Due to incorrect information provided by the source, a story about a supermarket opening in East Oakland included incorrect names for the owner and developers of the shopping center where the supermarket is located. The owner is Alec Merriam and the developers are John Jay and Hugh Phares of the Jay-Phares Corp.
OAKLAND -- After nearly a decade of trekking to San Leandro for groceries, residents of one East Oakland neighborhood pulled out all the stops Wednesday to welcome a new supermarket to town.
A band played, workers chanted company slogans, politicians cut ribbons -- and finally shoppers started wheeling carts through the cavernous 80,000-square-foot Foods Co supermarket.
"We fought for this for so long," nearby resident Beatrice Bell said. "We're tired of going to San Leandro and Hayward to shop."
The market eradicates one of city's biggest food deserts and anchors the rapidly redeveloping Foothill Square shopping center at MacArthur Boulevard and 108th street near the San Leandro border.
The 14-acre plaza housed high-end shops for decades, but was nearly abandoned when Albertsons closed its doors 10 years ago. Its $30 million renovation, which is being spurred by owner Alec Merriam and developers John Jay and Hugh Phares, includes a Ross Dress for Less, Anna's Linens and Wells Fargo Bank.
Foods Co, a subsidiary of retailing giant The Kroger Co., will employ 175 people, many of whom grew up near the shopping center.
"This is about giving these young people out here a sense of hope that they too can grow with this incredible organization and provide for their families," said Councilman Larry Reid, who represents the neighborhood.
The store is Foods Co's first entry in Oakland and sixth in the Bay Area. The company has considered locations in West Oakland, which also is desperate for a major supermarket, but hasn't find a large enough space, Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney said.
The store is about double the size of a standard supermarket and has a full service bakery, deli and meat and seafood departments.
"We believe we have everything the residents of this community could possibly want," Foods Co Area Manager Rich Tovatt said.
Mayor Jean Quan said the store and shopping center should help stop the flow of sales tax dollars out of city and perhaps even reverse it.
"Maybe we will lure a few people from San Leandro to shop here," she said.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435