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Draeger's says it might close if Menlo Park City Council approves development project

Original post made on Oct 5, 2009

If Menlo Park's City Council doesn't require the developer of the site of the defunct Cadillac dealership to provide housing, not to worry: the Draeger family could build residential units --after shuttering its market.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 5, 2009, 11:52 AM

Comments (50)

Posted by Frank, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

So what the Draeger family is saying is, they are only willing to stay open as long as Menlo Park zoning laws prohibit competitors from moving in?

With Draeger's, Safeway, and Trader Joe's all in the immediate neighborhood I'm surprised that another grocery would see room to make a profit. But if so, I see no reason to protect Draeger's -- or any other business -- from the free market.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm

It's time to tell the Draegers that they are welcome to shutter their business whenever they like. There's really no need to wait. The last time I checked there was no reason that the city shoud subject itself to extortion or blackmail.


Posted by fkash backs, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Let's remember, Draeger's opposed the Farmer's Market the first time it was brought forward in the early 1990's, for similar fear-based reasons. But then the second year it was proposed they ended up supporting it, and that all seems to have worked out very synergistically for the whole City including Draeger's. The difference is that the Farmer's Market happens only one Sunday morning per week, and then the farmers can only sell things that are in season in California. So it's really not a comprehensive competitor.

ON the other hand, the rumors were of a possible Whole Foods for 1300 ECR, right? I can see why Draeger's would be concerned about that as it would be (a) a more upscale full service grocery appealing to much the same customer base, and (b) access/visibility on ECR is way better than where Draegers is located. Perhaps Draegers would ultimately want to move to this ECR location? They put a LOT of money into their facility in the 1990s, so they probably would prefer not to lose that sunk cost, however.

One thing Draeger's is right about here -- we DO need housing ont he transit corridor along ECR and walkable tot he train. More housing, more retail, esp "anchor" retailers that bring good revenues to the City with a minimum of car trips (auto dealerships or other bigger ticket sales tax items, and hotels are great). However not so many commercial offices -- Menlo Park should be careful on proportion especially with the Bohannon project coming in out on Bayfront.

The 1300 project really should have some housing! Somewhat higher density to allow such housing would seem a reasonable tradeoff.


Posted by wondering, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I find it intersting that people seem to have forgotten what the city leaders and others did to keep Kepler's open. Isn't Draeger's in some ways similar to that situation? They are both long time, family-owned businesses that have been city "icons", if you will. I really can't imagine downtown Menlo Park without Draeger's, just like I couldn't imagine Menlo Park without Kepler's. If there is housing, I believe it would be better to put it close to the train station, not in the congested downtown area.

Please, let's stop and think this thing through. Smaller family-owned businesses need our support so much now. Do we really need another "souless" big business?


Posted by Clark Kepler, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:58 pm

As an independent, local business owner I know first hand the kind of challenges Draeger's faces. Big Box chain stores threaten the very existence of locally-owned businesses in nearly every retail sector. There are numerous reasons for a community to protect itself from the predatory practices of big box retailers and why residents ought to shop at locally-owned independent businesses. A recent economic impact study in San Francisco shows that significantly more money re-circulates in a community when purchases are made at locally-owned businesses. More money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing locally helps grow other businesses as well as a community's tax base. Local businesses, like Draeger's, are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in Menlo Park's future. A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

I encourage all residents of Menlo Park to consider what our town would "live" like if we allow, through in-action, the loss of such a local treasure as Draeger's Market. If you care about Menlo Park's future and want to do something about it, make an effort to attend the public hearing tomorrow. And know this, as residents of Menlo Park we all shape our community every time that we make a purchase. We "vote with our dollars" which businesses we want in our home town. I encourage you to Shop Local First.

