High-end, SoCal-based grocer Bristol Farms, which was around for the opening of the Westfield Centre back in 2006 and has served downtown lunchers and casual dry-goods shoppers leaving Bloomingdales ever since, is closing at the end of the month perhaps just as a ten-year lease expires. The Chronicle got word of the closure via store employees who have been informing customers, and it's happening January 27.
The store was always a bit of an odd fit, despite being the only full-service grocery store for many blocks. It faced the same issue that will face the soon-to-open Trader Joe's down the block, which is introducing grocery shopping without parking to a city that's never known such a thing. Trader Joe's other urban locations in SF all provide parking albeit not enough but this block of Market between Fourth and Fifth boast something those other stores don't have, which is BART and Muni Metro stations just steps away. That is how people in other cities grocery shop, sometimes with granny carts in tow, via mass transit, but in the case of Bristol Farms it arguably never quite caught on.
Nonetheless the store offered fresh meat and fish counters, abundant produce, ready-made foods, a deli, hot and cold food bars, and a full-service bakery all in a 30,000-square-foot footprint, but it did so with Whole Foods-esque prices, and without the breadth of selection of a Whole Foods. (The new Trader Joe's at Fourth and Market will clock in at just 15,000 square feet.)
So far, this location of Bristol Farms has been an outlier too perhaps an experiment in the Northern California market that the company thought better of later as it's the only location outside of Southern California, where it got its start in the early 1980s.
Reps for Bristol Farms haven't publicly confirmed the closure yet, and maybe there will be some sort of clearance sale? Stay tuned.
Previously: Market & Fourth Trader Joe's Delayed Until 2017