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BevMo rallies for second try at Menlo Park store

Original post made on Aug 3, 2010

Three years after shelving plans for a Menlo Park store, Beverages & More (BevMo) is back. The alcohol retailer has filed for a liquor license with the state for a new location at 700 El Camino Real, the former site of Chili's restaurant.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 3:23 PM

Comments (74)

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I welcome the competition. Let BevMo enter!


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Old news, we've know for months that BevMo wants the Chili's space.
How about some current news Almanac.
Like the Betramos' asking the city to seat aside the three below market units in the housing development they want to build on El Camino.
The SJ Mercury News had the story at 3am this morning but the Almanac either doesn't keep up with the news or doesn't want to do a negative story on an advertiser.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

The link to the Mercury story
Web Link


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm

If Beltramos thinks they are in direct competition with Bevmo they are not too smart. No one goes to Beltramos looking for a deal and anyone looking for a deal isn't going to hesitate to drive the extra two miles up the road to Redwood City. Stupid.


Posted by Rose Gutshall, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

It's El Camino- who cares?


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:11 am

I'm a big fan of Beltramo's, but their obviously self-serving petition to the town should be ignored. Existing merchants should have precisely nothing to say about which new merchants may arrive, nor should the town itself.


Posted by new guy, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 4, 2010 at 10:18 am

Yep, same group trying to keep BevMo out. Too bad they won last time. By now we would have had a wine focused (with tastings) clean, brightly lit store instead of a jewelry store with scary dragons (never yet seen a customer in there, I wonder how they make rent?)

I am personally tired of the attitude I get from Draeger's wine staff. I enjoy Beltramos when I feel like splurging, but would go broke shopping there.

Good luck this time BevMo.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 11:37 am

A BevMo will also attract consumers from Palo Alto and Atherton - hopefully increasing our much maligned and needed sales tax revenue.


Posted by Long time Peninsulan, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Don't see why it's OK for Staples, Big 5, and even Safeway to have a presence in Menlo Park, but not for BevMo? Come on - the opponents' objective is clearly a personally financial one. For me, NOTHING is as bad as having all that urban blight of vacant store fronts and weed-filled former parking lots - let BevMo take over the former Chili's location - maybe that'll do something about all those interior lights on 24/7 at that site!


Posted by Stuart Soffer, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Approve the BevMo permit.

We've had too much manipulation of the zoning process recently, ultimately not serving the interests of Menlo park.


Posted by Clark Kepler, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm

As a Menlo Park business owner and resident also rooted in this town and facing chain and online competition that can out-spend and out-advertise me, I have a different perspective than some of the others who have commented here. I have come to value local independents far more for their long-term value to my community than to whether I may buy something cheaper today. I understand that there are larger economic impacts that local businesses provide Menlo Park and that if we choose to trade our independent retailers for big-box chains we will weaken our local economy. This is because local stores recycle a much larger share of their sales revenue back into the local economy, while chains siphon most of the dollars spent at their stores out of the community, funneling them back to corporate headquarters or to distant suppliers.

In fact several studies around the country, including one in San Francisco, have quantified the economic benefit of local stores. One such study found that spending $100 at a neighborhood's independent business creates $68 in additional local economic activity, while spending $100 at a chain produced only $43 worth of local impact.

The implications of this "local premium" for how cities approach economic development are significant. Not only do big-box stores eliminate more retail jobs than they create (see source materials at Hometown Peninsula.org), but they reduce local economic activity and job creation in other sectors. Conversely, expanding local businesses generates substantially greater economic benefits.

The truth is when we shop at a mega-retailer chain store or an online retailer most of our dollars leave the local economy. We may save a few cents, but the loss to our hometown results in local unemployment, higher taxes, and reduced services. By supporting locally-owned, independent businesses we, the residents of Menlo Park, can keep our dollars working for us as we enrich the local economy, increase the diversity of available products, provide better service and improve the quality of life for all of us.

Clark Kepler
Kepler's Books &
Hometown Peninsula Independent Business Alliance


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Clark Kepler states:"The truth is when we shop at a mega-retailer chain store or an online retailer most of our dollars leave the local economy."

Would we rather lose all the tax revenue from local residents shopping elsewhere or would we better off to get that tax revenue even if the other returns to the community are less than from a locally owned store?

And empty stores contribute nothing to the community either in terms of taxes or stimulated local economic activity.


