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Harvest Market FermÉ
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

 

Photo illustration Art Olson

 

Harvest Ranch, the only market in town and a key to voters approving the Del Mar Plaza development in 1986, closed on December 31. The move took everyone by surprise. Just last summer Kelly Maher, leasing representative for the Plaza, assured the Sandpiper that the Market had signed a new five year lease. There was a sigh of relief. Although the 25-year requirement to keep a market at the Plaza was running out, the Plaza would continue to have a grocery store, keeping up at least the appearance of resident-serving businesses in the Plaza as promised.

Sure, Harvest Ranch was not a very successful grocery store. Last July Sandpiper Editor Sam Borgese wrote that the Market “has deteriorated into mostly a wine store with an ever-diminishing selection of other grocery items and necessities.” But, he said, “the new lease provided a good time to start thinking ahead so the demise does not have to become reality, and residents should insist that an effort is made by the Plaza ownership to continue the food market for another 25 years.”

So now what? Del Mar Village Association President Matthew Bergman, an owner of Folio Design in the Plaza, said DMVA was “very sad” the market was leaving. He said members are discussing how they can help recruit tenants that will draw more local residents and more foot traffic to the Plaza. Former Del Mar Mayor Richard Earnest who is heading up that organization’s Economic Improvement Committee said they are looking at three issues: what are the Plaza’s plans; what food markets need to succeed financially and what the community wants. He asked that we solicit feedback from our readers.

In his article Borgese said: “Certainly a remerchandising plan that incorporates a broadly priced wine selection with related accessories… or a cooking school with a moderate selection of kitchen accessories would be welcome additions. A selection of artisan foods and products from sustainable farms, pastry and bread baked on the premise would be a fitting compliment to such products.” He also suggested that residents could form a Del Mar Co-op: “Think Trader Joe’s with a Del Mar twist.” Earnest said he was going to talk with Seaside Market in Cardiff.
Let DMVA know what kind of business(es) you would like to see and, just as important, support at the Plaza. We will publish suggestions on our website. Submit to editor@delmarsandpiper.org.

Note: At the beginning of January the Sandpiper contacted the Plaza Management to ask what plans were on the horizon concerning the use of the space. The Vice-President of MadisonMarquette Management Services, Michael Hull, replied on January 22. Both letters may be viewed on page 5.

 

 

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