Clark Kepler
Kepler's Books
Hometown Peninsula Independent Business Alliance


Posted by Here we go again, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Let's don't forget that Draeger's threatened to move (where to, I'm not sure) when they strong-armed the city into letting them use the city parking lot for their loading zone when they couldn't come to terms with the owner of the lot on Evelyn St. Ironically, that lot on Evelyn still isn't being used. I guess every time Draeger's says frog, the city is supposed to jump?


Posted by Steve - Menlo Park Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm

If Draeger's believes that they provide value to the buyer, they shouldn't worry about competition. Personally, I'd welcome a Whole Foods in Menlo Park. There are several items I like that are significantly more expensive at Draeger's. It's about time Draeger's stopped charging exhorbitant prices on many stock items. Competition will help to bring them in line.


Posted by 20 year MP resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:18 pm

If Draeger's has excellent product and customer service, they shouldn't have to worry about competition--but they don't. When was the last time you saw a smile on the faces of the staff at Draeger's? How outdated is their delicatessen? I would like nothing more for Draeger's to feel some competition and step up to the plate and remain where they are. I think they could retain a strong customer base and whether any competiton. If it is a Whole Foods coming in on El Camino, they are by no means undercutting price, like Amazon is to Kepler's. It's all about product and service in the upscale grocery business.


Posted by spicy, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

It's time for Draeger's to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by Interested, a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Wondering...The difference between Kepler's and Dreagers is that Dreagers is a viable business. Its a grocery store. It may not make a fortune but it makes a profit. If it did not I can assure you the Dreager Family would have closed it without a single breath lost for the people of Menlo Park.

The decision to subsidize Kepler's was a disgrace, especially when you remember that the employees were advised of the closure of the store when they turned up for work one day and found the doors closed and their jobs gone. You only have to search the Almanac archives to know this is true..However..

The very idea that the Dreager Family would threaten to close its Menlo Park store because they can't get their own way on a development that concerns them only is as much as it may effect their profits should cause all to be outraged..

[PORTION DELETED.]


Posted by menlo mom, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I have to agree with 20 year MP resident above. I've shopped at Draeger's for years, but I've seen a sharp decline in customer service over the last year or so. I'm willing to pay extra for great seafood, produce and friendly, knowledgeable service - but this is no longer the case at Draeger's.


Posted by Steve2, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I don't hear this as an ultimatum from Draegers, just a statement of the reality that if the pie is cut into too many slices, their slice may end up being too small to remain viable. Don't forget that Roberts Market opened up shop in upper Portola Valley a year or so ago and probably took away a good slice of Draeger's business.
Menlo mom and 20 year MP resident both point to a decline in customer service over the last year. Could this be due more to Draegers' attempting to cope with the recession rather than contempt for the community? Seems to me that Draegers has always been a supporter of community events so I don't see what's gained by all this hostility.


Posted by curious, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm

as a long-time resident of MP and a customer of Draegers for even longer, i feel that they should step up and compete. they have a loyal customer base and offer a good product, albeit overpriced. are they so afraid of competition? please, don't try these extortionist tactics. it makes it very hard to feel sympathetic. the world won't end if Draeger's leaves. and i'm guessing they won't.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Steve2 ....... I guess you must have missed this part....


"If Menlo Park's City Council doesn't require the developer of the site of the defunct Cadillac dealership to provide housing, not to worry: the Draeger family could build residential units --after shuttering its market.

At least that's what the family has threatened to do if the council allows for retail space in a project proposed for the site, which the Draegers fear would be occupied by a grocer."


If thats not an ultimatum sunshine I don't know what is.......


Posted by Bonnie Marche, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Has Whole Foods changed its mind in the past year? If not, I don't think that there are any plans for another grocery store.


Posted by hometown Harriet, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm

As a long-time MP resident, it's clear to me that what our city needs to remain vibrant and attractive is more retail. I have heard many people say that they'd love a new Whole Foods on El Camino -- or a bigger Trader Joe's. Let's give all those cars driving down El Camino a reason to stop in our city and then after they've stopped for groceries, entice them to spend even more money at some of our outstanding retail stores, including Kepler's.

