Fallas Discount Store closes in Santa Maria after 8 years | Government and politics


The Fallas Discount Store in Santa Maria Town Center West recently announced that it will be closing eight years after its controversial opening.

A sign posted outside the store reads “Closing, 10-50% off, we’ve lost our lease,” but Fallas’ parent company, National Stores Inc., owns the 85,000-square-foot building. National Stores headquarters in Gardena did not respond to multiple requests for confirmation of the reason for the closure or a moving date for the store which sells goods including clothing, shoes and bedding.

National Stores Inc., which also owns value-priced stores Anna’s Linens, Factory 2-U and more, filed for bankruptcy in 2018. As a result, it closed 74 of more than 300 locations nationwide, including including a Fallas store in Lompoc.

“This is a great opportunity to really focus on our downtown revitalization plan,” Patino said Wednesday in response to news of the Santa Maria store closing. “There’s so much potential for this space, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.”

The company bought the former home of the Mervyn department store in 2013. After the purchase, months of discussions ensued as the Santa Maria City Council debated whether or not to allow the company to move in. .

The debate has largely centered on location, with several members arguing that the discount merchandiser doesn’t fit the city. Plan specific to the city center, before agreeing to move forward. At the time, Mayor Alice Patino hoped the site would be used for a more upscale retailer that could attract customers from across the Central Coast.

“The Fallas will not be a regional draw at all,” Patino said at the time.

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Ultimately, the board voted 4-1, with Patino dissenting, to approve a discretionary permit for the business to open. According to the specific downtown plan, any business wishing to move into a space larger than 5,000 square feet must obtain a special permit approved by the city council before moving forward, rather than the standard permits issued by the city. planning committee.

After investing more than $4 million in the plot, Fallas opened in September 2013.

The Fallas car park was to become the home of Downtown Fridays when the weekly summer event first launched in 2016. The popular gathering sees more than 2,000 people fill the parking lot each week for vendors, live music and more, according to its website. The sixth year of Downtown Fridays kicks off April 1.

In 2019, the city issued a call for local developers to submit proposals for several downtown areas, including two plots next to Fallas in the downtown west parking lot. In January 2020, the downtown revitalization committee had heard arguments to turn this area into retail stores, embellished public spaces and apartments, among other things.

The committee had yet to make a decision on any of the proposals when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which halted business development around the world. Issues with public health orders and rising building material costs continued to slow development, according to reports from the International Monetary Fund.

There are currently no developments in the Downtown West area, according to the Planning Division’s list of major developments, which was updated in January.

The Downtown Revitalization Committee last met on March 23 to review preliminary designs for the streetscapes and crosswalks. Although the commission meets monthly, a meeting date in April has not yet been set.

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