The last thing many people say they want to see is another convenience store in Manteca preferring the community snare a supermarket such as Winco, Trader Joe’s Whole Foods or even the third SaveMart that was once envisioned on Atherton Drive at Main Street.
However, market forces indicate Manteca is getting what it can support.
That doesn’t mean the big stores aren’t shopping Manteca for locations. They are. The problem is partially stores wanting high profile locations that will pencil out to make a commitment to invest on a new brick and mortar site.
But there are major considerations that Manteca’s continued growth underscored by it being tied with Tracy as the third fastest growing city in California during 2020 is likely to overcome eventually allowing the city to land another supermarket.
Those “considerations” can be seen in the hundreds of Amazon vans that make daily runs throughout the region from the Amazon Prime facility on Louise Avenue off of Airport Way. It is also reflected in the growing aggressiveness of general merchandise stores such as Target and Walmart to move more into the high volume, low profit margin of groceries.
In Manteca that startegy is being highlighted by Target’s move to make its brick and mortar stores double as distribution centers to compete more nimbly with Amazon that invests in major hubs.
For years city leaders have been told that rooftops drive supermarket location decisions. By rooftops, that means the number of homes.
Back in the mid-1990s, the late Bob Picinnni who had Manteca roots and was behind SaveMart’s expansion put the number at 12,000 residents when community leaders were pushing for him to eventually locate a store in Lathrop.
By the time Lathrop got its SaveMart the economics pushed that number upward to around 18,000.
The explosion of ordering groceries online due to the pandemic and even store pickups at Target and Walmart has helped push the base number of homes needed to support additional supermarkets even higher.
At the same time traditional supermarkets such as Savemart are not building larger and larger stores such as the discount grocers such as Winco.
The Savemart deal for Atherton Drive went south for several reasons but mainly because development costs and additional environmental studies added to the cost even though a number of smaller tenants such as Mt. Mike’s Pizza had been lined up.
Meanwhile convenience stores — particularly those tied to gas pumps — have multiplied in Manteca.
Four such combinations have opened in Manteca in the last two years — Circle K on Main Street south of the 120 Bypass, Arco off of Lathrop Road near Highway 99, Arco on Daniels Street, and Chevron on North Main.
Three more are on the way and are expected to break ground this year — 7-Eleven at Louise and Main, Chevron at Atherton and Union and Rotten Robbie’s on Airport Way at Wawona.
7-Eleven with gas pumps
being built at Main & Louise
The city is currently processing a demolition permit valued at $171,000 to tear the building on the northeast corner of Louise Avenue and Mai n Street where Taqueria La Estrella operated a Mexican restaurant since 2011 in the converted former Long John Silver’s fast food restaurant before relocating to a site several blocks to the south near the Waffle Café.
The 3,010-square-foot 7-Eleven convenience store and fueling station with six pumps and a canopy will be the fifth 7-Eleven in Manteca including one three quarters of a mile to the north on Main Street at Northgate Drive. A Southland Corporation representative said the Main and Northgate store will continue to operate.
The other three 7-Eleven stores are all located on Yosemite Avenue.
The new 7-Eleven that’s being built will help reduce the potential for traffic accidents at Louise Avenue at North Main Street.
The Manteca Planning Commission added the requirement that the construction of the convenience store with six fueling pumps on the northeast corner of the intersection includes placing a raised concrete median to prevent left turns into and out of the 7-Eleven parking lot from Louise Avenue.
Commission shared how confusing and dangerous Louise Avenue just east of Main Street can be with drivers turning left across Louise Avenue to access three driveways for commercial properties within 300 plus feet of the intersection.
The situation is made worse by the fact the two heaviest used driveways — accessing the center anchored by SaveMart and the other anchored by the now shuttered 24 Hour Fitness — are across from each other without being aligned. The intersection also had the highest daily vehicle count the last time Manteca conducted citywide traffic counts.
A similar problem on Louise Avenue immediately west of the intersection was addressed more than 12 years ago when a Shell station was torn down and replaced with a Walgreens drug store kitty corner from where the 7-Eleven is being built. That median eliminated left turns in and out of not just the Walgreens but also Jack in the Box and the now shuttered Orchard Supply Hardware store. In the case of Walgreen’s the chain was also required to extend the median on Main Street to prevent left turns at their driveway on Main Street as well.
An ongoing issue with sidewalk maintenance was also addressed with the approval of the 7-Eleven building plan. Two existing trees in sidewalk wells will be taken out and the hole cemented other. At the same time 7-Eleven is being required to plant and maintain 24 trees behind the sidewalk.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com