MP has plenty of people already, but not enough quality retail to serve them.

Beltramos has already had a hissy fit about the possibility of competition down the street, and now Draeger's is upping the ante. This is NOT a Kepler's situation -- Kepler's didn't try to arm twist the city, and Kepler's was not throwing a tantrum over competition -- so whether saving Kepler's was a good move or not is irrelevant here. If Draeger's feels as though one more grocery store will be the proverbial straw, then bye bye. But they're dreaming if they think that adding housing on El Camino will send more customers their way. Buyers of that kind of entry level housing will be far more likely to head down the street to Target or Costco than to pay Draeger's prices.

Instead of squeezing in more people to our overcrowded city, let's provide retail so that existing residents don't have to leave town. And, please, let's not let anyone blackmail the city council into making a bad decision.


Posted by James Madison, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Independently of Draeger's views, the City Council should press the 1300 El Camino developer on why it is not including housing in its proposal, which is needed, instead of office space, which is not. Specifically, the Council should insist that the developer show its projected costs, revenues and profits from housing in comparison with utilizing the same square footage for office space.

James Madison


Posted by Curt, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Let's show a little sense of community. Draeger's is a LOCAL family owned and operated store. Competition is fine, but how many reports do we have to read, that prove, shopping "independent" is better for OUR communities. Our families, friends and neighbors all live here and we should be supporting our local businesses? More BIG BOX STORES...is not the answer.

As for those comments using words like: Soulless, Extortion, Blackmail and "don't let the door hit you". Give all of us normal loyal people a break. Everything doesn't have to be so negative and evil. If you don't like shopping there, then don't. You don't have to slam Draeger's. Send them a letter with some constructive observations.

I'm sure they really meant their email to be interpreted as Blackmail.
Get real !!!
Oh and how did the paper get that info? Way to go Menlo Park City Council. That help build a better community.


Posted by MOE, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:20 pm

I find it disgusting that a small group of activists with their heads in the sand were able to get the developer of the old Cadillac site jerked around for this long.

Still, while I feel sorry for the inconvenience and cost to the developer caused by this obstructionism, I believe to approve a now flawed proposal out of sympathy or because "we should get on with it" is not serving the best interest of our community.

The City Council should at least insist on developing the mixed use alternative that provides some residential component near the city's transportation hub.

Regarding Draegers, I do shop there occationally and love it when I can find some special items but some competition wouldn't hurt. They pretty much had the upscale market to themselves and their prices reflect that. Still, I would like to see them stay where they are.


Posted by Old Schooler, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Anyone been in this town long enough to remember Menlo Square Market (on Alma across the tracks from the train station) or Consumer's Market (on Santa Cruz Ave.) or Co-op Market (where Trader Joe's now stands) or even more recently, Key Market on El Camino and 5th Ave.? All those markets co-existed and competed with Draegers, but only Draegers is still around. The new Safeway mega-store isn't going to put them out of business either. Most older residents I've talked with, feel overwhelmed and lost in that place ‚Ä" not to mention the horrendous parking lot layout (where SUVs have to back-up several times to fit in the tightly spaced stalls.
I'll bet Draegers isn't going anywhere. They've got an ideal location and a long-time, thriving business. Granted, the old "Cheers-type, where everybody knows your name" atmosphere has changed somewhat, but it still is the best place in town to buy the things one wants, and find them relatively easily. The big stores will never be that.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Curt....

I must have missed something, You wrote "Give all of us normal loyal people a break."

Exactly what do you mean by "Normal" or "loyal"? Loyal to what, a local retailer whose only concern is that the four stores they operate make a profit.

As to the question of the City of Menlo Park making available comment by persons or entities who oppose development in the City (albeit completely self serving) are there others on your list whose comments should be kept secret?...Perhaps you would like to prepare a roster of contributors to the public discourse that the Almanac should not print.

