San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor Tough economy hits San Carlos businesses, too… | The White Oaks Blog

Tough economy hits San Carlos businesses, too…

by Chuck Gillooley

blockbuster_logo

The economy hasn’t been tough only on homeowners in San Carlos. Local businesses are also feeling the pain — so much so that two local and very visible merchants in San Carlos have decided to pull up stake and close their doors. The first of these is Blockbuster Video on Laurel Street. Citing an “ailing economy” as the cause, Blockbuster is closing a significant number of their stores, including the San Carlos location.  One could argue that their business model is as much to blame for their downfall, as they compete in the rental market against the 800-pound gorilla Netflix. The internet must be taking a huge bite out of their business, too – virtually every television show and most movies can be streamed on the internet. Driving to a store to pick up a DVD just isn’t happening anymore.

Blockbuster hasn’t given a specific date when they will officially close their doors, but they are no longer renting videos from this location and they’re aggressively trying to liquidate their remaining inventory.

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Another local business will soon be history is the Game Crazy outlet that shares space with Hollywood Video in the Home Depot parking lot. They announced their intent to shut this location down a few months back, and they are within days of closing their doors for good in San Carlos.   I figured my kids spent enough money there to keep that place afloat, but I was wrong.  😉

It will be interesting to see how this prolonged recession will change the face of San Carlos business.      The unique collection of family-owned businesses is one of the key things that gives downtown San Carlos its charm.   I hope they’re hanging in there.

(Special thanks to blog reader Cisco Villalta for the tip on this article…)

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Comments 21
  • The only businesses that survives in downtown San Carlos are restaurants. I hope the new children’s bookstore, Reading Bug, did their homework. I’m referring to the closed Storybook Lane, Milo’s Toy Chest and that little children’s bookstore on San Carlos Avenue that is now a lighting store. Food for the brain doesn’t cut it in San Carlos. The charm of mom and pop businesses left Laurel Street five years ago. I should know it; I used to own a store on Laurel.

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    • You’re probably right, but I don’t think all of the restaurants are swimming in business right now. There are a few that I see that seem to be empty most of the time. And only today, the Daily Journal broke the news that Vics is closing after 33 years in business. No reason is given, but it makes you wonder if we’re hitting a saturation point of downtown restaurants….

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  • Well, it’s always refreshing to see new businesses open and when it is not a restaurant, I personally am compelled to take a look. But wow, Vic’s…amazing! I never thought that would go. I have noticed their business has dropped off when we go, but not to that extent. Blockbuster is yet another casualty of a business that has not responded to competition, yes the flawed business model. I am surprised they lasted this long.

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  • The Blockbuster on Woodside Road in Redwood City is also closing.

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  • We lost Good Sage as well, which along with Vic’s falls more into the local business then Blockbuster/ Game Crazy. I hope the Reading Bug makes it work – you would think with all kids running around there would be a good business in children’s books by history seems to disagree.

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    • With all the kids around in San Carlos, they’re mostly scheduled in all kinds of sports, weekday, weekend, weeknight. Walk to Highland Park and you’ll see kids sports going on till 9:30 at night. I “wish” they were this motivated in the classroom. Instead, I see sleepy kids not paying attention. Downtime consists of Ipod touch/computer/Xbox…….

      Reading is a last resort and only to meet the reading log requirements in school. In other words, the family priority in reading for pleasure isn’t there. We see it in the classroom all the time.

      Yes, I hope Reading Bug succeeds, but don”t hold your breath until parents reprioritize.

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    • I’m not surprised at the failure of the children’s bookstores, despite the number of young families – for reasons of economics and reduction of waste my preference is for the library. Based on the 10+ kids birthday parties I attend each year my observation is that the vast majority of parents would rather pick up a cheap $8 plastic toy from Target rather than support local businesses. Sad but true.

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      • What makes Reading Bug different is the selection of quality juvenile books that the library doesn’t seem to carry in a single branch. The customer service via recommendations is unmatched. they know their books. There’s a lot of “junk’ sitting on the library shelves. Sometimes, you just have to pay for quality.

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  • As for Vic’s – good riddance. I always felt the place was overpriced w/ mediocre food. In fact, the place has been generally panned on Yelp over the last few mos – new owners serving poor food w/ lousy sevice. Talk about poor business models.

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  • Vic’s and Blockbuster closed for the same reason–stupid business moves. Vic’s for overspending on a remodel that wasn’t necessary and having to jack up their prices to compensate, both of which drove away their loyal clientele. Blockbuster for moving from their El Camino frontage location with ample parking, to the Laurel St. location with ZERO parking nearby and limited visibilty/traffic.

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  • Be prepared for more businesses to close if Measure U passes. Read why the San Jose Mercury News is urging a NO on Measure U.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_13673458

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  • Once again you fail to acknowledge the Chamber endorses measure U. Look at the big picture and read the endorsement from Gary Fazzio Chamber president (of Kelly Moore)

    And btw: Blockbuster isn’t a local business, Chuck.

    see it here: http://www.protectourservices.com

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    • Thanks for your comment. Actually, I disagree with you on this one. Anyone who has a storefront in San Carlos is a “local” business, at least in my book. It’s irrelevant whether it’s a chain like Blockbuster, or a family owned business like many others — when a storefront closes on Laurel because of declining business, it’s bad for the City and a pretty strong indication that the economy is taking its toll on San Carlos’ businesses…regardless of who they are.

      Chuck

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  • Chuck’s right, the Blockbuster is a franchise. Not only is it local employees that are out of jobs, but a local businessman that isn’t making it. When a business closes its doors, it hurts the economy of the town.

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  • So when business are failing or hanging on, what a great idea to raise sales tax to “generate” revenue!

    Of course this is tongue in cheek, and excuse me for merging the two blogs together, but this is further evidence that if our local businesses are to have a fighting chance, they should not be anchored down with the highest sales tax on the peninsula.

    We need another solution to the budget deficit and it is further cuts that add up to the total needed. If not who is going to pay this sales tax increase? the business owners shutting their doors? San Carlos’ unemployed?

    Let’s finally get it right and SOLVE the financial problems we are facing; not throw money we don’t have at it.

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  • While I am sad to see a store close on Laurel Street, it’s great that Netflix is succeeding. Walmart and Blockbuster waged a war against what was once a small Silicon Valley company and they lost. Netflix employs a number of people in San Carlos and we should cheer them on.

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  • Sorry Chuck, I really disagree with you. Blockbuster may be a franchise, but in my mind it’s not a “local business” by any means. Category killers – like Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble – are the reason that truly local, independent stores like Reading Bug and the local video store struggle so much and why so many have failed. A job at Blockbuster is the same as a job at a local store, so the “jobs are lost on Laurel Street when Blockbuster goes out of business” argument is a bit silly. I say Good Riddance Blockbuster! Now if Starbucks would leave, then we could support local stores like Vanilla Moon and others.

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    • No argument here. The point I was trying to get across was that “a business” on Laurel was closing its doors due to unfavorable business conditions, not so much it’s a local business or a chain/franhise. But I’m with you — I’m glad it’s not a truly “local” business that failed, and I would very much like to see the family owned businesses like Cowabunga, Vanilla Moon, and the Reading Bug dominate the store fronts on Laurel.

      Thanks for writing in…

      CG

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