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What Happened to Miki's Farm Fresh Foods?

Original post made by La Dame Blanche on Mar 24, 2013

Three people have reported going to Miki's on Alma near Meadow, and reported seeing a sign on the door saying that it was closed for good. After only six months, is this for real?

Comments (25)

Posted by Not an issue , a resident of Community Center
on Mar 24, 2013 at 8:58 pm

There was a thread about this, but it has disappeared . So what's the story, weekly? If you look on yelp, there is a response from someone from the store saying things are slow and they do not know how long they can hang on

Posted by La Dame Blanche, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm

That is a shame, because this had been Miki's dream, according to earlier articles.

However, the space was just too, too small and dark, the selection too limited, the prices too high. Other than fresh produce, there really wasn't anything special about it.

Posted by shopper, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Rent increase?

Posted by Cecilia, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2013 at 11:42 pm

A shame, but the building was too close to the street. Had they set it back a bit and had parking in front, it would have seemed more inviting for a quick stop-in. I did go to Starbuck's and the parking lot is too narrow and difficult to navigate. Too discouraging for a quick stop. I never made it to Miki's. Of course, this was probably not the complete reason for its demise.

Posted by Sorry about Miki, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm

One reason I never even tried once to go there was that traffic light at the intersection between Alma and that area...

I drove by there once in the early evening, and traffic was horrendous. The light was so poorly times and uncoordinated with the nearby lights at the intersection between Alma and East Meadow, that there was a huge back-up on Alma.

After going through that traffic jam just once, I made two decisions:
1) I decided to no longer drive on that section of Alma.
2) I decided to not even go and try the store.

Maybe a better traffic light design would have helped.

Posted by Sad for Miki, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2013 at 12:36 am

I also tried once and never went back. The parking lot was crowded and felt squeezed. As I was driving along looking for a space, unexpectedly a car came up from the underground (parking?) and it startled and shook me, so I headed for the exit and never went to the store.
McNellis, the developer, is building 51 housing units on the site. Looks like the market wasn't a priority. Maybe greed actually does have limits.
Sad that the market is the victim.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2013 at 7:32 am

Just shows that the buying public do not want ugly buildings housing boutique supermarkets too close to the street.

Give us a spacious, full service market with plenty of parking that can be seen from the street.

Posted by La Dame Blanche, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:05 am

This is so sad for Miki, but it was foreseeable for so many reasons: the traffic light, which has caused huge pileups for months and was never synchronized with the other two; the parking lot, which was too small, too tight, and limited to thirty minutes; the building itself, which was too small, too close to the street, too dark inside; the selection of foods, which was too limited, probably due to space; the shelves, which were too close together and went too high for most people to reach, probably due to space issues, also; and the prices were too high, probably due to the high rent that John McNellis charged.

Nothing has really done well in that location historically, probably because it was not easy to access. The houses being built there are not selling too well, probably because they aren't visible from the street, it is not a desirable location, being so close to the RR tracks and two very busy streets, and they are overpriced for what you get.( three narrow stories, no yard, shared driveways, cabinets and floor coverings are an additional charge, very steep stairs, etc). It would have been nice for that development to have a boutique grocery of its own, but if there is nobody in the development yet......

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:20 am

What a shame. I feel bad for Miki and all the employees (who very nice and always helpful). This push to build without setback is a disaster -- people are used to driving into a parking lot visible from the street, not having to drive into a small, cramped area. The builder never wanted the grocery store and I think they did everything possible to limit its success. It's an ugly development and a one more high-density, high-traffic mess.

Posted by Pat Markevitch, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

I never went because I decided to boycott any business that went in there because of the addition of the traffic light. If the developer had been forced to provide a decent setback from the street with good visibility onto Alma, the light would not have been necessary. The old Alma plaza entrance had great visibility and there were no problems with ingress or egress. What a shame.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:39 am

I went in a couple of times and wanted it to work but can see how it may not have worked. It's a small, boutique store with limited parking. The last time I was in, the produce was in poor shape, which surprised me, since the first time I was in it seemed they had a large and fresh produce section. The store was basically empty both times I was in there and I only went in when I happened to drive by (not typical route for me) and realized I could stop by and check it out. They seemed like nice people, but maybe the economy can't sustain higher-priced small stores right now?

