CAPITOLA — The shelves are clearing fast at the Lucky supermarket in Capitola, but not for the usual reasons.
The store at 1475 41st Ave., the only Lucky in Santa Cruz County, is scheduled to permanently close its doors when the clock strikes 5 p.m. Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Save Mart Cos., which owns the Lucky brand, told the Sentinel the closure comes “as a result of the landlord not renewing the lease.”
“All associates at the Capitola store will continue with The Save Mart Companies at other store locations,” wrote Lucky in a statement. “Lucky has been operating at the location since the late 1970s. We remain committed to the community and are actively exploring other locations.”
New Leaf Community Markets, which has been operating in Capitola since 1993 and hosts its current operation a few blocks down the road at 1210 41st Ave., plans to move into the Lucky building next year.
“We look forward to starting construction on our new Capitola store in just a few months and anticipate opening the store in the late summer or early fall of 2024,” wrote New Leaf Marketing Director Kate Halper in an email to the Sentinel.
According to Halper, New Leaf’s current Capitola home is 14,000 square feet while the new location is 24,000 square feet.
The Sentinel responded to Halper asking if New Leaf will offer positions to the staff currently at Lucky but did not receive a response before its print deadline.
“A bigger store will enable us to serve more customers, create new jobs in the community, give more donations to neighborhood nonprofits, and allow for the development and growth of our current Capitola staff as they continue in their roles at the new location,” New Leaf Brand Manager Lindsay Gizdich told the Sentinel earlier this month.
New Leaf, which first opened its doors on the Westside of Santa Cruz in 1985 now has five locations in Santa Cruz County but sold to the Portland-based grocery powerhouse New Seasons Market in 2013.
Meanwhile, a handful of shoppers perused the silent aisles of the soon defunct Lucky store Tuesday, picking out straggling items peppered onto the empty shelves and looking to fill their bags one last time.
“It’s definitely an affordable option,” said Courtney Black, 25, who temporarily moved to Capitola this summer and plans to stay another few months before moving to a new state. “The people I know that are locals here definitely are a little upset because it is an affordable grocery store option. So, yeah, I can see how if I lived here full time it would be a little more alarming.”
Sherry Ascher, another Capitola resident and consistent shopper at Lucky said the closure won’t impact her shopping habits too dramatically.
“I guess I’ll go to Safeway when I need this kind of stuff,” said Ascher as she inspected the ingredients on a chocolate pudding mix. Ascher splits her time between New Leaf, Whole Foods and now plans to rely more on Safeway for some items. “This just happens to be convenient.”
Save Mart owns about 69 Lucky locations in and around the San Francisco Bay Area and serves about 200 communities in California and Nevada, according to its website. It purchased a 128-store chain in Northern California in 2007 and rebranded them to Lucky.
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