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Ken Martin: CV Residents Are Starving Our Merchants

Castro Valley citizens are causing financial hardship for the local merchants.

Ken Martin is Castro Valley Patch's newest blogger.

Castro Valley residents need to wake up! They, not the construction on the Boulevard, are the cause of the financial hardship visited upon the Boulevard merchants. It is not that difficult to get to these businesses. Because our residents might have to walk an extra 100 feet or take and extra 10 minutes to get there, they are damaging these merchants, some of them possibly beyond repair.

People of Castro Valley, it is YOU that are creating the financial problems for these businesses. The construction is just a flimsy excuse for not making the effort to patronize them.

For some time now I have admonished the people of Castro Valley for doing business "over the hill" without even trying to find available equivalent businesses in Castro Valley. Now they have run this abominable practice to the extreme, with "the mess on the Boulevard" as their weak excuse for continuing a detrimental action of which they have been guilty for years even when there ws no construction.

Many of these merchants have supported this community for decades, not only by supplying needed commodities, but many of them sponsor community events and improvement programs, at least in spirit but also financially. Isn't it only fair that we, the residents of Castro Valley, extend ourselves a little to help them now? Put yourselves out a little! Walk the extra 100 feet! Take the extra 10 minutes!

These business people need your concern and your help. CV citizens have come together to help in time of need in the past. Here is another time of need. Let's show some of that Castro Valley compassion that has surfaced before!   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lauren Edwards August 23, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Good debate, everybody. I think your points are all well made. It's certainly true that CV residents have to leave CV for some kinds of shopping, and there's also a lot to be said for civic pride, mutual support and enjoying one's surroundings. Would you all mind reading this story now? http://patch.com/A-lmgL It's about shining a light on the features of town that stir the hearts of locals. This guy Huell Howser is folksy and down to earth. His enthusiasm is infectious. We need you to send him an email.
Bob Swanson August 23, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Right on Ken! As a long time resident of CV I shop in CV and also in the rest of the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland and San Lorenzo as much as possible. We are one large economic unit. When I shop here I am contributing to the community by supporting our local businesses and the sales tax revenue generated is spent to improve the whole of the unincorporated area. Here is a link to the CV Chamber of Commerce Business Directory: http://www.edenareachamber.com/business-directory Shop, Shop, Shop CV!!!
Gloria Johanson August 24, 2011 at 03:58 AM
Thank you David for getting my point over. I did not take the time with my earlier comment. I have and continue to shop at those stores mentioned. I am forced to go out-of-town for clothing and special needs. My letter to the management at Ross was a help as it looks somewhat better. You may have noticed. It would be great to dine in C.V. in the evening with guests.Yes Willow Park, but lets have a few more. I will be happy to give you my views on the business that may come to C.V. The recent photo and article in our home paper. (my views and others) That has disturbed me and others. My views are not negative to our community just very concerned about our community. I have contributed to our community in many fields, volunteer, C.V. Parent B oard, C.V. Festival, C.V. News Reporter, weekly column, just to name a few. I am willing to HELP anytime! Please listen to what our community is saying, they are not happy.
David Ross August 24, 2011 at 05:15 AM
Gloria, I'd like to hear what type of businesses you'd like to see in CV in addition to what we have. My list is fairly short: -A buffet style restaurant, specifically Golden Corral. I know we have a couple of buffets now but they serve Asian food. -A good size book book store. Jordan's was nice but the selection was small, especially in the high tech department - A store specializing in computers and computer accessories - (NOT in the main portion of CV due to traffic concerns): a decent size discount department store along the lines of Target or (dare I say it, considering previous remarks made here?) Wal-Mart. While Ross has a variety of items, I don't really consider it to be a department store. A Wal-Mart the size of the one in San Lorenzo (it's smaller than most of their stores in the Bay Area) would be a good size.
Rai W. August 25, 2011 at 06:38 PM
There are a lot of good points made on this page from both sides. I do feel that pointing fingers at the entire community is definitely harsh and not the only problem. People (in general) search for bargains in discount stores but do we really want those stores here? As a recent new resident to CV (though longtime supporter of CV) moving out of one of the towns whose primary type of store is a discount store experience, I am glad to do most of my shopping in CV where the service is much more personal in the smaller stores…and yes, maybe even a few cents/dollars more expensive. The larger the store, the cheaper the prices often equate to lesser paid staff, inconsiderate patrons and overall a bad experience. CV lacks mainstream stores and society is getting programmed to shop in these rubber stamp buildings. Personally, since I slowed down to search for local resources, I have been more encouraged to do more shopping in CV rather than facing some of the surrounding areas. I do wish there was a better selection of restaurants though and a more active night ambiance; hopefully the street improvements MIGHT help add to the night time flavor. I would also like to encourage readers and supporters of local business to look them up on YELP and PATCH to provide honest reviews. Oh and by the way, parking lots are very frustrating in CV and the construction has only added to this.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez August 25, 2011 at 08:20 PM
