When asked if there was produce, the afternoon produce manager replied, "There used to be."

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At first glance, nothing seems too out of place at the market on South Van Ness Avenue and 23rd Street. Employees are restocking shelves with packaged meats and opening freezer doors to add more frozen food.

But there are also several empty shelves, and no one’s really saying why.

For a few weeks, rumors have been swirling: DeLano’s IGA is going to close. Customers have been told a number of things, each hearing different timelines for when this would happen — anywhere from this week to never.

“The cashier tried to dodge my questions on [the store] closing and said, ‘We aren’t closing. We still have another month or so to go,” one reader commented on Mission Loc@l. “I said, ‘Are they not telling you anything?’ She answered, ‘Of course they aren’t telling us anything.’”

As Mission Loc@l reported, Harley DeLano, owner of the five “locally owned and operated family of stores,” said it’s their policy not to comment and that the store is “operating as normal.”

But when asked whether the South Van Ness Avenue DeLano’s IGA was closing, the afternoon produce manager, Kenny, didn’t sugarcoat anything.

“It’s inevitable,” he said.

It’s only a matter of time before the landlord and the previous owner settle the situation, he added, saying rent has been going up and that business — and the number of shipments — has been slowing down since the beginning of the year.

By contrast, another employee, Rachel, insisted the store is not closing and that she’ll be okay.

“I’ll retire,” she said when asked what she would do if the store does close.

But some of the customers aren’t so sure what they’ll do if DeLano’s goes out of business.

Barbaraeata McCulp lives a few blocks away from the store and said she’ll be sad to see it go. She’ll have to take the bus all the way across town to go somewhere else — she doesn’t like the Foods Co on Folsom and 14th streets. But when told that the employees didn’t say much, she wasn’t surprised.

“If I was losing my house, do you think I’d tell everyone?” she said. “This is their home — they’re not going to run around telling everyone they’re losing their jobs.”

Kimberly Chua

Kimberly is currently a journalism major and business minor at San Francisco State University. Come May 2010, she will be moving on to bigger and better things, i.e. living and breathing journalism, not...

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7 Comments

  1. It’s a block from my house, so of course I go there. I have for years. It’s been “shrinking” since DeLano took it over, precipitously so recently. They never really gave it a go. It’s been as if they wanted to close all along, but, for some reason couldn’t, until now. What’s next? Trash and graffiti, probably.

  2. It’s really convenient for me, because it’s so close to my house, but ever since it became Delano’s I’ve avoided it whenever possible. Prices are high and selection was poor even before the shelves started getting so naked. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Cala.

  3. The City (and we neighbors) should ensure that the property owner is held accountable to prevent the site from becoming an unsafe neighborhood eye sore.

  4. uh, sfmissionman, you know that drug deals go down in that parking lot all the time, right?

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