Posted by Free Market, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Wouldn't it be miserable for a chain store to come into Menlo Park and ruin the quaint mom & pop feel that we have on El Camino Real... gosh, it would really take away from the charm of it's neighbors in the Menlo Station shopping center: Big 5, Lens Crafters and Staples.

Not to mention that, but it would also ruin the charm and steal business from the neighboring mom & pop stores across the street: Safeway, Peet's Coffee, Rubios...

Get a grip and let the Menlo Station shopping center get a desperately needed tenant and allow me to spend my money for my beer, tequila and margarita mix in Menlo Park instead of driving to RWC.

Rich, Kelly and Heyward - I voted for you, please don't blow this... don't cave into the Draegers and Beltramos of the world.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Mr. Kepler's post is very well crafted, and, not unexpectedly somewhat self serving.

Consumers, including Mr. Kepler, make "value" decisions everyday. It's why we drive certain cars, wear certain clothes and live in certain houses. Price is just ONE consideration, not the only one.

We buy a book at the airport for three times the price it may cost us at Costco because we've made a value decision that the purchase is worth it at that moment. Each of us makes those kinds of decisions with every single purchase.

In the case of books and beverages (and many other consumer goods), many consumers believe that the product is pretty much the same. It's hard to argue that an identical book or wine - whether purchased from Keplers or Amazon or Bevmo or Beltramos - provide different levels of satisfaction. If they do not, then price certainly becomes a bigger issue. Mr. Kepler tries to make the argument that his store "pours" more money back into the community rings hollow to me. The main source of money that a store pours back into a community is through its payroll. In that regard, a job selling books at Kepler's isn't so different than a job selling books at Costco.

I understand that these local stores provide certain extras that larger stores do not. Keplers provides excellent customer service and they often feature discussions with authors. As long those features appeal to a marketable segment of consumers, they'll do fine. But as their number diminishes, these stores will disappear as they did with drug stores, auto repair shops, video stores, pharmacies and butcher shops.

Things change... not always for the better.


Posted by Mical Brenzel, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Open competition is the hallmark of capitalism, and we benefit from it! Restrictive entry into a line of business or a business location is a terrible way to foster economic development. It doesn't work at either the local or the national level. A good merchant is one who is confident that the goods and services he offers his customers are the best overall value and who says about competition, "Bring it on!", not whining "Keep out of my neighborhood!" As for the reports and statistics that purport to show that locally owned stores return more economic benefit to a community than chain stores, just remember that "the Devil can cite Scripture to pursue his purposes". Don't believe everything that is published in unnamed "studies".


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Mical Brenzel states:"A good merchant is one who is confident that the goods and services he offers his customers are the best overall value and who says about competition, "Bring it on!", not whining "Keep out of my neighborhood!"

I am reminded of my book buying in the early days of Amazon. I was a dedicated Kepler's customer and about 1/2 my purchases were special orders. I pleaded with Kepler's to set up an automated system so that I did not have to fill out the same special order form every time I wanted to order a book - they refused to do this. I took my business to Amazon where I only had to fill out that information the very first time I placed an order - now some 600 books later I have never had to fill out that form a second time.


Posted by Steven, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

The dialogue that ensues around the issue of shopping with local independently owned business always perplexes me. Is it really not clear that the Property Owner pays the Property Tax regardless of whether there is a tenant in the space or not? Thus there is no loss of this revenue to the city. Is it not clear that having to share the six-pack with more than 6 people is hard to do? In other words, we already have enough businesses selling liquor, and in a time when liquor sales are down. Is it really an illusion that local independently owned business do more for the local economy, be it payroll, charity, and supporting other local independently owned businesses (such as accountants, attorneys, and other professionals)? Are we really ignorant about how much Cheeky Moneky, Kepler's, Roger Reynold's Nursery, and others, including the Beltramo's and Draeger's have donated to schools, non-profits, and other worthy causes?

Yes, it is easy to say that if we don't offer it, which in this day and age tends to come down to price, that the customer will go elsewhere, and thus our city will lose precious sales tax revenue. This is simply short-sighted. Because ultimately all that will happen, at least in this case, is a shifting of purchase decisions that are already occurring locally, and have no real significant impact to the overall collection of sales tax revenue, and to the extent there is an increase we are talking about a 1% of sales going to San Mateo County, and then some portion of that trickling down to Menlo Park.

