Raley's to close Hartnell Avenue store in Redding


REDDING, Calif. - After 30 years of business the Raley's store on Hartnell Avenue in Redding will close in April.

Although Raley's will keep their location on Lake Boulevard open, longtime customers at the Hartnell store on Saturday were not happy about the news.

"I think it's a shame," says Charlie Nelson, a 24 year customer of the store. "I think they service the community. There's a lot of nice people in here I've known for many many years and I adore coming in and talking to them about the giants and this and that."

Nathan Fairchild, a customer of 12 years, felt the same way.

"It's horrible. It's horrible," Fairchild says. "I know people in there, I know their names. I chat with them. I've been doing it for 12 years."

Fairchild, who was at the store Saturday with his 90-year-old mother and young daughters, says he and his wife were so upset when they heard the news, they decided to take action.

"We have a petition on to try to keep the store open," he says. "I don't know if that will help or not but you just feel like you want to do something. Make some noise at least, not just sit back and totally take it."

Raley's representatives said in an email the move to close "was not an easy decision, but is the right decision for thecompany."

They also said the decision was financially based.

"In order to bring this store up to date with the type of atmosphere and experience we want to provide to our customers, it would require an investment that is too costly based on current sales," the email reads. "Over the years, we've felt the results of a heavily impacted local economy and an increase in the number of new competitors.These factors have led to a decreasing customer base and decreased sales in this store.Sales in this store, and our forecast for the future, do not support such an investment."

Raley's hopes to draw existing customers to its Lake Boulevard location once the Hartnell Avenue location closes on April 26. The original store reportedly opened April 23, 1984.

Customer Charlie Nelson said he'd probably make the drive but didn't think it should be necessary.

"If I had to," he says. "It's a little out of my way though. I mean, I think this services a good portion of Redding right here in the middle of town."

Fairchild isn't certain his family will want to.

"I haven't decided yet," he says. "I used to shop at Lake Boulevard and I liked it, I enjoyed the store. So we need to think about some things there."

Fairchild also suggested there may be more to why the store closed.

Store employees, who did not want to be identified, said the supermarket seems to be getting more business these days.

They suggest an issue with a new decades-long lease proposed by the building's owner may have played a roll in the decision to close.

But there is one more thing that's raising hackles, the store on Lake Boulevard is not union run, which means its employees have less concessions and are cheaper to employ.

Whatever the reason, customers like Fairchild will miss the old familiar faces come April.

"Our family is devastated," he says. "These are our friends, this is our community."