After a three-year vacancy, the small grocery spot in Davis‘ Westlake Plaza will be filled.
By December 2009, the family grocery business DeLano’s will fill the space, in response to the surrounding community’s desire to have a grocery store within walking or biking distance.
The Davis Advocates for Neighborhood Groceries organized a grassroots effort more than a year ago to gain support for a Westlake Plaza grocery store, which would serve the 11,000 Davis residents who live west of Highway 113.
“It’s important to have a grocery store here because most of us will be able to ride bikes, and not drive,” said Carolyn Hinshaw, treasurer of DANG. “It will be convenient for the neighborhood to have a place nearby, and people can meet their neighbors.“
DeLano’s can be an anchor in Westlake to revive and attract the other businesses, Hinshaw said.
Several DeLano’s grocery stores are located throughout the Bay Area and show success. Although they are smaller than Safeway, they carry a wide selection of products.
“DeLano’s is a perfect fit for Davis,” said Russell Snyder, Founding Director of DANG. “They have a proven track record of opening smaller successful grocery stores in the Bay Area that offer the products and selection that residents want at competitive prices and in a pleasing setting.”
Some Davis Planning Commission members thought the community should settle for a smaller store but still supports the decision to bring Delano’s to Westlake Plaza
“It’s important to have a grocery store in this area mainly because the community wants one and they say they will support it,” said Mark Braly, chair of the Planning Commission. “Fundamentally, I support the city’s policy of grocery stores centrally located in a community, within bicycle or walking distance of people.“
A series of grocery stores, including Farm Town, Ray’s Food Place and Food Fair, were previously located in Westlake Plaza but did not persist. DANG believes that despite the previous business failures in this location, DeLano’s will succeed.
“DeLano’s has made it clear that they wouldn’t come to Davis if they couldn’t be successful. They are making an effort to tailor to the needs of the community,” said Hinshaw.
According to Snyder, DeLano’s is spending time learning about the kinds of products Davis residents desire, and DANG is conducting a survey. To further cater to the community, DeLano’s will offer a 5 percent discount to students and will have designated senior discount days.
On Sept. 14, an overflow crowd gathered to welcome DeLano’s to Westlake. Mayor Ruth Asmundson and Mayor Pro Tempore Don Saylor were present, as well as DeLano’s founders Harley and Dennis DeLano.
“We take very seriously that we are helping to feed your family,” said Harley DeLano in his speech, which was frequently interrupted by enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
SARAH HANSEL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.