Friday, April 07, 2006

Chain stores in town - good or bad?

Is the addition of a Jersey Mike's, where a Chevrolet dealer and a Good Year store once stood, such a threat to Ojai? Are we trying to protect mom and pop stores or our image as a tourist town?


Blogger Kenley Neufeld said...

Talk about a leading question that could easily trick a reader. It is not like we are choosing between a "mom and pop" and "image".

I think we are trying to protect the mom and pop stores and protect our image as a tourist town. Keep in mind that over 50% of our city budget comes from tourism.

In fact, if Jersey Mike's were a "mom and pop store" I might be inclined to eat there. However, it is not a mom and pop store even though the owner lives in Ojai, he also owns at least two other Jersey Mike's locations (that I know of) and I would not consider a franchise, with national support, a "mom and pop store."

Let's encourage the owner to open a sub shop in that location without the support of a New Jersey company (where some of our money will go). Let's help make that happen...dump the franchise agreement and open a sub shop.

For me, this is not really about Jersey Mike's specifically, it is about maintaining local integrity and preventing Ojai from looking like so many other cities in the United States. Yes, we have some chains in town but for the most part they are not retail and food service.

As with Lisa, I would encourage all readers to head over to the Ojai Post and read all the comments posted there.

4/13/2006 6:50 PM  
Blogger Jeff Furchtenicht said...

This dubiously-phrased question looks back, when the space in question was occupied by a car dealer and a tire dealer, as if that means that a new national chain is perfectly fine for Ojai. It is a flawed premise. Once upon a time, perhaps a locally owned national franchise in Ojai wouldn't have been such a big deal. But once upon a time, not so many years ago, Ojai wasn't the only town on the west coast with a real local economy that wasn't dominated by national chains in its downtown.

Today, one of the first things visitors to Ojai notice is the comparative lack of chains. It is one of the things that makes Ojai unique. It is one of the things that attracts people here, and gets them ready for something different, for something special. It is one of the things that drives our quality of life, which those of us lucky enough to live here know is not on offer anywhere else within a thousand miles. If we look at the example of oher towns and cities, it is easy to see that once we lose this, it's not easily coming back.

4/14/2006 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it too late to intervene and
stop the franchise agreement?
Why allow one now- it sets a precident for more later. The
owner of local eatery said keep
it local, as it is hard dollar as it is.

4/14/2006 3:02 PM  
Anonymous vicki cohen said...

oI strongly oppose the addition of any franchise store or shop in our community. We have managed very.,. nicely-thank you very much

4/14/2006 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People. It's an empty storefront. Nothing has succeeded there. Wal-Mart didn't make the Ojai Brew Pub and previous restaurants fail.

The owner lives in Ojai. The workers and customers served would be from Ojai. And the 30-50 illegals standing around all morning would have a nearby place to eat. The city would rid itself of an eyesore, and get tax revenue.


4/16/2006 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/16/2006 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although part of Ojai's charm is its mom & pop stores, it would be HEAVEN if only Trader Joe's were to buy Dahl's market in Oak View.

4/16/2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger F. Howell said...

Sounds OK to me, not like those who equate the sandwich shop to big box type chains. Their sandwiches might actually taste good. The local consumer should be the one to decide if Jersey Mike's stays or shuts down like everything else in that location.

4/16/2006 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please post a picture of Jersey Mikes. I have never seen it nor been aware of such a business. Hard to decide without some evidence. And where would it be located? Please give address as I wasn't around when the Chevy dealer was. From: Saltkist

4/16/2006 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/16/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one is easy...just head to San Juan Capistrano and drive down Del Obispo. What was once a charming area has now been blanketed with fast food traps and strip malls. Keep Ojai Unique!

4/16/2006 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ojai could be charming, but get real about Ojai Avenue.

Coming into town, you have a liquor store on the right, so bums can buy booze and drink at Cluff Park on the left (or Libbey). Then you have a Carrow's and BofA (both chains) and across the street you have a burger stand surrounded by ugly empty frontage that needs to be torn down. The arcade. Libbey, where the city is so strapped it tears down the wood pergola and leaves the empty plaster posts, just in time for the Ojai tennis tournament. And then a Chevron superstation, and across from that a strip mall that never made a dime and looks like all the blownout empty strip malls in Lansing, Michigan or Gary, Indiana.

