Despite months of refutations from employees and its main office, on April 30 the management of Jonathan’s Market at 7611 Fay Ave., finally confirmed rumors of the store’s closing with a simple message written on a dry-erase board set outside the front door: “
Thank you La Jolla for 18 wonderful years. Jonathan’s will be closing its doors for good on June 1, 2014
Exiting Jonathan’s with a cart of groceries May 1, La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee Nancy Manno said she was “heartbroken” at the news.
“When I walked in yesterday afternoon and saw the sign, I started to cry,” Manno said. “I opened a house charge (at Jonathan’s) the third day they opened the store. … I know the manager. I can call and say, ‘I really wish you’d get this particular cookie or this particular thing.’ ”
Warwick’s employee Jim Stewart, who has shopped at Jonathan’s for the past two decades, called the closing of San Diego’s first gourmet market a “great loss for the Village.”
Stewart said he preferred Jonathan’s for its selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, fine wine and “that hard- to-find spice or gourmet extra.
“The deli has the best sandwiches, meat counter, and selection of salads and pre-cooked dinners,” he said. “Others say the prices are high, which is true in some cases, but I was willing to pay a little extra for their excellent customer service. … Plus, it was carpeted, which made shopping there an even greater pleasure.”
Store manager Al Bercuson said all house charge accounts will be transferred to the company’s Harvest Ranch Market in Encinitas, which carries the same products. Customers will still be able to phone Jonathan’s, the existing line for which will transfer to the Encinitas store.
“We’re also going to have a free delivery service from the Harvest Ranch
in Encinitas to La Jolla for the rest of the year,” Bercuson said. “Anything that we need to bring into that store to accommodate the people in La Jolla, we will.”
Following the closure of Burns Drugs on Girard Avenue, Jonathan’s becomes the second longstanding La Jolla business to shut its doors in the past few months.
Jonathan’s opened more than four decades ago as part of the Big Bear grocery chain founded by John Mabee. Its current owner, Dallo Enterprises, which operates a handful of Foodland Markets in the South Bay, and Harvest Ranch Markets in Encinitas and El Cajon, bought the store in 1995 (a third Harvest Ranch in Del Mar closed its doors Dec. 31, 2013).
Michael Dallo, who serves as general counsel for his family’s business, said a La Jolla businessman approached Dallo Enterprises about opening a theater at the site. His family will retain ownership of the property, leasing space to the theater operator.
“A lot of thought went into it,” Dallo said. “He met with (my) family and the board and after long talks and a lot of thought we decided it was in the best interest of the company and for La Jolla that we proceed. ...