LOYAL.....to what and to whom


Posted by Guido Veloce, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Is the problem really the parking layout at the giant Safeway? In my experience, most SUV drivers can't maneuver their vehicles to save their lives. Anything other than slant parking spaces requires multiple attempts


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I believe Draegers was one of the parties responsible for the pushback against BevMo. Do not let Draegers influence the direction of other developments.


Posted by Marylyn, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I'm astonished by all the negative comments. I've been patronizing Draeger's for well over 40 years, and I still think the store is wonderful. No one has ever been rude. I hope they stay for a very long time.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Marylyn

The store is wonderful.In fact its probably one of the best stores in the State if not the country. I do not think anyone would dispute that. The question is should Dreagers be able to threaten the City in its development decisions. I find that to be very offensive. If the Dreager family think they can do better by turning the current store location into residential units then they should either "do" it, or get off the pot.


Posted by Wonton Dawg, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Wonton Dawg is a registered user.

Dont' give in to Draeger's threat. They are not worth it anymore. The staff would rather talk to each other than to the client's. Let


Posted by Really?, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 5, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Last time I checked Mountain View's Milk Pail market was owned by a local Menlo Park family. I'm happy to shop there and at Dittmer's. I get value for my money, great food, great service and support small family owned businesses. If Draeger's had something to offer me that I could afford I'd be happy to support them too. For the most part they do not. It's enough for Keplers or Draegers to offer premium goods at premium prices unfortunately they offer commodity goods at premium prices too. I don't need either business for the local flavor they purport to offer as they reach deep into my wallet for goods and services that others offer for less.


Posted by InMP, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2009 at 8:45 pm

So let them be gone. If the family is willing to relegate themselves to the level of school yard bully, then let them leave. We do not permit this sort of behavior in our schools, so why should we allow this behavior from people who are supposed to be serving the community. I'm happy to (continue) going to Safeway and TJ's, who need Draegers?


Posted by RhymeThyme, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Bought a loaf of bread today
Cost me 5 dollars more
Shopped today at Draegers place
Should have gone to another store

Now they threaten our city leaders
They may be closing their doors
If they don't bow to their delight
Please let them go, we don't need them anymore.


Posted by Give me a Break, a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Why do so many people consider Draeger's closing it's Menlo Park store a "threat", "extortion" or "blackmail"? Come on people, these words are used to incite injury or criminality. Draeger's is guilty of simply making a statement, that is, if Whole Foods moves into Menlo Park (sandwiched between existing stores in Redwood City and Palo Alto) it would force them to reconsider the nature of the Menlo Park business property _they own_ from retail to an "economically viable use" like office space. Draeger's is simply taking a defensive position. Read between the lines. The headline says it "might close" then the article states it "threatens to", thus framing Draeger's as a disgruntled business against the righteous City Council.

I think the real threat is coming from the City Council's decision to allow a large grocery chain within 1/4 mile of three existing stores.

The City Council could care less about what happens to a 55 year old locally-owned family business, and reading the negative vehemence toward Draeger's by some locals, Menlo Park will be better served if they simply disappeared.

How dare a local business try to make a profit! Especially off people who hate that business and never shop there.


Posted by Dexter, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I don't get the bullying comments from the actual email at all, although the reporter does imply it with his limited excerpt if you don't follow the link and read the actual email. Draegers is stating possibilities that the city council may not be aware of, and pushing for alternatives, including some the developers themselves proposed.

There's only so much grocery retail to go around in MP. If Whole Foods goes in, they will inevitably slice up the grocery business, especially with the thin margins in that business, and 4 grocery stores may not be viable in MP. Draeger's email states a study that they'll lose 22% of their business (along with other grocery retailers in the area). Even if they "stepped up their game" as some other commentators put it, and for example only lost 15% of their business, on top of the existing declines due to the economic climate, then I would think they would still think strongly about closing. They likely just would no longer be able make a profit with their existing overhead.

