Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gottschalk's Closes Blackhawk Plaza Location

Funny how this place always slips my mind.
August 26 was the last day for Gottschalks at Blackhawk Plaza in Danville. A news story I read made it seem like they closed it because it was underperforming (Gottschalks isn't doing so well this quarter). However, when Draegers supermarket was announced mid-year, it was apparent that Blackhawk Plaza was forcing Gottschalks out. So, what is the truth? The new owners are mum to the question.

Nevertheless, it leaves the beleaguered Blackhawk Plaza (I love that word, beleaguered) with another failure in the department store arena. But hey, they will be getting an upscale supermarket (again!). Some people in the tony area have been quoted as saying they didn't need or want another upscale market. And by god, there is Safeway across the street, which ultimately forced out the original upscale market at The Plaza, Blackhawk Market (remember cell-phones on gold-plated shopping carts?).

An exclusive overheard conversation with one of the Draegers was quoted as defensively saying in response to a "does the area need another upscale market?" question, "Gottschalks should never have been there to begin with." As in, the area is hoity toity and so should the stores in Blackhawk Plaza. Last I checked, Gottschalks sold Ralph Lauren and Waterford crystal. Anyway, the future should tell.


Georob said...

Though the Gottschalks space was originally the grocery store with the gold shopping carts(I think FJ's was the name) It later was the short lived Blackhawk Saks. And as you say, it lasted less than a year.

Therefore, I'm guessing that Blackhawk gave Gottschalks a pretty reasonable lease to step into a space that needed no renovation. Any other tenant(s) would have required spending more to gut the interior.

Since the space was too small for any other department store, Gottschalks saw an opportunity to "test the waters" in an upscale suburban locale. And while I'm usually leery of the phrase "lost their lease" the truth is that the contract was probably up and both sides parted amically. Trust me, if Gottschalks had been doing booming business at Blackhawk, they'd either be staying or expanding.

Gottschalks really blew a chance to enter the Bay Area after Federated closed all those Emporium stores after buying Macys. In fact, after the El Cerrito Plaza store closed in '96, some local residents mounted a campaign to get Gottschalks in there. It was so compelling that Gottschalks actually gave it serious consideration before passing.

I've read that Gottschalks position is that the Bay Area is too competetive and that it would cost too much to advertise there. They'd rather stay with places like Fresno and Sacramento or exurbs like Antioch and Tracy. They're also likely to land a few old May Co stores in Southern California after Federated is through down there.

BIGMallrat said...

Come to think of it, I've only seen Gottschalks ads in the local Tri-Valley Herald newspaper.
Gottschalks feeling the Bay Area is too competitive is probably right. They have great sales (two for one, etc), but fewer designers, smaller selection, and smaller stores. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

From what I can tell, Gottschalks was a little out of their league in Blackhawk Plaza. Then again, nothing seems to survive in that space.

Anonymous said...

It is now early February, 2007. The Gottschalks tenant improvements were removed months ago. NO new construction has been started in the Draeger's site, and there is no sign of the thirty million dollars in Blackhawk Plaza improvements promised by Blackhawk CenterCal, LLC, the new Plaza owners. Is the Draeger's deal off? Are the promised Plaza improvements going to be completed? Believe me, the Plaza that now appears to be only thirty percent occupied will continue to loose tenants at an alarming rate without these promised improvements.