New Discount Store Destined for Downtown

The Watsonville Planning Commission is also expected to OK liquor sales at new airport eatery.

Bargain shoppers, Watsonville's Main Street will soon be a mecca for great deals, if the Watsonville Planning Commission approves plans for another dollar store during its meeting Tuesday.

A Gilroy man wants to open a discount retail store at 375 Main St., next to LA Western Wear, where he would sell items for a dollar or more, according to the staff report prepared by Marcela Tavantzis, interim community development director and Keith Boyle, a principal planner.

During , downtown merchants asked city leaders to do more to increase foot traffic and shoppers in the business district.

The new dollar store could "create additional energy downtown that will be support of the retail environment," Tavantzis and Boyle's report stated.

The near-6,500 square foot space, formerly Coast Savings and Loan, is currently vacant.

The store would join other discount retailers in the downtown including the Discount Mall,  , thrift store, the , and the .

In other Planning Commission business, and the new proprietor at the Watsonville Municipal Airport restaurant is looking to get the business's liquor license reinstated.

Andrew Crocker, who runs 99 Bottles of Beer in Santa Cruz, is reopening the restaurant at the airport as Props.  for many years, but closed down in 2011. 

Props plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

According to the staff report, there has a been a restaurant and bar at the site for several decades with little to no incidents. Staff is recommending Crocker's proposal be approved.

The Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, fourth floor of the Civic Plaza, 275 Main St. in Watsonville.

