Palisades Vintage Closes Friday Morning
Here on Thursday. Gone today, Friday, March 15.
The rumors about Vintage Grocers leaving Caruso’s Palisades Village and being replaced by an Erewhon natural foods market are true. Even though there was never any official warning from spokespersons for Vintage, Erewhon or Caruso, a sign went up in front of the former Vintage this morning, welcoming Erewhon.
“I’m so sad,” said resident Sandy Eddy, who was in front of the store. “We were there last night to pick up dinner, and Vintage just catered a party I had on Sunday. From what employees were saying, you knew it was going to happen, but just not that fast.”
Another Vintage fan was Cindy Simon, who was helping with an installation on the Village Green across from the store. “We ate there with some frequency,” she said, mentioning how easy it was to park in the underground lot, take the elevator up and arrive by the hot- food bar. “The food quality and the service were great.”
Michelle Villemaire, who was in the process of yarn-bombing the Green, commented that “it was so easy to shop there. Yesterday we bought a blueberry pie.”
She asked, “Maybe they didn’t give it enough time?” The question that many residents asked was “Why did the upscale grocery store close in less than six months?”
Another reader wrote this morning, “Swarms of black Escalades and dark suits in the village right now. It looks like a funeral is happening here, and I guess, in a way, it is.”
Vintage Grocers spokesperson Melissa Darpino was asked why the store closed and what would happen to employees. She had not responded by post time late this afternoon.
But in a statement in a March 15 The Malibu Times story “Vintage Grocers Abruptly Closes Westlake Village, Palisades Location,” the paper quoted a representative for Vintage Grocers, “Malibu-based homegrown market, Vintage Grocers, has joined forces with like-minded, natural goods store, Erewhon Market. The two independent grocers are partnering to rebrand Vintage Grocers’ Palisades Village location, which will reopen this summer as Erewhon’s fifth location.
“Vintage will also be closing its Westlake Village store, given its proximity to Erewhon’s market in The Summit at Calabasas,” the statement said.
Caruso was also asked for comment but had also not responded. (The story will be updated if there is a response.)
One of the workmen at the Village Green site on Swarthmore was disappointed. “They had the best bacon,” he said about the Vintage hot bar.
Resident David Williams, who owned two eateries, Misto and Mogan’s Café before leaving to become the private chef for heavyweight boxer Wladimir Lkitschki for 12 years, was asked about Vintage.
“I liked it,” said the former Chamber of Commerce president. “They had good fresh fish and fresh meat.
“I’m not excited about Erewhon. It’s so expensive,” said Williams, who noted that he worked as a private chef for a family that insisted he only use Erewhon, so he’s familiar with the store.
Another resident who didn’t wish to be named, commented that Erewhon is expensive and that not everyone here is rich. He joked, “Don’t they know people have spent all their money trying to get their kids into college?”
In a story about Erewhon last summer, “Good Food” writer Erin Bunch quipped, “Okay, so if Whole Foods is known as ‘Whole Paycheck,’ Erewhon could be nicknamed ‘Whole Bank Account.'”
Vintage Grocers was one of the first stores, along with McConnell’s Ice Cream and Cinepolis Bay Theater, to announce they would be part of Caruso’s mall, which opened last September 22.
A good neighbor to Palisades residents, Vintage helped with the pie-eating contest during our town’s Fourth of July celebration last July, before the store had even opened. The grocer also supported the Woman’s Club with food—as recently as March 5, when it provided food trays for the club’s annual fashion show. And when trash started to overflow on the Village Green because of foot traffic from the mall, the store took the extra garbage bags to help the nonprofit stay within its meager budget.
Bummer. On oh-so-many levels. Thank you for your insightful articles in this edition, Sue. In all editions, in fact. You are an excellent journalist – and fun to read into the bargain!
I helped open this store. Rumors circulating for at least the last month. My last day at work was Wednesday, expected to return yesterday, but instead I received a phone call late morning Friday telling me the store was closed and not to return to work. We were never told ANYTHING in advance of the closing by Corporate. The only way we knew anything was brewing was from our customers who asked what was happening on a daily basis! So sad.
I reached out to Vintage’s Melissa Darpino who sent me the following message:
“To my knowledge, no one had advanced notice on the closure, but yes there were rumors.I was told that team members were receiving severance, and that our human resources director, Carlos, should be contacted if any team member has a question.I do wish I had additional information to give Kupo, but if he would like to email me, I am happy to put him in touch with Carlos to review his pay and what to expect.”