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Lucky Supermarket to Close April 28

Loss of Lucky leaves Cupertino without a traditional-chain, non-ethnic grocery store.

Luck has run out for shoppers of the Lucky supermarket on De Anza Boulevard with news the store will close April 28.

Owned and managed by Save Mart Supermarkets a sign on the front door alerts shoppers of the closing date and that it is “no longer able to honor ads.”

Close-out discounts and empty shelves serve more as reinforcement for why some shoppers believe the store is closing.

“It’s tired, old,” says Joanne Facciolla who says she typically only uses the Lucky store as a “large 7-11.”

“I run in and get my three or four things and run out.”

Most of her full-basket grocery shopping days are over now that her kids are grown and moved out of the house. Still she tends to leave Cupertino for her main grocery shopping and goes to the Safeway in nearby Saratoga for most food needs, but can't offer a reason for traveling there.

"I have no idea why," she says.

She’s lived in Cupertino and shopped at Lucky for 30 years and remembers when it was Ralph’s, then Albertson’s, then Lucky.

She also remembers shopping at Lucky for Thanksgiving Day fixings only to find the store routinely run out of the traditional fare she sought. Even when she does run in for her few items she hardly ever sees anyone with full baskets.

Maybe people prefer shopping at larger, newer, more modern stores, she says.

But shopper Victor Rizzo will probably miss Lucky a little more since he lives right around the corner and shops there two or three times a week, he says. It’s a convenient place for him. The next nearest large grocery stores are two Safeways; one on Hollenbeck Avenue in Sunnyvale and the other on Bollinger Road in West San Jose.

The company issued a statement blaming the economy for the store’s closure.

“Save Mart Supermarkets closes a store only after exhausting every alternative to draw more customers in to shop. Unfortunately, the failing economy and the competition from other retailers have kept this store from performing at the level required to sustain it,” said Woody Hunter, vice president of coastal division operations in a statement.

No word from Cali Financial Management Company on what will replace Lucky, but an employee who declined to give her name or other information said they’ve received no word from other tenants about leaving.

Lucky remains as the only large non-ethnic grocery store in the city and there are some, such as Patricia Edwards, who bemoan the lack of an “American full service grocery store.”

Edwards added: "When I initially wrote to you I overlooked the only other American full-service grocery store remaining in Cupertino which is Whole Foods. Personally, I don't shop there due to the always crowded parking lot and I find their prices a bit steep."

Cupertino has several grocery store options that have an ethnic focus.

Facciolla says she shops at the ethnic stores, and loves them, but does find that she needs to go to Safeway, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for most of her shopping needs.

Facciolla asked one of the Lucky clerks what will happen to the employees of Lucky. He told her they were offered to transfer to their choices of three other stores, and he assured her no one is losing a job as a result of the closure.

Hunter’s statement said the store originally “opened as a Ralphs in 1973, a change of ownership in 1980 rebranded the store to Lucky and then another new owner changed the store to Albertsons. Save Mart purchased the store in 2007 and was pleased to bring the Lucky name back to the community. This store has faithfully served the Cupertino community for the past 39 years."

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Pam Marino April 13, 2012 at 12:34 AM
This is sad, although I have to admit that, like Joanne, I also used Lucky like a giant 7-11. You can't always find what you want at the price you want at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Target. Maybe one of the newer, smaller chains, like Fresh and Easy will take over the space.
Anne Ernst (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Fresh and Easy would be nice, but in Willow Glen where I live the store that is supposed to open near me is still a couple years behind on the date it promised it would be open. Don't hold your breath.
manager@montavistamarket.com April 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Anne -- Don't forget about newly-opened Monta Vista Market, located just a mile from the Lucky store, across from the Cupertino Post Office. Not a full-service chain, for sure, but we're a locally-owned store working hard to provide a wide range of high quality healthy organic alternatives at competitive prices. Between now and May 15th, tell us you're a former Lucky Cupertino shopper and we'll provide a free, resusable grocery tote ($2.79 value) with any purchase over $10.00. GIve us a try! www.montavistamarket.com
Dave Stearns April 13, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Parking was easy at Lucky, but that's another sign of no customers. On the east side of Cupertino, I am roughly equidistant from three Safeways, all of which are better stocked than Lucky. Wouldn't mind a discount grocery like Smart&Final nearby though...
Pam Marino April 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM
True, Manager, we should patronize our local merchants, like Monta Vista Market! My only issue is that even your market doesn't carry some items and brands I can only find at a larger basic supermarket.
Pam Marino April 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Dave, you might be a straight shot down Lawrence to Smart and Final at Westgate West?
Anne Ernst (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM
A free reusable grocery bag sounds like a good incentive!
Kevin L. Koehler April 14, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Andronicos was for years looking for a place in Cupertino, however I don't think they would want to be sandwiched between Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and the two or three Asian /Marina markets nearby.
Kyle Taylor April 14, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Aren't they putting a "Super Safeway" in where PW Supermarket used to be at the corner of Homestead and De Anza Blvd.? Isn't that Cupertino?
Anne Ernst (Editor) April 14, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Kyle, from what I've been told the Safeway isn't certain just yet.
Kyle Taylor April 14, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I thought it was kind of weird that they were putting a Safeway there with the one on Hollenbeck so close.
JohnD April 15, 2012 at 08:26 PM
The PW Market "Safeway" is a done deal, check out the cupertino.org "doing business" link (city of cupertino economic development page), no construction can begin until the Rite Aid is relocated to its new building out front. The old PW will be torn down and the Hollenbeck Safeway will likely close as a result. It will be another 18 months before the new store is open just by doing the "math". A more "with it" operator could probably make the Lucky store site work...but it won't be Andronicos, as they too have been closing stores.
Kyle Taylor April 15, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Thanks, JohnD (and Anne!). My fantasy is that when they close the Safeway on Hollenbeck, they reopen it as a Lucky. I know it's kind of close to the Lucky on Grant Rd. in Los Altos, but there is a whole other set of customers in the Hollenbeck area. Also, my son was chatting with one of the employees at the Lucky on De Anza Blvd., and they told him that a Ranch 99 Market is going in there.
Pam Marino April 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I'm wondering if the Lucky employees were guessing at the Ranch 99 coming in. Location seems too small for a Ranch 99. Most large-scale supermarket companies need a much larger footprint to remain profitable, in part because today's shoppers demand so many more prepared and convenience foods. Ditto for Hollenbeck Safeway. It's why I wondered if something like a Fresh & Easy might move in, because that company has created a niche for smaller markets.
Crystal Tai April 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Would like to know what's going to replace Lucky.
JohnD April 28, 2012 at 06:51 PM
A likely candidate if the Ranch 99 thing is not a "done deal" is another Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. This is just the size and type of store they have been going for. The sudden loss of Lucky is odd. The timing is odd. But Wal-Mart will open the first of its new local grocery markets by this fall including one at Westgate. Looking at the calendar, this store closed at just the right time to accommodate a remodel into a Wal-Mart market...that would in theory open in the fall. But who knows what the story is...we need to hear from the landlord.

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