Group to Alfalfa’s Market: Come to Louisville
Alfalfa’s certainly is aware of the site in Louisville after receiving about 150 letters from residents there, said Mark Retzloff, president and co-founder of Alfalfa’s Market. Alfalfa’s plans to have a second store open somewhere along the Front Range by late 2013, Retzloff said Monday, July 2.
“If you have a group advocating for you to be in there, you want to encourage that, because they’ll be shoppers, but that is as far as we have gone,” Retzloff said. “We do have expansion plans.”
Aquiles La Grave, a member of the Louisville Historic Preservation Commission, said he has spent about $4,000 so far on the petition drive, including mailings and ads. Online, the petition has received about 200 signatures, according to the website change.org.
“My overarching goal is to show what a group of individuals can achieve in terms of attracting businesses to their community,” La Grave said. “The city and city development officer can only do so much.”
La Grave said he is part of the community group that opposed a plan from local developer Jim Loftus to build a complex of 160 apartments and 9,500 square feet of retail store space on the 5.1-acre property. Louisville City Council members turned down that plan on June 5.
Aaron DeJong, Louisville’s economic-development director, said the city is aware of the petition. DeJong has said the city is actively looking for a new tenant for the 55,000-square-foot space, which is owned by Safeway Stores 45 Inc. The property, including the building, is assessed at $1.98 million by the Boulder County Assessor’s office.
The original Alfalfa’s started in 1983 and grew to 11 stores before owners sold the chain to Wild Oats stores in 1996. The Wild Oats chain was bought by Whole Foods Market Inc. (Nasdaq: WFMI) in a $565 million stock purchase in 2007. At that time, the Federal Trade Commission required the Austin, Texas-based grocery store owner to sell dozens of locations.
In 2010, A-M Holdings LLC, which included Retzloff and colleague Barney Fineblum, another original Alfalfa’s store founder, bought the 1651 Broadway, Boulder, store back. It was closed for nine months for remodeling before reopening in April 2011.
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