It's also not necessarily the case that WF sees room to make an immediate profit. It's not that they think they would better serve the clientele, but rather that they have the deep pockets to drive other stores out of business by operating at a loss for a while. And then they can make their profit once there are only 2-3 grocery stores left in MP. It's how big box often operates - they (often) promise better pricing and greater overall business for a city, but really they just take existing business and move it around in their direction until they're the only option left. And even the better pricing is usually mythical or only short lived, while what does happen is profits flow out of the community, along with diversity, character, and support for local organizations like schools and charities.

There's plenty of places where big box chains rule the local shopping. If you're enamored of big boxes, go ahead and shop and live in those places - there's no shortage. But I would prefer to maintain Menlo Park as a different sort of place.


Posted by h. harriet, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm

"If Whole Foods goes in, they will inevitably slice up the grocery business..."

Just not true. A lot of people in Menlo Park/Atherton shop at Whole Foods now -- and we have to travel to Palo Alto, Redwood City, or Los Altos to do so. If a Whole Foods were opened in MP, we could shop closer to home, and because that WF would be a gorgeous new store, some of the current PA Whole Food shoppers would start coming in to MP to shop here. And while they're here, they might stop at our hardware store or drugstore or Kepler's or some place else.

I rarely go to Draeger's any more. If they want market share, maybe they should re-evaluate their product and see what makes sense for the people who live in this community. That's how you win customers, not by sending passive-aggressive threats to the council.


Posted by Just A Thought, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2009 at 8:11 am

How about a compromise of sorts;

Draegers closes
Builds their housing units
As part of they deal 50% of the units have to be "low income" for Single Working Mothers Only, w/a built in child care center
Draegers uses one of their vehicles to transport kids to school
Draegers re-hires all of their employees (who will lose their grocery store jobs) to staff the center.
Mothers (as part of the deal) volunteer weekly in the child care center to help keep it clean.
This will allow Draegers to continue serving the community in a truly meaningful way.

Just A Thought


Posted by observer, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Oct 6, 2009 at 8:35 am

It seems much of the 'ill will' posted by those commenting is directed at a business wanting to make a profit. We all vote with our dollars and so does Draeger's. They vote to support their local community by providing jobs and paying taxes. There is much to be said for shopping locally and for giving back to those business' that helped lay the foundation of our towns. Many years ago stores like Draeger's, Roberts and Keplers took a risk and invested in a community business. They suffered through those early lean years all the while investing in the future of the area. Much has grown up around them and they have faced any number of challenges to keep their doors open. Now you say "good riddance"? Kepler's rescue was a perfect example of the community coming together to support one of its own. Make no mistake about it, Kepler's was kept open to make money. There's is not the best price in town but you do pay a premium for what they have to offer. Draeger's is not asking for a bailout, they are asking for the community in which they have invested to consider all options before deciding to add another business complex to the mix.


Posted by Been there, a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm

The Dreager family was once in the grocery business. Now they are in competition with most everyone on Santa Cruz Ave. They sell flowers, bakery goods, liquor and wine, deli sandwiches, you name it. Then they cry foul when another grocery wants to move in.
While I do agree that ten years from now the residents on Menlo Park will wonder what the current city Council was smoking when they approve the Cadillac site with no housing. It is just a symptom of the worst side of politics. They know that they will be sued by the developers if they turn down their proposal which conforms to today's zoning.
The Draegers location will work well for residential housing. It is not as good as the Cadillac location but better than none.


Posted by Nancy W., a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Loyal Dragers customers will continue to shop there even if Whole Foods opens on El Camino. But if they want to close their doors cause they're afraid of some competition, in a free market, that's their choice. Seems a little premature - and immature to be making threats of closing if they can't get their way. I don't frequent Dragers, and I would welcome a Whole Foods. I think it's a different client base that each store attracts.