Ojai Avenue is far from charming, and the city doesn't have a line forming of locals who can't wait to lose money on a retail business.

And to the person writing "bad bad bad", your point-of-view might be more valid if you included a thoughtful argument, instead of a 4-year old's reaction.

4/16/2006 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Ojai wants to keep its character as a great small town, it will keep that feeling and integrity by keeping franchises out and keeping the flow of money in Ojai. Of course franchisers and franchisees want a piece of Ojai but once you sell a piece of your soul, the game is over. A town's character shines through its local businesses. Ojai is a very special place. Allowing the extration of money that could serve the community is simply a bad precedent.

4/16/2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger bbeckett said...

I personally would love to be able to get a "real" sub in town. If the owner lives in Ojai, and is committed to the community, why is it any of my business that he owns other shops as well? Is Jim and Rob's a chain because there are three of them? I would choose a sub shop chain over another "bistro" or gallery any day. Wasn't the Mighty Bite a chain?

4/16/2006 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be awesome. It would give the highschoolers somewhere to work besides the McDonald's or Vons and therefore they would be able to add their earnings back into the economy. Ojai is a tourist town yes, but for the normal people who live here we need businesses to come into the area so that we dont have to commute, or in othercases, move to somewhere more affordable with available jobs.

4/16/2006 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been here from childhood to now, off and on. It still is Ojai, a nicer and kinder place than most. But, I fear, not by much. A pox on those who want our valley to become an L.A suburb with all its filth. I, for one, would love to go back and cruise town from the bowling alley to the tree, see my friends, and know that life here is good. A chain sub store?
Dysentery to all who patronize

4/16/2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



4/16/2006 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the coffe guys, or the Starbucks!!! That one was o.k., and how about Quiznos and Subway. Oh, yeah those aren't in the precious little village of Ojai. Ojai is short for oblivious, which most of you all have become. Glad I'm leaving.

4/16/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this new franchise restaurant is a bad idea and will do nothing to enhance the downtown. The Brew Pub was dirty and an eyesore, but I believe something better than Jersey's Mike's could go there. Even the name is tacky. I buy all my clothing in Ojai because the stores here have things that the malls don't carry. We have unique restaurants which appeal to residents and tourists alike. Why bring in a chain, set a precedent, and encourage more tacky businesses.

4/16/2006 3:48 PM  
Blogger Holly K. Thrasher said...

In the 1960's, my father opened his first Taco Bell franchise in Santa Barbara. Nobody had ever heard of Taco bell and it was a huge risk to quit his job and sink his young families savings into this new business. As we all know, it is a giant chain today, but it was originally started by a man named Mr. Bell. My father jumped at the opportunity to own his own business and a a franchise provided him an opportunity to do that. It is important to remember that this is a FREE country and opportunity and diversity is what makes it great! Choices are what we want as consumers! I have only lived in Ojai a couple of years, but have seen many businesses close there doors. I welcome a new business to Ojai whether it is a franchise or not because it will give us more choices to eat out! If the sandwiches are good, the community should support it! It is not easy starting your own business in California and having the resources of a franchise can give you a better chance of success in this tough retail environment. I wish the local owner good luck and I will definitely give the sandwiches a try and if they are as good as I hear, my family will support it!

4/16/2006 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Joy Wenzlaff said...

I would like Ojai to retain and cultivate the small town/village look and feel that attracted me to it 10 years ago.
I like that the fast food, Blockbuster and Rite-Aid chains are in Mira Monte.
And so I object to a franchise at the old "Brew Pub" location. My only reason is it WILL be the first in dozens of years and
with sucess or not, will open the door for more well known and equally undesireable chain outlets to cast their hats into the city council's cash deprived ring.

4/16/2006 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Ojai needs another sandwich shop? How about patronizing Georgio's, Howie's or Ojai Pizza? All of these shops and restaurants have great sub sandwiches. While I would like to see aonther downtown eyesore removed I think we should amend our city charter, rules, whatever by vote to reflect that the majority of citizens who vote do not want franchised chains within our city limits. Kind regards, Ratplanet

4/17/2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger Kenley Neufeld said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/17/2006 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Sonia Nordenson said...

I agree with everone who sees little that's positive and a lot that's negative about the all-too-quiet entry on the scene of a Jersey Mike's in Ojai. Something is definitely wrong with this picture!

