Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, May 14 2007

Food and beverage saturation seems oddly skewed in this area

Restaurant Hospitality's article on pleasing customers before bankers mentions Starbucks in particular as an example of the dangers of a brand name saturating the market. For some time there was only one Starbucks store in our area, in Watsonville. Then one opened in the shopping center at Freedom and Airport Boulevard in Freedom. The newer one has actually been very convenient for folks who live in the immediate area. But a brand new Safeway grocery store opened in this same shopping center a couple of weeks ago and there is also a Starbucks inside the Safeway store. They were very busy during the grand opening, but I do wonder if one shopping center can support two Starbucks stores. Only one store is visible from the street, so maybe that one handles most of the drop-in business, while the one inside the Safeway might be more of an attraction to shoppers who want to sip while they shop for groceries.

There's also a Jamba Juice counter inside the new Safeway store. The number of their stores seems to be increasing in this area, though they haven't flooded the market yet. They do produce tasty fruit smoothies which are relatively low in fat, though the store's 16-ounce Chocolate Moo'd carries 480 calories and 6 grams of fat. Most of the concoctions are much lighter. The 16-ounce Mega Mango has 220 calories and only half a gram of fat.

What we're definitely saturated with in this area are Mexican food establishments, from tiny mom-and-pop taco stands to full-service restaurants with sports bars, strolling mariachi musicians and weekend karaoke. It would be great to have a few more local choices for pastas or even some Pacific Rim fusion creations. I love to go out for Mexican food, but I do like a change now and then. I often hear local residents wish for a little more saturation from Olive Garden or Even IN-N-OUT Burger. As far as I know, neither or those companies has yet seen fit to put a restaurant anywhere in Santa Cruz County. The closest Marie Callender's restaurant is in this county, but is in Capitola, which is several miles away through heavy traffic. Watsonville once had an Arby's restaurant, but it closed many years ago, before we ever moved here. The building still has the hat-shaped sign out in front, but the only kind of food you can get there now is— you guessed it—Mexican.

posted at: 10:47 | category: /Food | link to this entry

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