Sources say the Palace Food Depot in Tulare will be replaced by a Southern California chain expanding into the South Valley.
Written by John Lindt
Locally owned Palace Food Depot in Tulare will close its doors in October, according to a notice filed with the state that it will lay off 68 employees.
The full-service supermarket, an affiliate of the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA), is one of the few grocers on the western edge of Tulare. Most of the community’s full- service supermarkets are east of Highway 99 in the city’s northeast quadrant.
Sources say independent market chain Superior Grocers of Southern California will open there shortly after Palace closes its doors. Superior Grocers opened its first store in Covina, California, in 1981. Since then, Superior has grown to more than 69 stores throughout Southern California.
“We have prospered in neighborhoods where others failed because of our commitment to, and investment in, the communities we serve,” according to the chain’s website.
The closest location is in Bakersfield. Tulare would be the store’s furthest venture north.
Superior Grocers revealed plans for expansion about a month ago, announcing in July that it had acquired Numero Uno, an independent chain of 22 Hispanic retail grocery stores in Southern California.
Steve Gong, one of the owners of the Palace, confirmed a company would open in the building after Palace closes, but couldn’t confirm the buyer’s name. He added most of the employees will be rehired. Gong will continue to manage the strip shopping center at 115 S. West St. and says business is good “with no vacancies.”
Gong complains that Tulare has not permitted even one fast food restaurant west of the city’s railroad tracks and suggests developers are missing the boat since there are “lots of people” in the area.
“I have to travel more than a mile to buy a hamburger,” Gong said.
There are several large, new subdivisions breaking ground on the city’s west side that in the past has been seen as the less affluent side of town. A similar transformation has happened on Visalia’s north side.
Beside this news, the vacant R&N Market that had been shut down at 1043 E. Bardsley Ave. for some time may come back to life. Owner Wayne Chun said a new tenant will occupy the RN building but would not confirm who that user might be.