I and other folks I know who've been here since the '70s remember when this could no more have happened than the running of a freeway through the valley. I hope we'll all wake up about this issue before it's too late. Once the one-and-only Ojai is gone, we can never get it back.

4/17/2006 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our increable town is going through changes that deelply sadden me. The development that is transpiring right before our blurry eyes is mind bending. It seems that our city fathers are allowing rampid development, and now this, Jersey Mike! I disagree and feel the town needs to come together like we did when we dumped WELDON.

4/17/2006 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I and others I know don't care for chain stores, and there are plenty down Miramonte way and beyond. However, there is a need for a drive-through food establishment only because there are a lot of families and older folks who could benefit from that convenience within the city limits.
But would the city council ever approve a "mom & pop" local eatery with a drive-through?

4/18/2006 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The City of Ojai is already has many franchises. Here is a quick, and I'm sure incomplete list:
Bank of America
Wells Fargo
Napa Auto Parts
True Value Hardware
All State Insurance
Century 21
Coldwell Banker
Rexall Drugs
Mayflower Moving
How does selling sandwiches make a franchise unacceptable while most of these businesses are seen as assets to our community?

4/18/2006 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the only place on this list that I use is Chevron; I'm not even sure if there are any independent gas stations left!

At least you can buy groceries, medicine, banking, hardware, real estate, auto parts, and moving services from non-chain business in Ojai.

I guess I'll need to wean myself off fuel to stop the Chevron usage.

4/18/2006 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thirty years ago, the people of Ojai were in the midst of the same argument; to develop or not to. There was a building moratorium that CPO fought hard to win. It breaks my heart to see how our sleepy town has changed. What happened to that moratorium?
I realize we have numerous chain businesses, but why allow another?
It appears that the folks who are pro-development are newcomers to the valley. If they want chain stores, why did they come here?
I remember the day when the city council denied Wendy's a permit to open its doors within the city limits. The Board of Supervisors allowed it in Mira Monte, but Ojai's elected officials were determined to save the quaintness of the Village. What happened?
Think about that the next time you cast your ballot.
I reached the limit of my patience when the condos on S. Montgomery St. were approved. Sorry, Ojai citizens-- you don't need a community swimming pool; condos and their get=rich developers are now running the show. Disgusting!

4/18/2006 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thirty years ago, the people of Ojai were in the midst of the same argument; to develop or not to. There was a building moratorium that CPO fought hard to win. It breaks my heart to see how our sleepy town has changed. What happened to that moratorium?
I realize we have numerous chain businesses, but why allow another?
It appears that the folks who are pro-development are newcomers to the valley. If they want chain stores, why did they come here?
I remember the day when the city council denied Wendy's a permit to open its doors within the city limits. The Board of Supervisors allowed it in Mira Monte, but Ojai's elected officials were determined to save the quaintness of the Village. What happened?
Think about that the next time you cast your ballot.
I reached the limit of my patience when the condos on S. Montgomery St. were approved. Sorry, Ojai citizens-- you don't need a community swimming pool; condos and their get=rich developers are now running the show. Disgusting!

4/18/2006 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is a shame that the City is so fearful of a lawsuit for discriminating free commerce that they will bow down to let this chain show up on our main downtown street. Do what Santa Barabara did and just make the permitting process so difficult they will not want to open here this is a way around saying no.
The paper stated that the owner is local and supports may fundraising efforts be weary of this. This is one of the major strategies of this chain on winning local support yes they may give money to pony baseball etc but it is under the guise of marketing they know if they support the sports team they will gain customers it is about increasing business not being good local citizens. Why give your money to a chain, support the true locally owned and operated sub shops in town or encourage this guy to make great subs without the Jersey Mikes name and image. Say no before it is too late and if it truely is too late than let your dollars do the talking and do not give New Jersey any of Ojais money.Thank you

4/19/2006 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im not in favor of this sub francise in ojai proper. It would not bother me if it was on the fastfood highway out there,but please not in my backyard. Why all of a sudden is this allowable?I absoultly will not frequent the unwanted unneeded place.

4/19/2006 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you sanctimonious people on your high horse, admit it:

You never even heard of Jersey Mike's before, let alone know it was a chain.

Typical Ojai gadflys trying to tell everybody else what to do...