New studies show that the average U.S. household spends 17% of their income on food. Households are spending an increasing amount, more than half of this 17% on dining out. That's a lot of income which I know for a fact, is flowing out of Castro Valley to cities that have been able to attract unique, healthy, tasty, affordable, restaurants and diverse dining options. Aside from some of our Asian venues, there isn't a single restaurant in Castro Valley that isn't opening up boxes, and cans (which probably came from a mega-distributor like Sysco). We pay top dollar for these restaurants to rewarm such processed foods. What ever happened to honest to goodness from scratch cooking from fresh, wholesome ingredients? Not only is it a healthier option, it's tastier, typically cheaper, and better for the environment. Why is it that we have no eateries that serve seasonal menus? How about an honest burger, a not-from-a-box-burger? Why do I need to drive out of C.V. to find one that's hand ground, from fresh prime cuts off a single cow, that didn't stand in a feed lot for its entire existence, in another state or country, eating hormones for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Why can't I get such a flippin' burger that was made from grass fed beef in C.V.? Is that too much to ask!? Apparently yes, it is too much to ask. The majority of our restaurants do not listen, nor do they care - see Yelp. So why should I sacrifice 17% of my income to support such businesses?
Rai W. August 25, 2011 at 09:16 PM
@Rachel - and where is this restaraunt that grinds its own beef from a single cut off the same grass fed cow? Sounds yummy...I'm hungry :)
Rachel Bradley-Gomez August 25, 2011 at 10:04 PM
The fact that Patch limits the amount of characters in a comment will limit my laundry list, but from most amazing to just amazing the list follows: Gather in Berkeley, Wood Tavern in Oakland, and Fiveten Burger (which is a gourmet burger food truck in Oakland) & True Burger (Oakland) just to name a few.
Rai W. August 25, 2011 at 10:37 PM
LOL Thanks. It's too bad we can't get a gourmet food truck caravan night in CV
David Ross August 25, 2011 at 11:15 PM
I'm really not concerned about the restaurants in Castro Valley. I don't eat out at set-down restaurants that often. When I do, I like a place that is inexpensive, has great ambiance, and is well lit. We do have Rigatoni's, which meets my requirements. It would be nice to have something like Red Tractor Cafe (Dublin) here or even a Johnny Rocket. What I would love to see here but I know it will never happen is something like the food court at the Emeryville Public Market.
Bob Swanson August 26, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Hi David, Funny thing that you mentioned the Emeryville Public Market. I have eaten there many times and it is great. Here’s a tidbit. The person who organized and put the Emeryville Public Market together was a friend of mine named Ron Pardini and he is now the Executive Director of the Urban Village Farmers’ Market Association and this association provides our community with the Castro Valley Farmers’ Market. Bob
Ken Martin November 01, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Maybe the location puts it outside of this discussion that centers primarily around the Village and environs, but the Palomares Cafe in the 580 Marketplace is probably the best restaurant in Castro Valley. Chef Shebli Massarweh creates some outstanding Mediterannean and Italian dishes, especially his Lingine Carbonara. This place features a full bar and periodically has live entertainment, plus plenty of convenient parking. Though it may not be in the center of Castro Valley, it's definitely worth the short drive to get there and is definitely a Castro Valley business. As for 'burgers, I suspect most folks (like myself) can't tell the difference between grass fed, corn fed, feed lot, or whatever beef. We do have some pretty good hamburgers available here in central CV, though, at places like Norman's, Caper's, The Dell, to name a few.
Ken Martin November 01, 2011 at 05:22 PM
David, I've been to Golden Corral (in Tracy) and it would probably be an asset to our dowtown area but, in the final analysis, it is another fast food retaurant with a different format. Regardless, I wouldn't object to having one here if we had the space. Maybe the Daughtrey building. But I don't really think this is what most people have in mind when they say "restaurants". I believe their vision is of posssibly Papillion or Hayward Ranch or Fontina or Back Forty BBQ. Someone needs to make the moves required to get them here. I have seen virtually no response that we form an ad hoc citizens committee for the purpose of business procurement. We need some people with business acumen and experience, business contacts, and time to get proactive in acquiring new buinesses for Castro Valley. I have none of these (except time) but can phone, type, e-mail and run errands under the direction of qualified people. Any takers?
David Ross November 01, 2011 at 05:50 PM
