February 2012 home page

Harvesting a New Market

An exchange of letters between the Sandpiper and Michael Hull, spokesperson for the Plaza in January.


Dear Plaza,
We are publishing an article about the closing of Harvest Ranch in the Del Mar Plaza, for the next edition of the Del Mar Sandpiper.   Kelly Maher referred me to you for information on plans for the vacant space.

As you know the requirement for a market at the Plaza was critical to the community’s approval of the Plaza development. Many have been disappointed that several markets have been unable to put together a successful merchandising plan to attract enough customers to be financially successful. We hope that the Plaza owners might take this opportunity to do so.

What are your plans for recruiting a new tenant? We hope you are recruiting for a resident-serving business, ideally a market that would appeal to the residents as well as visitors. Many of us miss the book store/coffee shop on the Plaza level that used to draw crowds to the back patio for talks by authors and, just as important, provided a draw for the whole Plaza.

Please let us know what the Plaza owners have in mind for recruiting a “great tenant” for the vacant market space. We would certainly like to be involved somehow, either to hear your ideas or to make suggestions.

The Sandpiper Editors


Dear Sandpiper,
We are happy to help you keep the community properly briefed on the latest news about the Plaza.

Thank you as well for the suggestions on the kind of businesses you feel might make positive additions to Del Mar Plaza. Since the story broke in the San Diego Tribune, we have received many suggestions and inquiries as well. We are of course focusing our leasing efforts on retail businesses that can complement our current community of stores, services and restaurants. The report is correct; the management of both the Plaza and Harvest Ranch Market has made a mutual decision to let the market’s lease extension on their space lapse effective February 29, 2013.

Based on the original agreement with the community, which allowed for the development of Del Mar Plaza, this change comes only after more than 25 years of maintaining a market in the center. However, even long term business concepts eventually ebb and flow in the retail world.

The departure of Harvest Ranch Market will immediately provide Del Mar Plaza with a 12,000 square foot opportunity to accelerate our continued freshening of the Plaza’s retail environment. We have already moved ahead with an aggressive leasing campaign to identify new businesses to occupy every inch of that available space.

In addition to providing the Plaza with an opportunity to attract a retailer that would fit well with (existing) retailers, we will now have the ability to look at other issues required to properly enhance the Plaza - such as improved parking arrangements for our shoppers and upgrading and modernization of the center.
With due respect, your suggestion that past markets were unable to put together a successful merchandising program to attract enough customers to be financially successful, might be an oversimplification in this case.

As you might guess there are many factors that go in to operating a retail business, and the “market concept” is perhaps one of the most complex. One consideration is that the demographics of a community changes over time. Another issue is the level of customer support, especially as competitive offerings from other similar businesses increase as they become part of the city’s overall retail community.

At this time, we are not looking to fill this vacancy with a restaurant or office space, and have not ruled out another market occupying this space. In fact, we are very interested in collaborating with community members to attract an appropriate tenant to occupy this space.

Thank you for your interest, and please be assured that we will keep you totally briefed as we learn who the new retail establishments at Del Mar Plaza will be.

Michael Hull, Spokesperson Del Mar Plaza


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