Valley Food, at the corner of Van Ness and Divisadero, will have a hot and cold deli, fresh produce and household items when it is slated to open toward the end of June. Photo by Edward Smith

published on May 4, 2018 - 3:19 PM
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A new grocery store will be coming to the historic Lowell neighborhood in Downtown Fresno.

Valley Food will open toward the end of June at the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Divisadero Street, according to Mansoor Abdulla, president of Alatri, LLC.

The 7,500 square foot building will offer both a hot and cold deli with fresh meats, produce, boxed foods as well as household items. Abdulla expects about three cash registers and a customer service counter and between 12-15 people working there to start. Abdulla expects store hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

The building the grocery store now occupies had long been vacant. According to Steve Skibbie, a resident of the neighborhood for 20 years and a founding member of the Lowell Neighborhood Association, it had been mostly unused since he’d been around.

Abdulla said he had been trying to purchase it since 2011, and when he did purchase it he was expecting a 2017 opening, but issues with the city and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. delayed the opening.

“PG&E was holding me up for almost nine months,” Abdulla said.

The building had to be completely gutted and he had to install all of the fixtures to turn it into something that would make sense as a grocery store.

“There was nothing there that had to do with grocery stores,” Abdulla said.

Abdulla worked with the Lowell Neighborhood Association in finding out what the area needed. This will be the first grocery store of its size to go into the area. Skibbie is excited about a grocery store within walking distance.

“We look at walkable things in our neighborhood,” Skibbie said. A lot of the other grocery options in the area are overpriced for families in the neighborhood or just don’t offer the variety shoppers need, according to Skibbie.

“It’s great to have a grocery store that from what I understand will be a more full-service store,” said Skibbie.

Other grocery options do exist in the area, including the Grocery Outlet on Tulare Street, the FoodMaxx on Fresno Street and the recently opened Smart & Final on H Street.

For residents in downtown looking for a boutique-style grocery style amidst the downtown revitalization, many are looking forward to the opening.

“You want something—a neighborhood market—that they don’t have in other parts of Fresno,” said Skibbie. “Fresno has tons of strip malls and big-box stores but they don’t have a whole lot of neighborhood grocery stores.”

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