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Occupy Aptos? Many Angry About Proposed New Safeway Complex

More than 300 people showed up for the first public meeting on the new Safeway project Wednesday night, and many of them were angry.

More than 300 people showed up to hear Safeway representatives talk about the plan for a revamped two-story grocery store that would double the current 31,000 square feet, a nine-pump gas station and new shops in the Aptos Rancho del Mar Shopping Center.

However many in the audience said they chose to live in Aptos because it wasn't modern and cookie cutter sterile. They said they feared the new center would bring in chain stores and would look like the newest Santa Cruz Safeway on Mission Street.

At times the meeting, which was held in the empty store that used to house the video rental store Video USA, grew as cantankerous and rude as an Occupy Santa Cruz session at City Hall. The the biggest concerns included the loss of the local, family-owned businesses that now populate the outdoor plaza. Others worried about more traffic along Soquel Drive, as it tails out at its southern-most point.

The Safeway representatives said that the twin movie theater would be gone, but they weren't sure about much else.

Aptos has other plans for a new downtown that had people worried about the construction and chaos of two new projects. The County Board of Supervisors will have final approval over both plans.

The Safeway at Rancho del Mar was built in 1960 and with the one on Morrissey, is one of two older Safeways in the area. The stores at 41st Avenue and Mission Street have been remodeled.

Safeway bought the entire shopping center several months ago and has offered some tenants leases of six months to a year and others are on month to month.

The project could take as long as three years to complete, once it is approved.

Many store owners feared that the two years or more they might have to wait during construction would put them out of business.

 

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David H. Perez June 22, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Hey Aptos residents! As a former Aptos resident myself (and I still frequent Aptos), I feel your pain. Just IMHO, whatever that's worth - Safeway, like any other big corporation, does not care about you as Aptos residents, your community nor your small businesses. They only care about hogging up every last dollar they can from your community. They do not care about destroying your lives and livelihoods, nor destroying the charm and the quality of life that Aptos residents have always enjoyed and shared. They present no apparent moral or ethical dilemma in putting your mom and dad out on the street after running a successful small business for decades. In fact, I wonder if they would even try to bulldoze your house with your family inside if it would increase their profits. If you can't block this monstrosity from successfully imposing itself upon your community, your biggest defense is to hit them where it counts - right in the old profit margin. Refuse to shop there, and lead a campaign to convince others to boycott their store, and to take their business to places like Deluxe Foods who base their business on quality, ethics and professionalism.
Tommy G. June 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
The POWER of the PURSE is the NON-Violent WEAPON of the PEOPLE... We do have a CHOICE... Thanx DAVID
DaveP June 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Well, im a small biz owner in Aptos, I am not in the Safeway center, but I feel like this could change Aptos forever, but dont forget, this Safeway is one of the busiest safeways ever, busy places tend to expand. We made it busy.
John Phoenix July 08, 2012 at 07:16 PM
"The Safeway representatives said that the twin movie theater would be gone, but they weren't sure about much else." When James Fenton sold the center to Safeway, you can bet the store that the Safeway representatives knew exactly what else is going to happen! This is not about the Aptos citizens and their needs and wants. It is all about Corporate Safeway, and big money. Take a picture of Aptos now, it will last longer.
Bob H September 09, 2012 at 02:07 PM
There is some lemonade to be made here. One for me is a learning app. I used to buy the gas and shop the convenience. Who knew Chevron could be an underdog? Now Nob Hill and other big food stores could gain market share (I know-Raleys) Safeway is only trying to capitalize on the current popularity of their offerings. So they will have nine pumps in their new plan because we have voted with our wallets to buy their discounted gas, for example. Yup. We created the situation that is closing the theatre, restaurants we like,and a place to get arcane and hard to find hardware etc. What was once an anchor for the Rancho Del Mar Shopping center has become its owner.. It makes it more important to rediscover farmers markets, smaller grocery stores, and other business in Aptos not subject to the Safeway "vortex" effect. We all have decision making power on this situation. Personally, I hope I will choose more wisely in the future. Hey, Nick owners, you showed some great movies, sorry to see you go. You wll be missed. Oh, and Safeway managers, if you read this -try to buy more heirloom tomatoes from small local farms. They taste better.

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