I also frequent Applewood Pizza, and after trying out the CHAIN Amici's Pizza a couple of times - I'm back to my favorite local pizza joint - Applewood. I don't recall Applewood threatening to close if Amici's was allowed downtown.

Chain Store are not necessarily bad for the residents of Menlo Park, and I'd rather shop at Whole Foods in Menlo Park than spending my money in Palo Alto.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm

While I don't necessarily agree with the Draeger's tactics or tone, I think that the bigger problem rests with our city council and the pace of our downtown "visioning" process.

The Derry project was killed because it contained too much housing density and not enough retail. Now people want to stop the Cadillac project because it includes too much retail and not enough housing. Which is it?

The developer is not in the grocery business or the housing business. He just wants to build SOMETHING that he can sell/lease for a profit. This project has been in the works for a long time and I would assume that the developer has tailored it to what he perceives to be the prevailing priorities of the city council.

The problem is that the city council has no explicit priorities for redeveloping ECR and while our multi-year visioning process is exploring different architectural styles and the width of the sidewalks there has been to little discussion about what types of businesses we are trying to attract or retain and how many more residences we want to create downtown.

It is easy to get the community behind the creation of a "grand boulevard" with "mixed use development," because everyone imagines something different. I'm guessing that Mr Draeger is imagining lots of million dollar condos with affluent residents when he sees "mixed use development" on the consultant's story board and the current residents of the downtown rental apartments are imagining a more affordable neighborhood grocery store when they look at the very same pictures. Perhaps our older and younger residents are imagining a retirement community of some starter apartments.

If we ever want anyone to build anything in Menlo Park, we have to get to a consensus as to what it is that we want them to build.


Posted by FactFinder, a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Here are some facts. Whole Foods, Inc. (WFMI) is as much a real estate development company as it is a grocery chain. Developers plan stores to anchor new residential projects in up and coming or pioneering urban neighborhoods from San Francisco to Miami. Although their moniker denotes wholesomeness, they've been on a corporate feeding frenzy in recent years, swallowing rival retailers across the country. Whole Foods has successfully absorbed all its significant competitors, creating a near-monopoly in the natural foods grocery business. Consumers are always better served by a diversity of stores, but Whole Foods has been deliberately wiping out the competition with great success since the early 1990's.

Whole Foods vision is one of mega-chain retailing that involves strategically swallowing up (or driving out of business) smaller retail competitors. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey idolizes Wal-Mart as a business model. As a founder and CEO of a major national corporation, he hid behind a pseudonym and posted on the Yahoo Finance board pretending to be someone else so his competitor's stock price would drop and he could buy them out for less money. He later defended this practice after being criticized. He does not believe health care is a fundamental human right, as stated in his WSJ editorial on 8/11/09. "While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?"

Whole Foods is the largest non-union grocery chain in the nation. Their employee turn-over rate is astonishing high because long-term employees are expensive and expendable. They are fiercely anti-union and have fired employees who were trying to organize.

Whole Foods stores have pictures and profiles of small organic farmers in their stores, but they don't actually carry products from those farmers. They complement the long-term industrialization of organics (that is, large-scale corporate farms) over small, local family farms. Jelich Ranch in Los Altos cannot sell their organic apples to Whole Foods like they can to Draeger's.

If Menlo Park residents prefer the convenience of not having to drive 3 miles to Whole Foods in Redwood City or the 2 miles to Whole Foods in Palo Alto than shop at a long-standing, locally-owned family store, then I guess you'll get what you deserve.

"You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." - J. Mitchel


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Where in any literature can I find the mention of Whole Foods as part of this project? Can anyone point that out to me? The only time I heard it was when the Draeger family brought it up in this article. Can we really condemn a business when it has no record of interest? Should we start a black list?

No book burning, but are we going to burn book ideas before books are written?

This is getting weirder by the minute.


