Biz Beat

Another major vacancy for Ceres as Latino grocery store on Hatch Road is closing

See the Rancho San Miguel supermarket closing in Ceres

The Rancho San Miguel supermarket on Hatch Road in Ceres, CA is closing. The Latino grocery store had been open since 2012 in the site, but poor sales forced it to shutter.
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The Rancho San Miguel supermarket on Hatch Road in Ceres, CA is closing. The Latino grocery store had been open since 2012 in the site, but poor sales forced it to shutter.

The Rancho San Miguel supermarket in Ceres is closing, leaving another large vacancy along the city’s Hatch Road shopping district.

The Latino grocery chain, which is owned by parent company Food4Less, opened on Hatch Road in 2012. It filled the former Raley’s supermarket, which closed in 2011 after a dozen years in the Ceres Marketplace shopping center location.

Chris Podesto, executive senior director of marketing for Food4Less and Rancho San Miguel, said the store was simply too large and was not making a profit.

“It was a tough decision, and it wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” he said. “The truth of the matter is the store was really too large for that market. But the good news is we have a great Food4Less location down the street.”

The Ceres store is 63,000 square feet, nearly double the size of other Rancho San Miguel markets, which typically run between 35,000 and 50,000 square feet. The grocery chain caters to Latino shoppers with a full-service panaderia (bakery) and carniceria (butcher shop).

Food4Less in Ceres, at the corner of East Hatch and Mitchell roads, less than 2 miles from the closing market, opened in 2005.

Rancho San Miguel’s 61 employees were notified Monday that the store would close within 60 days. Podesto said the company is working to get as many as possible transferred to the chain’s 20 other locations and warehouse. When the store opened seven years ago, hundreds lined up around the block for hours to take part in hiring fairs.

Podesto did not have a final closure date, but said it should not go past the Aug. 17 notice date it gave employees.

The supermarket’s departure leaves another large, empty box store along Hatch Road in Ceres’ prime shopping district. In January, the Kmart at Hatch and Herndon roads, one block from the Rancho San Miguel, closed as part of parent company Sears Holdings Corp.’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Tom Westbrook, the city’s director of community development, said it has been working toward filling the Kmart vacancy.

“(W)e are hopeful that the Kmart property will change hands quickly and a new tenant will be identified and operate in the near future,” Westbrook said. “Rancho San Miguel closure was a surprise, and at this point (we have) no idea on when or how that commercial space will be re-tenanted.”

The Hatch Road shopping district still has major retailers like Home Depot and Walmart. And the latter still has plans to build a long-awaited Walmart supercenter on the city’s southern edge at Service and Mitchell roads. Westbrook said the company was issued a building permit in January. But no groundbreaking date has been set yet. He expects work to begin sometime this year.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Two longtime Modesto businesses have new ownership and are offering new services.

The Computer Guys at 3321 McHenry Ave. was purchased at the start of the year by husband-and-wife team Ator and Anita Eliazadeh. They bought the shop from its original owners, who opened it in 2008. The shop offers service, repair and customization for desktops and laptops.

The Eliazadehs said they have expanded the store’s inventory and have a wider selection of laptops and cellphone accessories. They also plan to revamp the look of the store. For more, call 209-408-9041 or visit calicomputerguys.com.

Also, the My Mail Box at 1320 Standiford Ave. was purchased by Cheryl Lederle last November. The mail service and shipping store has been open in its north Modesto location since 1987.

Lederle has added computer rentals, shredding, laminating, business card services and more since taking over the site. For more, call 209-523-0272 or visit www.facebook.com/ModestoMyMailBox.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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