On the aesthetic question, the blight look is terrible. But, the property owner does not need to run the lights 24/7 and waste energy; that is their decision and no one elses.

And, why shouldn't the local businesses who have been around for 50, 90 100+ years have some say in how things change. Have they not earned the right for serving our community for so long, and doing so much good. I have grown-up and been in this community for 50 years, and every one of these businesses has been visible to me in one way or another: in elementary school, in high school, as a customer, and as friends. Capitalism is good to a point; but then we are in the midst of experience the biggest backlash of our capitalistic roots so you would think we could learn something from that. And one thing that I think I have learned is that loyalty and integrity matters most. All I hope for in Menlo Park and our surrounding communities is that we do not simply dismiss the local independently-owned for wanting to survive through some really trying times, adjust, and adapt, through them under the bus, and think the free market will take care of everything, because it won't. What will likely happen is that the Chains of the world will wake up one day and survey the "land," having put all of these local independently-owned business out of business, and say now we have too many stores and close them to spread out the distance between them and let people drive to them now that they are hooked.

While "the Devil can cite Scripture to pursue his purposes," the Devil is also in the details, so no matter what we must tame the Devil.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Steven - empty buildings don't produce sales tax.
- which locally owned businesses have offered to expand into the currently empty buildings?
- which MP liquor store is locally owned, that is owned 100% by individuals living in MP?
- what is the evidence that locally owned businesses have more integrity and loyalty than non-locally owned businesses?


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I would have more respect for Mr. Keplers opinion if he were the the same Clark Kepler who locked the doors to his business one day, which is how some of his employees found out they were out of work......The Almanac reported it....how quickly we forget.

Its all about money...and Menlo needs the sales tax.


Posted by Steven, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Peter: Follows are just a few sources of information.
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

Documentary: Web Link
[choose view trailer]

I agree that the pickings are slim for the vacancy in any building right now, in this economic climate. But we should not kid ourselves that by accepting any tenant will be good for the long term.

As for where the owners live, some local independently-owned business have owners who live in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, San Carlos, Redwood City, etc. as well as Menlo Park. But my voice is not myopic and recognizes that these owners are still locally connected to our community as well as the one's in which they reside. For the chain stores, the owners, or rather the corporate headquarters, live in other locales such as in the states of Arkansas, Minnesota, Georgia, England, Sweden, and on and on and on. The chains are not supporting the extended community in the same way as the local independently-owned business. Read the studies, view the trailer, better yet view the movie.

As for the integrity and loyalty, when I go in to Cheeky Monkey and I see Dexter and Anna (also Menlo Park residents), as well as their staff, it cannot compare to going to Toy's R Us or Target, when I go into Roger Reynold's the staff has a smile on their face and care about what they are doing and with top notch knowledge, when I go to Hirzel Jewelers and Carl thanks me personally for coming in, when I go to Avant Optometry, and I see (no pun intended) Helen and Spencer and their great staff they treat me as a valued client not just a customer. This means when something needs attention with my toy selection, my garden choices, something as simple as a watch battery, or my eyewear, my willingness to spend a little more money than perhaps I would spend, if these same purchases were made at a chain doesn't go unnoticed.

When I go to a chain, and I do (we are not promoting a full switch and absolute avoidance to chains), there may be pleasant staff, but more often than not they are just processing transactions and not a whole lot more. Often times, for more involved purchases, the staff doesn't have the knowledge base to properly represent the products (case in point here: EXPO), or all they care about is moving the transaction through and getting on to the next one, or worse just getting done with the customer so they don't have to deal with them.

Peter, in this case, how many liquor stores do we really need in Menlo Park? At least when the auto dealers were there they were representing different brands. But, for the most part all BevMo will provide is yet another source for the same products to which we already have access. And, again, if you think in this case that filling the Chili's space with yet another liquor store will add anything significant to the City coffers in terms of sales tax revenue, I would consider this shortsighted and beg to differ.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Steven -

I appreciate your passion (as well as Mr. Kepler's) but your post was awfully light on facts. What makes you think Staples or BevMo doesn't donate to the community? What makes you think national chains don't use local firms for janitorial services, pest control, legal and accounting matters?

The biggest economic multiplier from any retail business is, by far, employee salaries. Regardless of the location of the home office, those employees spend locally.

