
    And as others have commented, the staff was so nice and friendly. But, the saying “when one door closes another opens” may be timely. Let us trust in that.

  38. More on the closing of DeLano’s Market | Richmond District Blog of San Francisco (richmondsfblog.com) said (12/6/10; 4:27 am):

    [...] discussed in our earlier post, DeLano’s financial troubles are to blame for the [...]

  39. Goodbye to DeLano’s said (12/7/10; 12:57 pm):

    [...] For the full story, check out Eater SF or The Richmond Blog. [...]

  40. nicole said (12/14/10; 11:37 am):

    I live across the street and I have shopped at that location for over 20 years. It is true that the prices kept getting higher but that is the case almost anywhere you shop and especially if you are wanting to avoid GMO products and only eat real food. For that we do have Thom’s Health Food Store not far away ($$$$). And Trader Joe’s is good although hauling groceries home on the Muni is very hard for many of us who choose not to keep a car in the City. Then there is also the handy smaller grocery at 25th and Geary .
    We have all been inconvenienced by the closing of our 24/7 Market but the people who will be most hurt by it’s closing are the staff and our older neighbors.
    The very best thing I can say about the Delano market is that the staff there were wonderful people. Some had worked at the previous grocery stores in that location. They kept the the market very clean and well stocked. They were always helpful,courteous and fun, too.
    Those fine people deserved so much more than what has happened to them. It is dreadful that they lost their jobs right before Christmas~ and no severance pay, no respect shown for years of good work. I do hope they all get new jobs at whatever new grocery store opens in our neighborhood.
    And I also am keeping my fingers crossed that whatever new market opens in that location or at 32nd and Clement will also play the wonderful music that all of us who shopped or worked at Delano’s enjoyed so much.

  41. BobS said (01/3/11; 10:39 pm):

    I feel sorry for the employees who were very nice and had been there forever. But except for the sushi and..well, the sushi, there really wasn’t much there that was either special or I couldn’t find for less at Safeway. I’m not surprised the place is closing — it was never busy.

  42. Grocery Outlet to open in former Delano’s location at 28th & Geary | Richmond SF Blog said (10/16/12; 7:57 pm):

    [...] It’s taken nearly two years but Supervisor Eric Mar’s office will announce tomorrow that Grocery Outlet has signed a lease on the former Delano’s Market property at 6333 Geary Boulevard. Delano’s closed in December 2010 after filing for bankruptcy. [...]

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