Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Attention Ralphs Customers: Where will you shop after the Silver Lake market closes?

Silver Lake Ralphs Closing

SILVER LAKE — For more than 30 years, Silver Lake resident Mike Aceto has regularly shopped at Ralphs supermarket. The Glendale Boulevard store’s convenient location, competitive prices and friendly staff were some of the reasons why Aceto kept returning. “It’s close to home, I can ride my bike here,” Aceto said with a bagful of recently purchased groceries in his hand.

Aceto’s longtime loyalty to the supermarket chain forever changes on Sunday, March 15, when Ralphs officially closes the doors of the Silver Lake store, which will be replaced by a Whole Foods market. Where will Aceto and other Ralphs customers go to shop for groceries?

“Other places are further away. I’ll probably shop at Albertson’s on Hillhurst,” Aceto said. “I can’t afford Whole Foods,” he added regarding the Whole Foods Market that will move into the space after its renovated and expanded.

Maria, an Atwater Village resident and longtime customer, would come to the store on a weekly basis to shop for her family. “I guess I will shop at Vons or Super King,” Maria said as she searched for fish fillets in the frozen section with her daughter. “I really don’t know where I will shop. I’m sad to see it go. I don’t like the idea that they are leaving but they have to do it,” said Maria, who withheld her last name.

Charlie Sarroff, a camera operator from Silver Lake, shopped at Ralphs for staple items such as eggs and milk and specific items, such as wild-caught salmon. “Ralphs covered all basis,” Sarroff said. “I will shop at Vons or Gelson’s, which is farther away from me. Gelson’s is more expensive. I’ll shop at Whole Foods for specialty items.”

Bella Tolentino, a Silver Lake resident, shopped every other day for her family at Ralphs on Glendale Boulevard for more than 30 years. The convenient location, parking, competitive prices and cat food are what she will miss.

“I am very disappointed to see it go. I can’t leave this place. That’s why I am still here,” Tolentino she said while scanning for coffee creamer. Although other supermarkets are closer to her home, Tolentino’s loyalty to Ralphs shows through her willingness to drive to the Ralphs on 3rd Street and Vermont Avenue from Silver Lake for future grocery shopping.

For some Ralphs customers, saying good-bye in not an option. “I’ll stick with Ralphs,” Tolentino said.

Cecilia Padilla Brill is a communications writer and journalist. She writes news, health, education and feature stories. Cecilia is currently working on her first novel. She has lived in Echo Park since 1999.

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  1. They shopped at the Ralphs on Glendale Blvd. for 30 years? Seriously??? Everyone needs to check their facts (or their memories). It hasn’t been around that long. It was a Hughes Market before it was a Ralphs. The merger happened in ’97 and the store converted sometime after that.

    • Bah! Those pesky facts would just ruin the tone of this article. We’re supposed to lament the fact that these people can no longer shop at the same Ralphs where their great-grandparents used to buy groceries.

    • Thank You!!! I love it when people who have moved here recently think they know the history of the neighborhood we grew up in !
      Dont forget Rainbow Records

    • And before Hughes, it was a Market Basket. In addition, it’s always been a stepchild Ralph’s, though the staff has always been lovely.

      The really sad part is how many small businesses have been driven out of that shopping area: Round Table, Baskin Robbins… Places I always took the kids.

      • friendly tuxedo cat

        I wouldn’t describe them as small businesses as much as local franchises from large international chains that haven’t done a great job of keeping up with the times. Independent of the fate of Silver Lake strip malls, both parent companies have either filed for Chap. 11 (Round Table) or been taken over by private equity firms on the cheap (Baskin Robbins = Bain Capital). However, there are more local and independently financed pizza and ice cream shops in our area than ever.

        • True, they were local franchises but, being local, they had a neighborhood feel. Back in the day there was even a florist there, and, of course, Rockaway Records.

          • friendly tuxedo cat

            I’m still grateful that we ended up with a beautiful new public library instead of a smelly, nasty Burger King.

      • Eleanor Do you remember the name of the market on the property that is now Citi Bank, previously Union Federal Savings?

        • I think it was a Beech’s (or something close), or maybe I’m thinking of the market that used to be on Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village, across from the Starbucks.

          • Yes, Beech’s was in Atwater on Glendale blvd. I grew up on Madera Ave so I shopped there constantly as a kid.

  2. Seriously…it was just a Ralph’s, and probably the dingiest, most run-down Ralph’s anywhere in town. There are plenty of other grocery stores within a mile or two. Did we really need a second article about this in three days, and one that reads like a sad obituary, no less? Someone grab a violin.

    Surely, there must be something more important about which to write?

    • I’m with you on that sentiment. Getting tired of the eastsider’s blatant anti-gentrification message.

      • I’m thirding this. Can’t believe people are getting all weepy over a friggin Ralph’s, and a dirty rundown one at that.
        If they loved their customers/community so much, they would have maybe considered dusting off the cans and boxes occasionally and not letting the produce and meat ferment into a science project. Or spend some money upgrading the place like other Ralph’s have done.

        • I’m fourthing that.