I disagree that it's a "another fast food" restaurant. Unlike fast food restaurants, Golden Corral is a "sit down" restaurant along the likes of Doug's or Norman's. The only difference is in how the food is served. I love the way Golden Corral has a lot of southern styled food, something that is missing in Castro Valley. A restaurant like Golden Corral would bring more business into Castro Valley than restaurants like Hayward Ranch. Attracting people from outside of Castro Valley increases the economy. More up-scale restaurants may attract dozens of people each week while a less expensive but family-friendly type of restaurant such as Golden Corral would attract hundreds. Daughtrey would be a good place due to its somewhat central location.
Ken Martin November 01, 2011 at 06:00 PM
David: You seemed to have missed the part about my not objecting to having a Golden Corral here. I'm sure it would definitely be an asset. Beside that, they sponsor one of my favorite TV programs, "Wind Tunnel". Now fast forward to the part about getting the ball rolling to get one here. Where is the action? All talk so far.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez November 01, 2011 at 06:17 PM
No. Golden Corral would not be an asset to Castro Valley, no more than an Arby's or a Macaroni Grill would be. This is a CHAIN with corporate headquarters in North Carolina. The restaurant serves highly processed, largely unhealthy (based on the newly designed food pyramid) food. One must only look at the offerings to know that one could simply save the gas, money, and time if one were to pour corn syrup, hydrogenated fry oil, diglycerides, and a bucket of sodium in a blender and drink it. With the obesity epidemic, rising health care costs, and the unfathomably bad food that already exists in Castro Valley, do we REALLY need a Golden Corral?
David Ross November 01, 2011 at 06:58 PM
I saw that part, Ken. In my original reply I was going to say that I wish I had the business know-how and cash to open one myself but I don't.
David Ross November 01, 2011 at 07:15 PM
It's about choice, Rachel. I'm so tired of do-gooders teling others what they can and cannot eat. Have you actually been to a Golden Corral or are you just assuming? Have you looked at the nutritional information? It's available on their web page. They have a wide range of items from low fat to high fat, just like most restaurants. In any case, it is not up to YOU to tell others what type of food they should eat. Yes, it is a chain. However, the majority of individual restaurants are franchised. What would you suggest as a restaurant for Castro Valley? Even restaurants such as Fresh Choice have items that are "bad" for you. And the so-called obesity epidemic? It's not solely due to food. It'd due to lack of activity. I know many people who eat fatty foods, drink non-diet sodas, and are not obese or even overweight. Like I said, it's not the food as the so-called experts would have you believe but the lack of activity.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez November 01, 2011 at 07:41 PM
What would I like to see? =====> choice! Exactly! Castro Valley has plenty of restaurants that simply take factory processed foods out of the freezer, box or can and heat them. Castro Valley also has an overabundance of restaurants that push unhealthy food options. And yes, I have looked at more menus than you can shake a stick at. At the end of the day, the majority of it is processed crap that has little to do with real food and a lot to do with petrochemicals. So am I saying that folks shouldn't be allowed to eat crap and double helpings of petrochemicals as often as they like? Absolutely not, that's a personal choice. Unfortunately, Castro Valley already has more than its fair share of these types of swill slinging chains, which pay minimum wage and direct proceeds out of state. So, why would I be in favor of yet another of what we are drowning in? A real deviation would be a privately owned restaurant that served real, from scratch, home cooked foods with a nod towards health, good farming practices and of course, outstanding culinary application. It would serve food without stabilizers, ridiculous amounts of MSG and sodium because it needs to be distributed to over 500 cookie cutter locations throughout the United States, where it will be warmed and sit under heat lamps at a buffet table. Um, no thanks to that lovely concept.
Bob Swanson November 01, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Hi Ken, Bill Lambert is our economic development person for unincorporated county. Economic development is a fairly new concept to county government. Usually cities have such an outreach person. Bill can be contacted at Bill.Lambert@acgov.org. He is very interested in bringing new businesses to Castro Valley as well as the rest of the unincorporated area. The unincorporated area is one economic unit. If a good business generates sales tax in Ashland, Cherryland, Castro Valley, Fairview or San Lorenzo it benefits us all in unincorporated area. Bob
Joanne Montesano November 01, 2011 at 11:29 PM
<<A real deviation would be a privately owned restaurant that served real, from scratch, home cooked foods with a nod towards health, good farming practices and of course, outstanding culinary application.>> Wouldn't that be great! The wonderful Italian restaurant we had was taken over by Sutter and the outstanding chef/owner of the French restaurant we had retired. I am not a fan of buffets, particularly those that offer all you can eat. So I would not be a customer of a Golden Corral. Nor would I be thrilled about a Chile's, Olive Garden (their ads on TV gag me), Applebye's, etc. etc coming to town. There must be other residents wishing for a non-chain, white tablecloth restaurant and would patronize it regularly.