Martha P Quintana June 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I don't think that another 99 cent or dollar store is what is needed. That doesn't attract more traffic to the downtown. That is why many of us go out of town. I think we need more variety, both in food and shopping. WE have that great big empty store (Gottshalks) Why not attract a major store there and other nice shops.
Lucinda June 05, 2012 at 03:48 PM
TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE COMMENTS ABOVE! How is yet another crappy discount store going to "create additional energy downtown". Its time to start getting some real businesses around here.
Kiethie's mom June 05, 2012 at 03:48 PM
My family NEVER, ever heads to downtown Watsonville,(not even an option or thought) unless we need a library trip and then it must be early in the day. We spend day trips in Monterey or SC or even Santana Row, just because they have nice restaurants, shops and it's relaxing. I agree with the others, there are so many discount stores, it doesn't seem that we need yet another one, unless or course we are trying to attract that kind of business and clientele only. Downtown Watsonville could be nice again, and a place we'd like to hang out at, if it could get classed up a bit.
Gloria Garcia June 05, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Another $1 store! What is the Planning Commission thinking??? We have so many of these kind of businesses in the downtown that Watsonville has become a second rate town with dollar stores at every corner. Where's our pride? Gloria Garcia
janey leonardich June 05, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I must agree with all the above comments....look around Watsonville's downtown needs a major facelift with new shops and stores, not the same old thing (discount places). We all can complain and not shop in Watsonville, but that doesn't solve the problem, the City should concentrate on working to attract the businesses we want and ask for, as you might figure sales tax on 99 cent items do not amount to much and they definitely offer a large number jobs to our community. As I drive and shop in Gilroy, Hollister, Los Gatos (all have small downtown areas) I find a variety to shops and eateries to stop and visit. We should strive to that level of business represented here.
JT June 05, 2012 at 04:34 PM
NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT another $1 DOLLAR STORE!!!!? PLEASE! Enought already, Watsonville is become "Tijuana"! I have lived here ALL MY life and I am VERY DISSAPOINTED at our planning commission + city council. WE NEED to UPGRADE people! As long as this continues I will keep spending my money out of town in Gilroy, Monterey or San Jose. Now there are some REAL options with shopping, dinning and entertainment! Very dissapointed in you Watsonville "LEADERS!".
sandra June 05, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Watsonville is going down....how sad! No more dollar stores please. I agree with all the comments above.
Jennifer Squires June 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
From the comments, people are opposed to this ... but is any business better than having an empty storefront?
Martin Enrique Garcia June 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM
That's what I'm asking myself too. Ultimately, I agree that this is a bad idea, not because of the issue of this individual storefront but because of our inability to have a sweeping marketing plan to revitalize downtown. Deciding to pass this application is pennywise, pound foolish.
Frances Snow June 05, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Plain and simple, No!!!
Hawkins June 05, 2012 at 05:43 PM
In the face of high unemployment it's better than an empty storefront. What is the Watsonville CC doing to bring in diverse businesses and clientele, create better paying jobs with benefits and drive in higher tax revenue and keep it? With a revitalized downtown, Watsonville could be a destination and show it is truly is a city of diversity. Instead we get another discount store or fast food place and another reason not to go downtown.
Myrna Sherman June 05, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I don't beleive so. We should think about the type of population we want to attract. For myself as i stated above, lovely interesting shops with a variety of eateries. As orhers have said, a nice relaxing place to shop and enjoy. A place where people have funds to spend , find items in watsonville want to buy, and do.
Butch Cole June 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I agree with all of the negative comments above! What a rediculous idea...last time I checked even that "discout mall" is half empty.
Hawkins June 05, 2012 at 08:03 PM
The owner isn't even local. Will he be hiring locals?
Randy C. June 05, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Come on city council, how about trying to lure a decent retailer to come into the downtown area and help make up some of that sales tax revenue you're going to lose when Target opens up in Capitola? Give Fry's a sweetheart deal to establish a central coast presence in the empty Gottschalks store and you'll make downtown a destination for out of towners to buy tech items, appliances, and many other items we all use. This store could attract other small retailers and eateries to add some diversity to the face of our downtown. Start being aggressive about attracting businesses and employers that serve the entire town. It's a real shame to see the downtown area abandoned for the strip malls on Main st. extension and Freedom Blvd.
lakers June 05, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Bad idea. We need a Kohl's, best buy or jc penny downtown.
Randy C. June 05, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Kohl's or Best Buy won't put a store in Watsonville when they each have one in Capitola. Fry's would generate more sales tax revenue for the city than a clothing store and might bring more out of Monterey Bay shoppers who don't like driving over the hill. It would be interesting to see if J.C. Penny would come back into town.
A Flores June 05, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I agree we need more than another dollar store. J.C. Penny, Macy's, Kohls etc.
jorge June 05, 2012 at 10:19 PM
me personally think that Fry's would be the best idea i personally dont shop at jc penny or anyone i know evey time i go to the mall in salinas i just go in there to go to the other side. Fry's it what it should be its a great store and would get a lot of business
David H. Perez June 05, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I guess none of us should be surprised about this. The mantra seems to be to keep Watsonville poor and dumbed-down. That way the half-wits that form our city council majority can keep their power. I agree with others - I avoid downtown like the plague because there is nothing down there for me, and due to all the riff-raff I would especially never be seen there after dark. So this new crap store changes nothing for me - if I want some decent shopping, some nice dining or just a nice sidewalk bistro or cafe, or even just a nice and safe town to stroll around in, I will continue to go to Capitola, Los Gatos, Gilroy, Monterey or Carmel.
Jennifer Squires June 06, 2012 at 01:19 AM
BREAKING NEWS The biz owner couldn't be here tonight, so considering the new dollar store will be postponed until September. That gives all of you a chance to weigh in with your planning commissioner or city council member, or just come to the next meeting and have your say.
Myrna Sherman June 06, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Does Fry's even know we are here? What a great business to have in Watsonville. It would attrattract customers from Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Bonito Counties. Lots of dollars spent and lots of tax dollars in city of watsonville. Seems to be a no brainer. What would it take to make it happen?
Jennifer Squires June 06, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Update on the proposal here: http://watsonville.patch.com/articles/dollar-store-proposal-times-out
jason June 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM
This is a bad idea, I don't think Watsonville needs another dollar store..
RM June 08, 2012 at 03:49 PM
While we would all like a nice upscale store to go into downtown Watsonville, it's not going to happen. Why? Because let's be honest, people with money don't go down there. Any store looking at a Cost-Benefit analysis would steer clear of downtown Watsonville. They'll have much more success locating 20 minutes south or north. Another dollar store is not what the city needs, and yet, it's better than nothing.
Cathy P. June 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@RM: Let's be honest? If city leaders got rid of their "it's not going to happen" attitudes, we'd have plenty of shopping for everyone downtown. Downtown will never be a shopping destination until there are businesses worth shopping at, "Build it and they will come." The city's belief that another dollar store is better than nothing (or better than another empty storefront) is horse pucky!
RM June 09, 2012 at 03:14 PM
@itsmecissy I agree with you. But it will be hard to get the first store to commit. The vast amount of theft that occurs in town (just look at Staples for that), will not encourage retail businesses to come here. Not to mention the unemployment rate. I completely agree that downtown needs an overhaul, but you will be hard-pressed to get any serious retailers to come in any time soon. There needs to be some serious changes to our local leadership before that happens.
Robin Bolster-Grant July 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I'm a new transplant from Bonny Doon to Watsonville (literally haven't unpacked yet) and this thread is interesting to me. I agree the shopping and eating choices downtown are pretty limited, but hardly nonexistent. And, I would sooner stroll Main St. after hours than I would Pacific Ave. in SC. The history and architecture here offer something you can't find in many other parts of this county. I hope everyone who posts here will take their energy and ideas to the city leaders and let their voices be heard - if not, there is clearly no impetus for change. Crime rates are down significantly and the economic turnaround - slow as it is - will provide some real opportunities for those paying attention. I may be a newbie to this town, but I understand small business pretty well. 25 years ago I started a newsstand/bookstore in downtown Pasadena. The place was filled with homeless folk, the buildings were underutilized and dingy-looking, and every other storefront was a pawn shop. The city leaders got together with the local business leaders and other civic orgs and made a plan. The neighborhood gentrified to the point that I couldn't afford the rent. Sad for me, but today Old Town Pasadena shines with its shopping/dining/pedestrian eye-candy offerings. Sorry to go on and on - I have been trolling the internet trying to find the local scoop and stumbled on this site. Stay plugged in and perhaps we'll bump into each other at the next City Council meeting! Robin BG
Watzon McWats July 13, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Welcome to town Robin. We need more business minded folks like you around. :-) Re: The discount store: I am %100 opposed to this idea for many of the same reasons others outlines above. Why does Watsonville want to be the city of dollar stores and cheap clothing? WHY!? I don't understand it whatsoever. We have these great historic buildings, we're 10 minutes from the coast, and 10 minutes from the mountains. There's no reason that this town isn't happenin'. I'm starting to question myself and wonder if it's the City Council, or the people of Watsonville as a whole that make it this way. More and more I have a feeling that your average patch commenter and facebook user isn't your average Watsonvillian. Glad to see that this is going back up for review. I hope we get a good heads up so that many of us can attend that meeting.
Watzon McWats July 13, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Amount of theft that occurs in town? Our rate of theft per capita is half that of Santa Cruz, and one third that of Capitola, both being large centers of commerce in our county. I encourage you to judge our town by the facts, not the reputation it gained thirty years ago.


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