Garden Grove

Dining, shopping in West Grove studied

THERE ARE two Rite-Aid drug stores on the Valley View corridor in West Garden Grove, but few sit-down eateries or major retailers (Orange County Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano

A shortage of retail and dining choices in West Garden Grove are in part the result of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” because many residents choose to shop and eat elsewhere.

That’s one of the conclusions of a recent study by the Urban Land Institute on the commercial viability of the Valley View Business Corridor – West Grove’s principal north-south thoroughfare.

It examined land use issues, community purchasing patterns, traffic and competition from adjacent cities. It was commissioned by the City of Garden Grove and included comments from area residents.

Among the findings were:

  • West Garden Grove households have an average income above those both of Garden Grove and Orange County.
  • Population growth in West Grove is stagnant and residents tend to be older than people in the rest of the city, although a trend toward younger homebuyers in the area is developing.
  • SHAKEY’S pizza parlor on Valley View Street.

    Retail sales are leaking to neighboring cities, especially along Seal Beach Boulevard, a short drive north into the Rossmoor area, where there are many chain restaurants and large stores such as California Pizza Kitchen, Target and Kohl’s.

  • Residents shopping outside of West Grove are an impediment to attracting retail growth, because “currently, the VVBC [Valley View Business Corridor] is unsuccessful as a retail location not because of a lack of spending capacity, but because local residents choose to shop elsewhere.”
  • Current zoning is outdated and should be changed to encourage community-oriented development, including mixed use. The creation of a community benefit district or a business-improvement district are encouraged.
  • A “community brand” to create a unique identity for the Valley View Business Corridor – including a logo, and “brand story” – could be part of a marketing strategy that could attract new businesses.

Residents have complained about the loss of businesses along Valley View, including the closure of the Coco’s Restaurant at Cerulean Avenue, and the many vacancies in the adjacent strip mall.

Some signs of improvement have emerged. A developer is planning to transform an existing site just south of Chapman Avenue by expanding the movie complex there, and bringing in two eateries and a car wash.

Kris Beard, who served most recently as the councilmember representing District 1 (West Grove), was positive about the report.

“My sense is that the research and report validates the sustainability of new commercial activities in West Grove,” he said. “Now is the time for the city to organize and implement a branding and marketing campaign along the Valley View corridor to promote economic development in our end of town.”

Not quite as enthusiastic was the newly-elected councilmember from District 1, George Brietigam.

“In regard to the report, I think you get what you pay for. The report was free. I think the re-branding effort they discuss and [is] already taking place was a good suggestion,” he said.

“I found the insults in the report on West Garden Grove residents a bit off-putting. Saying mistruths such as ‘resistant to change’ and ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality was clearly unprofessional and typical of what you would expect in a free report.

“In my experience, the Grovers in the west are embracing of change.  However, they don’t want negative change or a change just for change sake.

“I understand rezoning and mixed use appear to be their cookie cutter answer to all problems in almost every report they do.”





7 replies »

  1. If better restaurants are placed closer and better shopping was closer I’m sure the majority would shop and dine closer to home. But the stores that are in Rossmoor will never be in WGG because they would be too close. Heck we can’t even get a Trader Joe’s.

  2. ” but because local residents choose to shop elsewhere.” Really!!!!! Only because there are no good stores or restaurants. Please point out some places to eat and shop equal to the surrounding areas. please! YOUR CLUELESS

  3. My family went to Cocos all the time. It went away so where should we go? For stores we have none, closest is in Cypress one way and Seal Bch the other. Grocery there is Stater Bros in Cypress, Vons in Eastgate sucks, its expensive and not safe anymore.. So you tell us what we should do. I have lived here for over 25 yrs and I would love to put my money in my city.

  4. Did anyone study retail rental rates in the area? How many times has a retail location died due to greed on the part of the landlords?

  5. Mr. Tortolano you don’t know what you are talking about, we don’t have any restaurant to go to we don’t have a good store for food or clothing.

  6. We (meaning West Garden Grove residents) shop and eat elsewhere because we have no shops and we have no sit-down restaurants on Valley View, On the Rocks is the only sit-down restaurant. Coco’s was always packed, so we’re all still baffled as to why it closed. There’s hardly anything left in that strip mall. The only other non-fast food restaurants that we have are Souplantation and Shakey’s. We need a real restaurant where we can be served our food like adults and have an alcohol beverage. How about a Buffalo Wild Wings, Claim Jumper, Cheesecake Factory, BJ’s, or Dave & Busters? None of these are in close proximity, so you would not be competing with the Cypress and Seal Beach or Rossmoor restaurants. And the residents from those cities would come to WGG. When Vons relocated to the old Lucky’s we were told a Trader Joe’s would move into the old Von’s, but we got a 99 Cent Store instead, which no one I know from the neighborhood shops there, it attracts the homeless and people from outside of West Garden Grove. That was a huge disappointment, and people still talk about it. And now we’ve lost our bowling alley. It’s a real shame how we have to leave the neighborhood to shop, eat, and play, when we in the neighborhood want our neighborhood retailers to thrive.

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