Ken Martin November 01, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Geez, Rachel! Or is it spelled R-A-D-I-C-A-L. What do you eat? You just condemned everything that is available. Careful. To me, you are too far off the deep end to have any great amount of credibility with me. We are always open to getting information on any subject but it must be tempered somewhat. Just blasting everything in sight really doesn't have a great deal of value. What you are saying may be true to some degree but I have managed to live 80 years and probably have eaten a lot of what you unnecessarily call "crap". Enjoy your Kashi dinner.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez November 02, 2011 at 03:53 AM
I may be radical (I prefer the term, passionate) but there's only one definition for the word "corral", be it golden or otherwise: cor·ral/kəˈral/ Verb: Put or keep (livestock) in a corral. Noun: A pen for livestock, esp. cattle or horses, on a farm or ranch Synonyms: pen More info »Dictionary.com - Answers.com - Merriam-Webster - The Free Dictionary 1. An enclosure for confining livestock.
Ken Martin November 02, 2011 at 04:09 AM
My apologies. I am retracting the term "radical" and replacing it with ridiculous. You are totally getting off the subject. Please rein your "passionate" self in and give us something constructive.
David Ross November 02, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Not to keep this off-topic but there are 5 defintions for corral (noun) 1. an enclosure or pen for horses, cattle, etc. 2. a circular enclosure formed by wagons during an encampment, as by covered wagons crossing the North American plains in the 19th century, for defense against attack. (verb) 3 to confine in or as if in a corral. 4. informal. a. to seize; capture. b. to collect, gather, or garner: to corral votes. 5. to form (wagons) into a corral. source: dictionary. com To get back on topic: I really would like to see an American buffet restaurant in Castro Valley, be it Golden Corral, Fresh Choice, or a non-chain. They are fun restaurants as far as I'm concerned to take a group to. There's an option for just about everyone in the group, thus eliminating the sometimes multiple hour decision making of where to go.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) November 02, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Just to put this out there for those in favor of a Golden Corral. Though we may not get one in CV, our unincorporated neighbors of San Lorenzo may see one in the future: http://patch.com/A-mfbT.
David Ross November 02, 2011 at 05:07 AM
Thanks for the info, Analisa. Kashi food? To quote an old ad, "where's the beef?" There's more people going to restaurants with meat and fish than vegetarian restaurants. Why? Because only about 8 million people in the USA are vegetarians. About 23 million follow a vegetarian inclined diet. That leaves 90% of the population who eat a balanced meal of protein (i.e. meat, chicken, fish) and vegetables. http://www.vegetariantimes.com/features/archive_of_editorial/667
Kathy Mathisen November 02, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Wow. Interesting debate. I must say that being passionate about the food you choose to put in your family's bodies is not ridiculous. It is a pity that so much wholesome food is so expensive. One restaurant (not in CV, unfortunately) my family loves is the Sideboard in Danville. Their motto is always local, organic when possible. It is not a "white tablecloth" place, but a very casual eatery, and whenever we go there, we beg them to open another outlet in CV. Fingers crossed!
Rachel Bradley-Gomez November 02, 2011 at 05:56 PM
I too would love to see such a restaurant open in Castro Valley, Kathy. The concept of a "blue plate special" of "Mom's Meatloaf", for instance, made with local grass fed beef, ground in house, lower in fat because it wasn't raised on a feed lot in the Mid West, served with a wild mushroom gravy and lovely, buttery Yukon gold mashed potatoes, organic braised collard greens with house smoked bacon for $10.99, is what I'm talking about. It's fresh, simple, unpretentious, nutritious, local, affordable, from scratch and seasonal. How about line caught, fresh, local Ling cod, beer battered with a side of sweet potato fries and a show stopping coleslaw for $10.99? How about a burger to end all others, priced lower than Val's Papa Burger, made with better quality, fresher, local meat, sans line out the door, better service and leaner to boot? How about a lovely chopped salad with fresh organic veggies, toasted pumpkin seeds, and amazing herb and fresh goat cheese dressing for $6.99? It's doable people. When you start carefully dissecting what you get with highly processed factory made foods, there is virtually no value to be had, regardless of how low the price may be.
Ken Martin November 02, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Whoa, people!! If I remember correctly, a long time ago, the premise of this discussion was about how we can help the Boulevard merchants during the construction mess. We seem to have strayed through business acquisition to restaurant acquisition to having some healthy food maven telling us what we should eat and that we aren't too bright if we if we just eat what we please. Let's get back to supplying helpful suggestions as to how we can keep our merchants, some of whom have served us for years, from dying financially. Please refrain from enumerating all the reasons, like inconvenience, that you don't currently patronize these businesses. Let's put all this back on a positive, helpful plane.

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