I'm sure there were once a bunch of small, independent store owners who viewed Kepler's and Draeger's as "super stores" that would put them out of business. Now, it's their ox that's being gored. No business is immune from competition.

There is nothing illegal or immoral about a building owner leasing space to BevMo. It's not our place to say we have enough. If that were true, I sure hope someone will do something about all those nail salons.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Just imagine if MP only allowed locally owned business - no Safeway, not one bank, no denominational churches, no Walgreens, no Starbucks, no Peets, etc.


Posted by Just Wondering, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Peter,

And just imagine if MP was like Atherton...no businesses period ("they'd just bring down our property values - we're an EXCLUSIVE COMMUNITY, after all").


Posted by Steven, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm

POGO, for facts you need to clink on the "Web Link"s which is how the Almanac choices to display the links to studies that I provided in response to Peter's comments. For me to provide the facts would be a voluminous post for which I am sure the Almanac wouldn't appreciate. Also, do you really believe that BevMo, Safeway, WalMart, Target, are using local prfessionals? In some cases yes, but in most cases no.

Peter, we have what we have, the Safeway, the Banks, the Churches, the Walgreens, Starbucks, and Peet's, but when is enough, enough? I think the same SHOULD hold true for the number of Nail Salons, but then for me the redeeming element is that at least they are local independently owned businesses.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Just Wandersing states:"And just imagine if MP was like Atherton...no businesses period"

And then I would have to go elsewhere to make my local purchases - not a very attractive idea. I would much prefer that MP remain/become a vibrant community with a broad range of businesses and services.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm

said Peter - "And then I would have to go elsewhere to make my local purchases - not a very attractive idea. I would much prefer that MP remain/become a vibrant community with a broad range of businesses and services."

Yeah Peter, make sure you keep the riff raff who own and work in stores and service businesses out of Atherton. You don't want to mar that elitist feeling you get dwelling on the sacred grounds of Atherton.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Bob - how unkind, you want to have us patronize your businesses and you want to take our money but you just don't like Athertonians. I predict that Athertoninas spend more in Menlo Park than do Menlo Park residents. And I suspect that more Athertonians own Menlo Park businesses than do Menlo Park residents.


Posted by Peter, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:13 pm

You must read the comments more carefully Peter.
I never said I don't like Athertonians. My email was a response to your comment, directed at you alone.
While I don't own a business I gladly patronize them, and as their owners and workers do I welcome the customers from the surrounding towns, even you Peter.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm

A correction
I also need to read more carefully
The last to comment to Peter was from Bob, not Peter.


Posted by Just Wondering, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm

"I predict that Athertoninas spend more in Menlo Park than do Menlo Park residents."

Of course, Peter, give the amount of hoity-toity shops set up by wealthy Athertonian wives with nothing better to do that then sell to other hoity-toity wealthy Athertonian wives who love to shop and buy expensive s---.

My prediction: 99% of all Athertonians have never set foot in a shop in Redwood City.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Just Wandering all over the place states:"My prediction: 99% of all Athertonians have never set foot in a shop in Redwood City."

Wrong, check out BevMo and Costco and Target and you will find lots of Athertonians shopping there.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Who cares if someone wants to get into business selling wines, books, expensive eyeglasses, fancy clothes, lattes, or manicures? If you can make a living doing it, have at it.

The only thing that the last dozen posts prove is that (assuming it's legal) government should stay out of business selection. If Peet's wants to open a store right next to Starbucks, that's their right. Let the market sort it out.

Regarding this issue, I have a knock-knock joke for the MP City Council:

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Nunya.

Nunya who?

Nunya business.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Let the market decide. Free enterprise.


Posted by Rodney Franz, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

El Camino is not Santa Cruz.

BevMo replacing Chili's is not BevMo replacing Kepler's.

Get a grip, people.


Posted by I Like Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

The most valuable property most of us own is our house in Menlo Park. Your house one mile north in Atherton, which is retail free, would likely be worth quite a bit more. Your house located two miles north in Redwood City, which has every chain store imaginable, would probably not be worth far less.

