SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — After a years-long battle with Raley’s, residents of a south San Jose neighborhood are finally getting a new grocery store.
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Grocery Outlet is slated to open at 7076 Santa Teresa Boulevard in late September or early October at the site of the defunct Nob Hill that closed in 2015.
“About this process, what I’ve learned is that it’s messy,” San Jose District 2 Councilmember Sergio Jimenez said with a laugh.
In 2015, amidst waning sales, Nob Hill’s parent company Raley’s closed the store with no public plans for reopening, despite the lease lasting until 2021. By 2017, the site had fallen into neglect and disrepair and became a magnet for loitering, graffiti, and “hundreds” of rodents, which infested nearby businesses.
The property owner, ROIC Inc., accused Raley’s of keeping the site vacant to stifle competition.READ MORE: CDC Approves Wide Range of Options for COVID Boosters
Neighborhood activist and longtime resident Issa Ajlouny started a boycott, racheting up the pressure on social media with a Change.org petition that garnered more than 500 signatures demanding Raley’s give up the lease. Ajlouny also said he teamed up with councilmember Jimenez to play “good cop, bad cop.”
“That started the pressure. And Sergio did his thing, behind the scenes Mr. Nice Guy, I was the bad guy. And that’s OK, we need to be a bad guy sometimes to get things done in this neighborhood,” said Ajlouny.
“Letting the businesses know that we were very much interested in holding them accountable. But we wanted them to be successful at the same time. So I think that’s really the secret sauce, bringing folks together. That’s what we’ve attempted to do here and it’s worked,” said Jimenez.
By the fall of 2018, Raley’s agreed to a deal sell the remainder of the lease to Grocery Outlet.
ROIC CEO Stuart Tanz told KPIX it was “good news” when Raley’s was “finally convinced to move forward and resolve the issue.”MORE NEWS: Climate Change Disrupting Natural Cycles at Drier Lake Tahoe
Raley’s spokesperson Chelsea Minor said in an email, “Given that we have not had the lease for over 9 months, I do not have a comment.”