4/19/2006 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep the lease - dump the franchise agreement.

I too remember this day:

"I remember the day when the city council denied Wendy's a permit to open its doors within the city limits. The Board of Supervisors allowed it in Mira Monte, but Ojai's elected officials were determined to save the quaintness of the Village." - posted by anonymous

When I patronize chain stores I'm happy to do so in Ventura or other larger towns and cities. I'd be happy to try a Jersy Mike's sub sandwich in Thousand Oaks or Ventura. I just don't want to see chain food stores in downtown Ojai. I don't even care if they're in Mira Monte. I'm concerned with preservign our unique downtown.

I don't want to see downtown Ojai turn into a strip of corproate America as has occured in so many downtowns that were once quaint and unique. There are too many towns where all you get is: Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Gap, California Pizza Litchen, Cold Stone Creamery, etc. Where do you think our artist colony culture comes from? Artists aren't inspired or enthused by sterile corporate environments. Let's not let downtown Ojai become a strip mall.

Why can't the wonder of this franchise just open a sandwich sop if that's what he wants to do? Why does it have to be a Jersey Mike's national chain? I'd support it if he lost the franchise agreement.

4/19/2006 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with opening a franchise restaurant in Ojai. Yes, the profit from food sales goes to Corporate Headquarters but the City of Ojai gets their fees out of it. It willopen up employment opportunities for local Ojaians and fill up a building that is an empty eyesore. That is money that stays in the community. Mom and pop shops have a hard time making it in this town because most residence go to Ventura to meet their needs as I do. Make it more convenient for people to get what they need and people will stay in Ojai.

Remember, if you let one, you let them all...Subway, Taco Bell, McDonald's Wendy's Quizno's, Blockbuster, Rite Aid, Vons...Starbucks?

4/20/2006 9:28 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

As a lifelong resident (over 50yrs) I find it incredibly sad that people who haven't grown up in Ojai come in and want to make changes to the town. Ojai was quaint because of it's uniqueness. Too bad that's long gone.

4/23/2006 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Jersey Mike's. The bbq beef is the bomb. Haven't eaten at the one in Ojai, is it open? Makes me want to drive past the fast foods in Mira Monte to get to the fresh stuff.

4/24/2006 12:49 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I think you are going to ruin Ojai letting Jersey Mike's in. Many more chain's will follow and you can't tell them no. The small mom and pop eating establishments can not compete with franchises and their bulk buying power. If this guy is so hell bent on opening a sandwhich shop in a town he lives in, minus the franchise label open up the bowling alley with a sub shop and a lounge/learning area for the children of Ojai to go to. If he can afford mulitple locations he can afford a project that the Ojai community
truly needs.

4/26/2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger MadamPrez said...