Our houses are valuable because of the unique community we have created. It is arguable that our local merchants form the backbone of our community and provide one of the most visible expressions of our community. Draegers, Beltramos, Café Borrone, Cook's Seafood, Cheeky Monkey, Roger Reynolds, The British Bankers Club, Carpaccio, Keplers, Tesla, and the like play a very large part in making Menlo Park what it is. McDonalds, Staples, Safeway, and maybe BevMo are fine, but add nothing special to the character of our town. We can do better and should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

You can bet the local operators fight hard to keep out BevMo and other chain operators to protect their livelihoods. There is nothing wrong with supporting our local merchants because it is their creativity, vibrancy, and difference that make Menlo Park special and unique. In fact, standing by their sides is very likely in your own best interest.

Don't forget that Menlo Park is in competition with Redwood City, San Carlos, Fremont, etc. I don't think filling up Menlo Park with chain stores is the way for us to win in the long term.


Posted by I Like Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

My apologies. I did not mean to leave the word "not" in the third sentence of my post a few minutes ago. The post should read:

The most valuable property most of us own is our house in Menlo Park. Your same house one mile north in Atherton, which is retail free, would likely be worth quite a bit more. Your same house located two miles north in Redwood City, which has every chain store imaginable, would probably be worth far less.

Our houses are valuable because of the unique community we have created. It is arguable that our local merchants form the backbone of our community and provide one of the most visible expressions of our community. Draegers, Beltramos, Café Borrone, Cook's Seafood, Cheeky Monkey, Roger Reynolds, The British Bankers Club, Carpaccio, Keplers, Tesla, and the like play a very large part in making Menlo Park what it is. McDonalds, Staples, Safeway, BevMo, and the like are fine, but add nothing to the character of our town. We can do better and should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

You can bet the local operators fight hard to keep out BevMo and other chain operators to protect their livelihoods. There is nothing wrong with supporting our local merchants because it is their creativity, vibrancy, and difference that make Menlo Park special and unique. In fact, standing by their sides is very likely in your own best interest.

Don't forget that Menlo Park is in competition with Redwood City, San Carlos, Fremont, etc. I don't think filling up Menlo Park with chain stores is the way for us to win in the long term.


Posted by Grateful to live in MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I just moved here and I love the small town feel of Menlo Park. That's why I didn't move to Redwood City, San Jose,...etc. The urban sprawl is everywhere. This charming, family oriented town didn't become this way by accident. Controlled growth is important to maintain the unique quality of this place. I, personally, appreciate the efforts of those who are fighting to maintain the sense of history, tradition, and vibrancy of the mom-and-pop businesses that give this town its unique character. I will join them and I hope you do too.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm

So what some are objecting to is the replacement of one chain operation (Chilis) with another (Bevmo). I think the "local business" argument falls flat with this in mind.


Posted by Correct/Wrong, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 4, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Correct "Menlo Voter" that's the lunacy of this blog right now, Bevmo's would be replacing Chili's!
Wrong "I like Menlo Park" the reason our houses are worth the amount of money they are worth, is strictly because of the schools, end of story. Yes, it's nice downtown, even with the blight on ECR, and even with the 12+ vacant, and burned out businesses on Santa Cruz. However, families with children relocate here and want to relocate here, because of the schools, just ask anyone with kids why they moved here.


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I would bet dollars to donuts that BevMo brings in more sales tax than Chilli's. Just a hunch


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Imagine a Menlo Park in which…
Kepler's was replaced by Borders Books
Roger Reynolds was replaced by OSH
Cheeky Monkey was replaced by Toys R Us
Beltramo's was replaced by BevMo

Pretty sad. In fact, I'm not sure I'd be so keen to live here.
This is why we have planning commissions, a city council, and use permits.

Change does not happen all at once. It happens one step at a time, if you let it, and letting Bevmo in would be the first step. I don't want to see that happen!



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Menlo Voter II asks:"Imagine a Menlo Park in which…

Kepler's was replaced by Borders Books

Roger Reynolds was replaced by OSH

Cheeky Monkey was replaced by Toys R Us

Beltramo's was replaced by BevMo"

If Kepler's, Roger Reynolds, Cheeky Monkey and Beltramo's continue to serve the needs of their customers then they won't be replaced by anything.

If they don't meet the needs of their customers then they will go away and be replaced by something else - and as long as what replaces them meets the zoning ordinance it is none of the City's business to determine who can sell what in Menlo Park.


