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In-N-Out, Other Businesses Interested in Watsonville

The city's Economic Development Manager says there has been an uptick in companies looking to move to the area.

Bad news first: there are no official plans for In-N-Out Burger to open to Watsonville.

But the good news is Watsonville isn't off the menu for the fast food favorite's expansion, and other businesses have expressed interest about moving into the city as well, according to Watsonville Economic Development Manager Kurt Overmeyer.

"We're starting to see a pretty substantial pickup in interest," Overmeyer said this week. "There are a lot of things in the works."

Overmeyer was mum on the possibilities, as the city shies away from talking about businesses moving to or expanding within Watsonville until the ink is dry on the contracts. It's a long and delicate process, he explained.

"The reason we don't talk about things is because it can trigger speculative real estate transactions and that's not fair," Overmeyer said.

He hopes to bring living wage jobs to town—such as small manufacturing—instead of just retail. Positions that pay $12-14 an hour instead of the $8-10 retail jobs offer would improve people's quality of life in Watsonville, Overmeyer said.

But back to In-N-Out.

The hamburger chain is focusing its expansion efforts in Texas these days, however, Watsonville has not been ruled out, according to Overmeyer.

"In-N-Out is a very conservative, slow-moving business," Overmeyer said.

The company is building six restaurants a year right now; five years ago it was only adding two per year.

But the restaurant company has long wanted a Monterey Bay location. In early 2011, .

Santa Cruz was its top choice, according to Overmeyer, but finding a suitable site proved too challenging. Seaside was next, but the Seaside City Council rejected the project in May 2011 after the company asked for another extension to file its plans. Increased traffic was also a concern. 

That leaves Watsonville, the No. 3 location. Overmeyer has pushed a parcel of undeveloped land on West Beach Street next to the Red Roof Inn. In-N-Out has never applied to build there, nor have they ever been turned down by Watsonville city officials.

"It's up in the air and it's going to be a long, slow process," Overmeyer said, explaining that it typically takes 18 to 36 months to recruit a new business, and that's just to get to the building stage.

One effort that has boosted Watsonville's chances of getting an In-N-Out restaurant is the community's support of the idea on Facebook. Overmeyer created a Facebook page in January 2011 about bringing In-N-Out to the city. The page has nearly 5,000 "likes."

"They pay attention to that," Overmeyer said, adding that In-N-Out leadership also noticed that the Facebook page urging In-N-Out to come to Santa Cruz had more than 2,000 more "likes" than the Watsonville page.

"They noticed that too," he said.

Overmeyer encouraged people to "like" the Facebook page, and also to send him feedback about the type of business growh they'd like to see in Watsonville. There is a feedback form HERE on the city website.

"I want to hear what people are interested in," he said.