"Saltkist" said it all: "I've never seen it...or been aware of such a business."
So why are everybody's NO FRANCHISE IN MY BACKYARD knees so quick to jerk?
This must be a pretty lowkey "franchise" if none of us was previously aware of it. And, as far as I can tell, none of us was; no one posting here, anyway.
So let's reserve judgment. Let's let the guy open his store, give our local youth and/or other local job-seekers---Call it "REALLY Affirmative Action!"---first crack at working there, and see what happens. If, like Goodyear's, it fails, its owner won't go hungry---as several "anonymous" bloggers have pointed out, i.e., he owns two OTHER Jersey Mike's, after all.
And if it's a success, well: no harm, no foul.
What did another "anonymous" blogger say? Oh, yeah: there's nothing there now but loitering "illegals," anyway. Moreover, what if THIS franchise turns out to be the ONE Ojai franchise that "delivers-as-promised?"
Which would truly be novel, seeing as how our Von's is nothing more than the former Thriftimart it once was, disguised in cheap "Slim Price" clothing (somewhere, Bill Davila is rolling in his grave)... our Rite-Aid---oh, sorry, MIRA MONTE'S Rite-Aid. You guys remember Mira Monte, don't you? That community just inches south of the Ojai-proper line? The one whose water users are more than happy to subsidize a $9 million fish ladder if it'll yield just one Steelhead trout sighting and make bona fide Ojai-ans feel groovy and/or like they've done their part for a species that STILL hasn't been officially declared "endangered" [see page A-1 of the April 22, 2006 edition of the Seattle Times]? The one whose residents are PRIVILEGED to host their Ojai-proper-dwelling brethren an easy in, easy out Blockbuster; Quizno's; Subway; Mickey D's; Wendy's; Taco Bell; Supercuts [oops, that's gone; but I believe there's another chain "salon" in its place, there to serve ye who only patronize such establishments/wield coupons while wearing dark glasses or similarly incognito garb]? The little hamlet made up of homeowners who pay-the-same-or-more in property taxes as fellow homeowners inches to the north [they share a zip code, after all!] but who'd be JUST AS EAGER as their counterparts to turn the old Honor Farm into a residential care facility for the mentally ill?---surely the wrongest "Aid" ever opened, anywhere. (Since when did rubbing alcohol or a PeeChee folder become a "special order item?" Some drugstore. God, I miss Slinger's Market. Remember the train that ran around its ceiling ledges?)
But back to Ojai "proper." Another anonymous blogger pointed out many of its existing franchise operations (BofA, Chevron, Hallmark, etc.,) and I can't thank him---or her---enough for doing so. But I'll try: (1) His---or her---"list" reminded me of yet another successful, minding-its-own-lowkey-business "franchise," Ben Franklin's. And what Ojai parent hasn't been thrilled to have THAT little variety store here... on a Tueday night before the Wednesday the Big Group Project was due? Sure, Ben Franklin's LOCAL OWNERS AND OPERATORS have done quite nicely for themselves---our Ben's prices are a bit higher than the BF stores in say, Central California---but, last time I checked, someone else's profit isn't necessarily someone else's loss. Especially here; especially when you factor in the cost of driving to Ventura for a Michael's or similar "craft store," never mind the price of gas, because what's time if not money? (2) If the franchisee doesn't "make a match," "fit in," "connect," we here in Ojai aren't shy about giving his or her business the boot. (See: Goodyear. Or downtown Ventura's Montgomery Ward's, Thrifty's-cum-Rite-Aid, Pussycat Theater and any other franchise I rarely, if ever, patronized while living there, in that cute little pocket, i.e., the 93001, of the multi-zipcoded City of Ventura.)
So, again, let's reserve judgment. Let the franchisee build it. We'll either come or we won't.
But let's hope we DO, because I wouldn't mind seeing a mini-Trader Joe's [Thanks for the subliminal suggestion, "Anonymous" blogger number ?] or, better yet, a REAL, i.e., Kosher, deli taking over Subway's or Quizno's space. (Anyone wanna pool IRA dividends and open a pastrami-and-pumpernickel place with me? We'd be Ojai's first Jewish deli! Truly, we would! I've been here for ages, and I've YET to go to a deli that was REALLY a deli. Please, think about it: I don't have the moxie, let alone the matzoh, to open one on my own, but with a partner---preferably one who knew a rabbi or, even better, knew a thing or two about "clean" meat and/or beef tongue slicers, well, Ojai could be our OY-ster! And if I'm any indication, the need is there... so, call me. Please! All you have to lose is what you'd put up front [amount as yet to be determined]; I hereby swear to---gladly!---"eat" any subsequent losses of such a venture myself. And I'd be willing to notarize that promise before we opened our doors.)

4/26/2006 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please som't let Ojai turn into another town that looks just like every other town. NO MORE FRANCHISES!

5/10/2006 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all loser hippies. The people that go there aren't the type to sit around and fight against franchises on blogs. The food is dank, and most people hadn't even heard of the franchise. Get over yourselves, losers...Your "mom & pop" fascination only brings more LA trash, and crap like $100,000 crosswalks.

6/30/2006 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love shopping in Ojai....the shop owners are nice and helpful and thier products are very unique. My only complaint is that they're more expensive. However this is the same in Santa Barbara. It seems that the "Mom and Pop" shops cater to the tourist who will pay the high prices. Us middle class "Ojains" can't afford our local "Mom & Pop" stores and have to travel out of town............Hey, Jersy Mikes does make great tasting sandwiches.......I hope they stay. I also hope we don't see a "Star Bucks" "Jamba Juice" or another "Cookie Cutter" chain make it into Ojai......for the most part, Ojai is a quaint and charming town.....

7/23/2006 5:40 PM  
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9/30/2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger Cam said...

While it would take time and money, it would be nice to be able to vote on every franchice that would like to do business in the Ojai city limits.

2/09/2007 12:52 AM  
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