Posted by Ol' Homeboy, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Gosh, all this banter is makin' me thirsty!
Here's a solution: Howz 'bout Beltramo's and Draeger's guarantee to match BevMo's prices? Heck, both families have owned their respective store properties since before I first moved to Menlo (1952), so we know it's not about high property values forcing them to charge more. And sure, BevMo probably gets a better bulk wholesale rate, but that's the giant store's edge. At least, Belt's and Draeger's can be sure the higher priced, select wine brands/vintages that we "hoy foloy" prefer, aren't carried by BevMo anyway.
Or here's another solution: Let's revert back to the old law that didn't allow alcohol sales within one mile of Stanford Campus. That'll bring Menlo Park quaintness back.
Oh, and while I'm on the subject...what the dillio with the council shelving the Hotel Tax. A 2% tax increase hardly is going to keep people from booking rooms at Stanford Park or the Rosewood. I mean, no one even know what the Hotel tax is until you book a room. It's never quoted in the room rates. And the visitors who stay in our two fine hotels? Well, just to bring it back to the booze subject, I bet they complain more about the $11 per cocktail charge at the bar.


Posted by Gern Blanston, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I tend to agree with Clark Kepler, Menlo Voter, and others who favor local businesses over chain stores. I've never set foot in a BevMo and have no plans to do so. What does this chain have to offer the city other than cheap liquor, paltry wages, and sales tax revenues? Sure, we need the latter but I'd opt for fewer sales tax dollars if we could get an interesting local or small chain business in that location (where "interesting," to me, is just about anything other than a liquor store).

Gern


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Menlo Voter: get your own name I had this one first! :-)


Posted by relative newcomer to Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Some shoppers tend to be eclectic looking for quality and value. Using the library for most
of my books I also pop into Kepler's for a paperback or to browse. I purchase most of my
wines from K&L, mostly looking for quality bargins but also find an occasional bottle in
Trader Joe's. Ritz camera is a chain but offers very hands on service when I download my
pictures. While it's not likely I would change my wine buying habits if Bev Mo should
appear, I would feel deprived if Cook's left town. Free enterprise coupled with good
values and service prevails. Why does everything become so polarized in this city?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Gern Blanston states:"I'd opt for fewer sales tax dollars if we could get an interesting local or small chain business in that location "

Why should something that you consider "interesting" receive an implicit tax subsidy? Do you really think that the City Council is competent to determine which businesses are "interesting"? Or which businesses deserve to be given preference even if they generate less sales tax dollars, i.e. an implicit taxpayer subsidy? What is your definition of a small chain and why are you opposed to the Safeways and Walgreens and Wells Fargos and Presbyterian and Catholic churches?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2010 at 1:32 pm

You folks keep harping on keeping Menlo Parks's "uniqueness." You mean the blight on El Camino or the big chain grocery store on El Camino? Or do you mean the Starbucks located with several blocks of each other? Or the? I could go on, but you get the picture. We're unique in that we are eons behind the times.

A bevmo is not going to put Beltramos or Draegers out of business by a long shot. People go to those businesses for a reason - service, selection and quality. When people are looking for a deal they drive the extra mile up El Camino and go to the Bevmo there. Just because they don't have to drive that extra mile doesn't mean all of a sudden they will start flocking to Bevmo here.

There are a great number of chain stores already located in Menlo Park. The Bevmo is going into a space which was vacated by a chain operation. Which leads to another point - Chilis pulled out because the operation here was not profitable enough. The market handled it. The market should be allowed to handle this too. If there isn't a market for what Bevmo provides - cheap liquor with somewhat limited selection and no service - it will end up leaving.

The city needs the jobs and the sales taxes.


Posted by lush, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Long live BevMo!!!!! So Long Draegers!!


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Some people here are mentioning sales tax dollars. Before I consider increasing sales tax dollars, I want to address wasteful spending by our government. Our city manager makes $250k a year!!! That is a disgrace!

I welcome BevMo. It won't "ruin" the character of Menlo Park at all. It will fill a void not currently being addressed by the competition.


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I'm certainly in favor of free markets and capitalism, but the recent economic crises changed my view on the amount of regulation and governmental intervention that is merited. In this case, I don't think that Bev Mo would put Draegers or Beltramo's out of business, but what if they did? I like Beltramo's because they have great folks who help me buy the right wine ... for whatever I want to spend. I would be really disappointed if they were to leave and I were left with Bev Mo as our local wine merchant.

I also don't think that BevMo would add to the tax base or would generally benefit Menlo Park. In this case we have plenty of retail stores that sell wine and liquor in Menlo Park, so how will Bev Mo contribute? It seems to me they will just take business from our local merchants. I would rather Bev Mo stay in Redwood City.


