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Large Sign At Palo Alto Supermarket Draws Complaints

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A 26-foot high marquis has been installed outside the Grocery Outlet on Alma Street in Palo Alto. (CBS)

A 26-foot high marquis has been installed outside the Grocery Outlet on Alma Street in Palo Alto. (CBS)

Len-Ramirez_BIO-HEAD Len Ramirez
San Jose native Len Ramirez has been a news reporter for KPIX 5...
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PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A supermarket that is expected to open in Palo Alto’s Alma Village next month is already drawing complaints over a large marquee that recently went up. The business owner said the sign is crucial for the grocery store’s survival.

On first glance, the sign for the Grocery Outlet on Alma Street isn’t that big. “The size? It’s narrow enough,” said Palo Alto resident Kevin Kinsella.

After getting a better look, Kinsella told KPIX 5 the 26 foot high marquee, which will soon be electrified, has got to go.

“It’s way too big. I would make it a little bit smaller and maybe change the colors so it blends in more with the neighborhood,” Kinsella said.

Work crews have been busy getting the store ready for customers, but it’s the sign that has created the most buzz.

The sign is bigger than is usually allowed, dwarfing the sign for the nearby Starbucks many times over.

But it’s not as big as it could be. The City Council gave the green light to signs as large as 102 square feet for this site, which is on Alma Street near the train tracks. The sign is 91 square feet.

Grocery Outlet said that big branding is especially important for this location because there have been three other grocery stores that have failed, including a Lucky and an Albertsons. With all the work going in here, Grocery Outlet does not want to be the fourth.

A company spokesperson told KPIX 5 the sign was modified several times during a six-month review process that included public meetings.

“The size of the sign, we believe, is going to be important for the success of that store,” said Grocery Outlet spokesperson Melissa Porter.

Don Lawrence, who lives within walking distance of the store, said the complaints are overblown. “That’s the world we live in today. It’s not like the old days. Where I came from in Ohio, a small town, we had to have signs to do business to make money to feed our families. I guess today is different.”

While residents are split over the size of the sign, many in the area agree a discount supermarket is needed to serve the lower-income people who live in the area.

Grocery Outlet is set to open its Palo Alto location on Saturday April 5th.

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