Posted by shopper, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:28 am

Small general purpose markets need foot traffic from nearby residents to stay in business. Local shoppers can pick up some fresh vegetables or bread for dinner. This market is in a pedestrian-unfriendly location, not really convenient to anyone except the residents of that complex.

Maybe someone can reopen that store as a ethnic foods market, since nothing like that is available right now in Palo Alto and most shoppers are forced to drive to Sunnyvale or Cupertino.

Posted by If only.., a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Maybe if Miki had waited u til the housing development sold all it's homes, the residents would have provided enough business fot it to make a go. But that would be a long wait, as I heard that only four of the units have sold so far.

Maybe if the store had more parking, better access, wasn't built backwards, was bigger, not so dark, had a hot food section so people could pick up dinner on the way home....

It was simply doomed from the start. Poor planning, poor architecture, poor location, limited selections, limited hours, very short-term parking, too many negative attributes.

Posted by April Fool, a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:26 pm

The development proposal was approved by the fools on the City Council. It is appropriate to close Miki's on April Fool's Day.

Posted by If only..., a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Now, if only we can get close out prices on the wines and cheeses! Then it would be worth the effort to go there.

Posted by some guy, a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Shared driveways mean constant hassles with your neighbors over blocking the driveway. If your neighbors don't block you in to save themselves from having to park on the street, their guests will. If you ask them to not block the driveway, they will say "It's okay, just tell me if you need to get out and I'll move." No, it isn't okay, I would NEVER get myself into that situation again.

Posted by if only, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Those houses in the development behind Miki's have shared driveways, among many other detractions, such as railroad proximity, two busy streets, poor construction, substandard lot size, high prices, impractical layouts, bad Feng shui, etc. As a result, they are not selling.

Posted by Corey Sommers, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Say no to Grocery Outlet in Alma Village! Sign the Petition

Attention my fellow Palo Alto residents, please sign this important petition. Also please forward the link to fellow community members, and post on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Thank You!

Web Link

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Corey-- not everyone can afford the $40 per pound cheese that was sold at Mikis. A store like this may be good for palo alto. Is jj&f bid serious? What compensation would the city have to pay to college terrace. And, god forbid, "outsiders" come to palo alto.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Well, well, well.

So Palo Alto doesn't get a decent grocery store which means residents have to drive out of town and in return, we get out of towners to come to a discount store. Somehow this shows what idiocy causes.

Posted by Corey Sommers, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Not an issue, this has nothing to do with "outsiders", your implication is not appropriate. This only has to do with congestion. Destination Retail is the issue, not the type of store. It could be a high end store that everyone wants to come to because there is nothing else like it around. You have completely misconstrued this.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm

You made the following statements in your petition:
" will entice a large number of people from surrounding cities to make special trips...."
" serve the needs of communities outside of palo alto more than it will serve palo alto residents"

Besides the fact that you specifically refer to " outsiders" you do not provide any proof for your claims.
If it has to do with just congestion, then say that without the references to people outside of palo alto

Posted by So, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Here Is the article about it closing

Web Link

Posted by Corey Sommers, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 20, 2013 at 12:25 am

Not an issue, I can see now how you could draw that conclusion. I have reworded it. It doesn't matter what the store is, it matters that it is Destination Retail and the space cannot handle that. Are you suggesting that a destination store such as Grocery Outlet would not result in more congestion than a neighborhood market?

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm

You are assuming that the people that would go there would be extra traffic. How about non locals that already go by there? How much traffic there is local?
A neighborhood market will not succeed in that pace, if you expect only people from the area to shop there.
More and more PLO Alan's are flocking to the new LARGE safewayin MV.

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