Posted by Embracing BevMo, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm

BevMo, welcome to Menlo Park! You will fill one of the many vacant spots along El Camino, which now resembles Beiruit, and will bring shopping choice and additional, much-needed tax dollars and jobs to our city. The commercial space you covet has plenty of parking and your many customers would not impact the parking of Downtown Menlo Park. The complaints of Draeger's and Beltramo's should fall on deaf ears as they are self-serving. Why does Draeger's continue to park its big white truck on Evelyn Street all day long so that they can load their garbage into it? Why don't they load their garbage in their lot across Menlo Avenue?
So much for the beautification of Downtown Menlo by Draeger's!
It's not a pretty sight.


Posted by $2 Chuck, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Anything that drives the outrageous Calif. wine prices down at Safeway and Costco is a welcome addition. TJ's doesn't have every label, and some vintners/distributors won't sell to them for fear of
undermining their pricing structure.
But, when you can get a decent bottle for under $10, instead of forking over $15 plus, that's a result of healthy local competition.
That will attract more shoppers to make their beverage purchases in MP rather than RWC or MV Costco.


Posted by R.GORDON, a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Most of the elitists here seem to forget the outcome of people like Marie Antoinette, and the Romanovs.
Just think....the average person can buy their wholesale wines and look at the bullet trains as they whiz by.


Posted by Tristan, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Actually R. Gordon, after they drink their wine they can w--z on the passing HSR trains. Of course that will be a bit difficult for even those with the strongest bladders, as the HSR will be whizzing by on that beautiful aqueduct 20 feet over our heads.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Gern Blanston and Jeff -

I understand your position but that's what the market is for. We make these decisions by choosing where we spend our dollars.

If there are a lot of people like you, then Beltramo's, K&L and Draeger's will thrive and BevMo will go away.

Remember, at one time, Beltramo's, K&L and Draeger's put other smaller stores out of business. This is the cycle of life.

Gern Blanton stated, "I'd opt for fewer sales tax dollars if we could get an interesting local or small chain business in that location (where "interesting," to me, is just about anything other than a liquor store)." You are absolutely free to open up an interesting local business.


Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2010 at 8:17 am

It is poor taste to flaunt labels, drop jewelry store names, and most of all, to think that any home on the peninsula corridor is as nice as mine as those in Presidio Heights in S.F. even if now some of us who have homes there too, are not griping at the occupation of the former army base by the lessees like Lucas. We still look at the Bay, the Bridge, and the trees block all the structures.
IOW...no change in spite of progress.
NOW, if people here, as I do, just think of it as the future of America and equality.
Besides, everyone with generosity of spirit, think of those who are not as well off as we.


Posted by loyalty is earned, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 6, 2010 at 8:46 am

POGO sums it up well. I shop at businesses where the owners make an effort to keep customers satisfied and don't try to gouge us just because there's no competition. I've been loyal to Kepler's, even when I could shop Amazon, because I want an independent bookstore in town. My money supports that desire. Beltramo's and Draeger's wouldn't have to worry so much about BevMo if they made more of an effort.


Posted by Dichotomy, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2010 at 11:38 am

Why is every thing in this town so polarized? I don't love all chain stores and wouldn't want this use on Santa Cruz, but here, where Chili's used to be? Frankly, that sounds OK. I've been to BevMo before and don't consider them a direct competitor to Beltramo's. Besides, I can't say I buy into the idea that franchises/chains always offer lesser service than locals- the Menlo Ace always gives me great help, for example. Let's keep things in perspective and evaluate these proposals carefully, but at the end of the day I think it's going to be okay.


Posted by Stuart Soffer, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I'm a big fan of Keplers and Borrone's, and other locally owned businesses. But the arguments citing the charm of Menlo Park and locally owned businesses don't ring true in this application.

Consider this: Does anyone doubt that the same arguments and opposition would be raised to deny the this permits if this were, instead of BevMo, an alcoholic beverage emporium opened by some local residents on the Chili's site? I would expect so. This is about limiting competition.




Posted by tom h., a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm

we do not need any more big box stores like bevmo
and stop whole foods
more is not better


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

tom h -

The best way to do this is to not shop at them. That is your choice.

Other consumers are entitled to their choices, too.

Welcome to America, Tom.