Donna Deiss August 02, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I recommend a Java Junction in Watsonvile as a local option to Starbucks which is too chilly for the regular customers at the Starbucks in Freedom Center. A local owned coffee shop would be much more friendly
Donna Deiss August 02, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Java Junction has fresh smoothies, freezes, breakfast bagels and local music. How about a place that plays KPIG music instead of the canned music at Starbucks?
Shirley Christmore Stroh August 02, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Come on in to Watsonville, In n Out burger!!! We have the perfect spot for you, easy off and on a major freeway, and think there may be more than one spot. You will stay busy 24 hours a day here. It is between Marina and Santa Cruz, a perfect place to be!! Don't overlook us! We need you, please!!
Jennifer Squires August 02, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Have you been to Second Street Cafe? It's locally owned, plays decent music, has art on the walls and the food is delicious.
Hawkins August 02, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I enjoy Second Street Cafe. Although it's a bit out of the way for me (I live closer to Starbucks) I do like going there and taking advantage of their free Wi-Fi and vegetarian sandwiches.
Cathy P. August 02, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I heard from a reliable source that Yogurtland is going in at the Coldstone Creamery location. Seems a little small to me but can anyone confirm the rumor?
Watzon McWats August 02, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I'm all for more jobs and/or shopping in Watsonville, but not WalMart. On the surface, WalMart may look attractive, but they're exactly the opposite of what a small town like ours needs. When they come into a small town, they make it a point to put small family owned establishments out of business. This is not myth - it's well documented. Imagine Watsonville Cyclery, Pajaro Valley Lock, Markleys Guns, Ace Hardware, Cork and Bottle, Farm Fresh, etc, going out of business for good because they can't complete with WalMarts imported products and low overhead. They come into small towns like ours, and wring them dry.
Watzon McWats August 02, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I agree with your last statement. It's easy for someone right out of high school to get a job on a manufacturing floor, and they pay $12-$20 an hour plus benefits. Those outfits also tend bring with them engineering, sales, and marketing positions which pay even more.
Benny Lopez August 02, 2012 at 10:59 PM
My input on this is that it is a good and bad idea in various ways. My first concern is that we already have so many fast food joints here in Watsonville, we need a restaurant that promotes healthy eating. Burgers and Fries might sound good now, but with kids coming out from school and eating at fast food joints, it can only lead to unhealthy choices in the near future. They should add a Yogurt- Land instead of another In N' Out. Anyone Else Agree?
Watzon McWats August 02, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Cafe Ella, that bagel/coffee place next to Nob Hill, and Daily Perk are all great as well. I try to avoid Starbucks when I can. Good coffee, and I like that they are open late, but I much prefer the local joints.
Watzon McWats August 02, 2012 at 11:13 PM
The problem with the Facebook page is that most Watsonvillians are kind of behind the times when it comes to technology. Only a small fraction of us use Facebook, Patch, Twitter, etc. Anyway, I like In n Out enough to support it. I absolutely do not want another junk-burger joint in town, but In N Out is really in in a different category. Even better would be a Betty's.
Dave N August 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Sorry but I am a true believer in free enterprise - Bookshop Santa Cruz is a good example - they and a boat load of people cried the same tune when Borders wanted to come to town but in the end BSC adapted and found the niche that Borders and Amazon.com wasn't fulfilling and they still strive today. I haven't noticed Target, Kmart, Home Depot for example causing a lot of businesses to shut their doors (including some of the ones you mention that are in direct competition with them) and think that if businesses want to survive its up to them to adapt - not up to the majority of shoppers to resign ourselves to pay more and have less selection for their benefit.
Dave N August 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
My last post was in response to one I received bia emil but do not see here - I am pasting in below. Watzon McWats commented on In-N-Out, Other Businesses Interested in Watsonville, which you are following. "I'm all for more jobs and/or shopping in Watsonville, but not WalMart. On the surface, WalMart may look attractive, but they're exactly the opposite of what a small town like ours needs. When they come into a small town, they make it a point to put small family owned establishments out of business. This is not myth - it's well documented. Imagine Watsonville Cyclery, Pajaro Valley Lock, Markleys Guns, Ace Hardware, Cork and Bottle, Farm Fresh, etc, going out of business for good because they can't complete with WalMarts imported products and low overhead. They come into small towns like ours, and wring them dry."
Joe Strung August 02, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Im up for in n out i suppose, walmart definetley not. we already have target, save on, Ralphs, K mart, Walmart might ruin things, they are so overkill and everything seems to be so cheaply made there. We should focus on local business. I mean how large do you want watsonville to get, its a town of perfect size
Dave N August 02, 2012 at 11:47 PM
ooops - meant to say that Bookshop Santa Cruz still THRIVE today - not strive.
Joe Strung August 02, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I'd hate Watsonville to get too large. It would be like Salinas 2 large overrun city full of crime. Its bad enough as it is, people shooting each other on freedom
Xitlali August 03, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I would love In-n-Out to come to Watsonville! But no Wal-Mart. I agree with everything itsmecissy said. Wal-Mart's the British East India Company all over again. Free enterprise needs to come with its regulations or its just as bad as totalitarianism
bruce wayne August 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Old navy should go where gottchalks used to be
dick grayson August 27, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Kohls should go where gottschalks used to be
dick grayson August 27, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Hey, juan torres, say hello to queka for me
bruce wayne August 27, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Hey Dick u know Queka to ?
dick grayson August 27, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Yes. Mr wayne. Queka and I go way back. Since our high school days at whs. I remember splitting a fried burrito with her at the popular catz paws. I was the one who introduced Queka to Mr. Juan Torres, a shy fellow looking for love
bruce wayne August 27, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Well I remember them from the old Rancho Grande were their love was blossoming & I do say I told myself I see those two married one day & having 3 children
Angelica T August 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM
hey thanks for remembering me! but my i ask who are you guys (Dick Grayson & Bruce Wayne)
dick grayson August 27, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Batman characters? Why what ever do u mean? My name is richard, a 33 year old watsonville resident. I can't speak for bruce, but me and Queka go way back. Hey Zorro, aka Juan Torres, dont be displeased, im just a simple friend of the family. Say hello to emicko for me
dick grayson August 27, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Hello
Dave N August 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM
uhh - what does all this Facebook like chatter have to do with In and Out Burger - the actual subject of this string?
dick grayson August 30, 2012 at 06:07 PM
My apologies Dave N. Well, back to the subject at hand. In n Out would be ideal. It would bring customers from the whole County just like Target did. Much needed revenue. I recall times where i would go to target during the early daytime hours and all I would see was Aptos, Capitola, Santa Cruz, SV soccer moms at the store. That was great, but now with Capitola Target open, that will all change. In N Out would bring those people back due to this type of food chain would be the only one in the county. I remember times I would drive to Salinas or Giloyu to satisfy my wife's craving for an In N Out burger. I assume im not the only one willing to drive 20 minutes for a good burger. Well those are my 2 cents. PS. Hey, Juan Torres, ask Memo's girl if she can get me a good deal on a Metro PCS phone
Mdj Rocha September 07, 2012 at 02:27 AM
EVEN THO WATSONVILLE IS A SMALL TOWN, THERE IS A LOT OF PEOPLE
Sap Spotter December 10, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Right, everything in reefer world is 1960's politics.

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