Residents Don’t Want ‘Low End’ Tenant
By George Anderson
Residents from a neighborhood in Santa Clarita, Cal. would be happy if a grocer such as Trader Joe’s moved into a storefront left empty since Albertsons pulled out, but they don’t want to hear about a “low end” tenant such as Vallarta market setting up for business in the building.
Vallarta caters to Hispanic consumers, and residents of the area near Orchard Village and Lyons Avenue say that if the owner of the property leased the space to the market, it would drive down property values.
Neighborhood resident Jay Winter doesn’t believe that many locals would shop at the Vallarta market were it to open. “The market is not going to service many of our needs,” he told the Los Angeles Daily News.
Activist Berta Gonzalez-Harper said there was another explanation for the residents’ opposition. “Maybe there is a desire to have people not have a business that caters to the Hispanic market. There are a lot of people, in the powers that be, that are not comfortable with a concentration of Hispanics in the Newhall area. They attribute part of the blight to the mostly Hispanic area.”
Mayor Cameron Smyth said he had sent a personal letter to Trader Joe’s asking the chain to consider opening a store in the open space.
As to what will happen, Mr. Smyth said, “The ultimate decision really rests with the property owner. While I personally would have my preference of stores I would shop at, ultimately I understand it is a free-market system.”
A group of about 90 residents plans to address the Santa Clarita City Council tomorrow voicing their opposition to Vallarta market or other store that doesn’t fit in their neighborhood opening in the shopping center.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to this story? What is the best course of action for a retailer to take when faced with objections from local
residents about it opening a store or expanding an existing location?
Whether it’s an issue of race or class distinction, which is what the property value argument is all about, we once again are reminded that there is much
that separates us in our country and that we’re a long way from realizing Rev. Martin Luther King’s dream. –
George Anderson – Moderator