Posted by sam, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm

visited the recently opened Bevmo in Burlingame, ON Burlingame Ave. It is a very nice store, w/lots of great wines, unusual liquors, and fine beer. Nice supplemental items too. Great prices. Revenue for cities is needed and as long as they conduct business in a nature relevent to the area let them be. We deserve choices and competition is good for the economy and consumers.


Posted by Ethan, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm

We've got plenty of liquor merchants in this area. What the people really need is a good medicinal marijuana club. How come those particular businesses have been banished from Menlo Park/Palo Alto? Free marketers, don't all answer at once.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Excellent idea, Ethan! You seem like an entrepreneurial sort. Why not open one up, and venture into the pits of hell that await anyone who tries to make an honest living from trade in America 2010?


Posted by A Menlo Shopper, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I want to point out that the remarks that Beltramo's displaced other liquor stores isn't true. Don't forget that they were the first to offer the products in Menlo Park and have been family-run and serving the community since 1882.
The service and selection at Beltramo's brings into Menlo Park customers from a wide span of communities thereby boosting the city sales tax revenue above and beyond what just Menlo Park residents can generate. A Redwood City or Mountain View resident wouldn't drive to Menlo Park to shop at a BevMo because they have BevMo's in their towns and BevMo stores are all alike. The arguement that BevMo adds to the sales tax revenue is not a valid one. They would only contribute to redistributing the current revenue and hurting the existance of the independent shops that already serve well the city's needs.
I don't think this is a shopping convenience or competition issue as some have mentioned. I think it's a matter of good city planning and looking ahead. Fortunately we have a use permit requirement in place for this category of retailers which allows for a holistic analysis of the situation for the benefit of the community.


Posted by Embracing BevMo, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

If we end up with a BevMo as Burlingame has, it will be an asset and offer our residents a choice when it comes to purchasing spirits. As for protecting homegrown Draeger's and Beltramo's, they seem to band together with Flegel's to keep any kind of competition for them away from our fair city. Draeger's opposed the Sunday Farmers' Market, which has turned into a very successful social get-together for our residents, while Beltramo's has endeavoured to overbuild their commercial properties in the area without regard for the neighborhoods that their growth impact, i.e., around the Alameda. Competition keeps us on our toes and helps bring profits to a natural level. BRING ON BEVMO!

P.S. Is anybody ever going to do anything about Draeger's garbage truck that is illegally parked on Evelyn Street?


Posted by SuzyQ, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 6, 2010 at 11:15 pm

If Beltramos has been in business since 1882, what did they do during Prohibition?


Posted by Kelsey, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

Why BevMo sucks:
Web Link

Former Employee


Posted by Interested, a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

"I don't think this is a shopping convenience or competition issue as some have mentioned. I think it's a matter of good city planning and looking ahead. Fortunately we have a use permit requirement in place for this category of retailers which allows for a holistic analysis of the situation for the benefit of the community."


Thats why empty retail space in Menlo is so hard to find....................NOT


Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 7, 2010 at 11:19 am

It is well worth a couple of minutes to view the video submitted by a "former employee" entitled Why BevMo Sucks above here. Very informative.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

It will cost BevMo a lot to establish a new store in Menlo Park including permits, fees, tenant improvements, inventory, hiring and training. Therefore, their cost of failure will be high. I doubt that they are prepared to make that investments without some reasonable assurance that there is sufficient consumer demand.

If well informed individual consumers choose not to shop at BevMo, or any other store, and there are lots of such consumers who make the same decision then that store will go out of business. However, I do not believe that it is the role of government to decide which are 'good' and which are 'bad' businesses.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

Peter:

governments control all types of businesses. The state controls the number of liquor licenses it issues. Cities often control the number of alcohol sellers in their cities. So they decide what they think is "good" and "bad" all the time.

that said, I still think Bevmo should be allowed to go into that space. I don't see Menlo Park as having a big problem with too many liquor stores.


Posted by Janet Medlin, a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

To cast aspersions that the appellant of the Planning Commission's decision to permit BevMo in Menlo Park, must have some financial interest in the other liquor stores' agenda is simply speculation and is frankly dead wrong. Property values is a financial interest and community values is another. More importantly is the fact that the planning commission refused or failed to follow the requirements of the use permit standards of Menlo Park. Those who voted for granting the permit did not address why the BevMo applicant met the legal standard, which is higher because a "use permit" is required here.


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