          Imagine if there was never a Ralph’s there, and it was announced that one would be built. The story would then be about how Silver Lake should be immune from corporate monoliths like Ralphs. These eastsider people (at least the ones living west of the L.A. River…) seem to bellyache, lament, protest, criticize, or complain about every single change that occurs in 90026. They seem to have too much time on their hands, you know, being the artists that they are…

          Since these people like to appear so edgy, maybe they should discover Maywood, and move there.

      • Yah well, gentrification articles on neighborhood blogs create the most chatter. And the comments section is the entertainment draw just like on Curbed. How else is eastsider going to sell their site for a couple mill if they don’t produce a crapload of heated comments?

  3. As someone who lives in the neighborhood, most of my neighbors are excited to get a Gelson’s for the sake of their property values. Very few have said they will shop there. More people shopped at Ralphs than you think.

    • I’d really like a Gelson’s too, but unfortunately it’s going to be a Whole Foods. The only reason I’ll occasionally go to WFs is for their breakfast pastry! Delicious.

  4. I agree, that Ralph’s was an appetite killer, good that it’s being replaced by a nicer store. Maybe the next to go will be the Ralph’s on the corner of Colorado and Verdugo, which is pretty awful.

  5. That corporate monolith, Ralph’s, has a union contract — it pays its employees union wages and gives them union benefits. Whole Foods, the darling of the urban gentry, is non-union and owned by a right-wing zealot who opposes progressive causes every chance he gets. Not that either of these things have anything to do with which store is better, but just thought I’d get that out in the open.

    I was a regular Ralph’s shopper, even though the store was sub-par (if I was near a better supermarket during my travels, I would always go elsewhere, such as the Albertsons, the Vons in Glendale, etc; and yes, Ralph’s should have upgraded and expanded years ago, but there could be reasons they never did, such as an uncooperative landlord). But the fact is that its departure leaves the small Vons in Echo Park as the neighborhood’s only mid-priced full service market with union employees.

    Having only a WF and a Gelson’s (which BTW, is also union) is fine — both are nice stores — if you can afford them. They are for the affluent, not the remnant of middle and working-class families that are left in almost totally gentrified Silver Lake. It’s important for a diverse community (not just ethnically diverse but economically diverse, too) to have choices for all its residents. We no longer do.

    Gentrification is a double-edged sword. It makes communities nicer and more liveable, and provides long-time homeowners like me with a very nice retirement plan (my house is worth over four times what I paid for it). But it also displaces middle and working class families and prices out mid-range businesses, both large like Ralphs and small, like a barber shop. The most ideal communities have a balance of the upscale and the hoi poloi, but in America today, those communities usually have short lifespans as they transition.

    However, the reality is that for every Silver Lake and Echo Park (soon to be followed by Eagle Rock and Highland Pk), there are a dozen poor urban communities that stay poor, like South LA and some parts of east Hollywood. But everybody needs good shopping if they want to eat healthy.

    BTW, the person who said “move to Maywood.” You just showed your true self-absorbed, rude and socially irresponsible colors. What an A-H!

    • For many years, Whole Foods has been voted as one of the top 100 employers to work for. I’ve been to approximately 10 WF stores, and the employees generally appear friendly and happy. WFs, Trader Joes and StarBucks highlight the fact that one doesn’t need a union to treat employees fairly.

      Regarding options for working class families, there’s Superking on San Fernadno 1.5 miles away. I shop there for a great selection of produce, among other things.

      • ah yes. Whole Foods. “Beyond unions”

        Yes, oh yes. We need more resolutely anti-Union workplaces. That’ll help all the inequality.

        No problem. We can just head on down to the bigots at Lassens…

      • I LOVE Super King!! I was just there a few mins. ago = beefsteak tomatoes 2 lbs for $1 is just one example of the bargains today

    • Mr. Kitsch, those poor urban communities are indeed that and remain that way because they have not been gentrified. Maywood, for example.

      As far as your accusation that I am self-absorbed, that is plain wrong. I have lived in L.A. all my life. I have NEVER seen a community as self-absorbed as the Silver Lake folks. Don’t tell me you have not witnessed people simply renting a room there, having come from another town, and thinking that they have taken on some type of special status. It’s really silly, like a kid in high school who has been allowed to join the most popular clique on campus.

      On this board I have read Silver Lake residents calling people who visit from the Valley “tourists.” The point is that anyone can move to Silver Lake. Anyone can take on a look, Anyone can scar their bodies with tattoos and ridicule those who don’t fit the mold of druggie/artist/biker/rocker type. And I am happy to see professional types who haven’t spent their lives doing next to nothing moving there and yes, breeding. The people who are yelling at this change can, yes, move to Maywood, or, how about a compromise, the true eastside? East of the river. There they can sit around and remind each other how cool they all are. At least the rest of us won’t have to endure those types. Gentrification will happen. People will have to adapt as they always do, and move to a town better suited for them.

      Whole Foods executive John Mackay is no right wing zealot. Being anti-union does not make anyone automatically a right wing zealot. He has advocated for organic foods, the environment, and even animal rights. He classifies himself a free market libertarian. Diversity, Mr. Kitsch, is not just about racial diversity. It also means tolerating diversity of thought without hurling accusations at people who don’t fit your mold of who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are.

  6. Depending on what area I am at the time, I go to Ralphs on either Glendale Ave. in Glendale (underground — lots and lots of parking), Stocker Avenue in Glendale or Third and Vermont. All of them are very nice stores.

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