Posted by SHR Guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Whole Foods announced in Aug 2008 that they had no intention or interest in the El Camino site

Web Link

I'm all for Whole Foods moving there. Whole Foods tends to bring strong co-tenants with them often. Echoing the comments above, if the Draeger family cant deal with the reality of the market, they should move to a Whole Foods free zone like Berkeley


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm

So what makes them think the city woud allow them to convert their property to all housing or retail. A very bold threat.


Posted by more housing!, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Housing close to the train and busses! Housing close enough to use the retail that we have without getting in a car to get there.

How in the world could we end up needing MORE grocery shopping with a HUGE Safeway across the street? Isn't Safeway one of those corporate entities?

Is Whole Foods going to be like Starbucks? Why would they want to compete with themselves?

Why should any business waste money moving?? Presumably since we all apparently love it where it is.

How about a 24 Hour Fitness? (my wife's idea)

Too bad Menlo Park can't use the space for its new gym.

In the end... in America... isn't it mostly up to the new owner to decide what to do?


Posted by Charlie Whole Foods, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I've heard Draeger's whining for years every time there was a percieved threat to their business.

Draegers is the price leader -- meaning they are just too expensive for what they are. In the past 5 years as the old employees have moved on and new employees moved in, the quality of products has really gone down, and quality of customer service is was down.

Time for Draeger's to move on.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 6, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Bring in more competition!


Posted by harriet, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:50 pm

It's not competition we need as much as goods and services for residents. We're a big enough town that we should be able to shop for basic amenities without traveling, yet you can't even buy a bath towel, a sleeping bag, a hank of yarn, or a tv set without leaving town (if there are stores that sell these items, I can't think of them). I can get a pedicure in Menlo Park but I can't get my shoes soled. And I can buy a chi chi outfit at one of the new boutiques, but are there any tailors in town who can shorten it for me? Downtown Palo Alto has a few travel agencies; do we have any?

I'd love to have a Whole Foods on El Camino, but I can understand if they want to stay far away from our local politics. Meanwhile, the emphasis needs to be on taking care of the people who live here first. And that means serving our recreational and educational needs too. The very last thing we need on El Camino is housing. Draeger's needs to take a look in the corporate mirror and see where they can improve their offerings instead of bashing those who are trying to bring our city into the 21st century.


Posted by Clif, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:32 am

There are currently FIVE grocery stores all less than TWO miles of each other. Andronico's, Draeger's, Safeway, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Do we really need another grocery store?


Posted by zz, a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Let's forget about any more strip malls and focus on a quality grocery store. Whole Food's perhaps? ...Or beef up Draegers (a la San Mateo store) and move them to 1300 El Camino. This town needs to work on it's face-lift. Let's get some quality restaurants (no more chains) too!


Posted by tom h., a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

HOLD HIM TO HIS WORD, WE DO NOT WANT THEM IN OUR TOWN !
"David Lannon, president of Whole Foods' Northern California operation, said the specialty grocery store chain has "no interest" in moving to El Camino Real in Menlo Park, and he's unaware of any talks to open a store at the former Cadillac site."


Posted by June Curran, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I was a customer of Draegers' Market in Menlo Park for decades until I experienced firsthand their very unpleasant tactics and bullying of elder customers. How awful this was - and I feel is no way to treat a customer of two decades. No wonder they're deathly afraid of Whole Foods. I've shopped at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for years now and don't plan to step into Draegers' ever again.


Posted by Whiny Whiners!!!!!, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Tired of hearing Draeger's whining about "competition" in town. Car dealers used to rule El Camino in MP . . . now it's a ghost town! There's only Draeger's, TJ's, and Safeway in town . . competition is good. We need a Sprout's, Whole Foods, New Leaf Market (Santa Cruz), or Fresh n' Easy! I don't shop Safeway anymore . . and TJ's is too small to have the variety. Draeger's is overpriced! Let them call the waaaah-mbulance if they don't like competition. I have an idea: Save Sharon Park and close Draeger's . . build affordable/senior housing!

[Portion removed. Appears to be commercial promotion.]


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