Monday, July 27, 2015

99 Ranch Supermarket Replaces Ralphs Grocery Store in Alhambra, Stirring Backlash

Damned rednecks, heh.

I've got a 99 Ranch right across the street in my Korea- and China-town neighborhood. Hardly anyone speaks English over there. Spanish maybe, since there's also a hand-car wash at the shopping center as well.

Welcome to 21st century California. You'd think those Alhambra yokels would get with the program.

At the Los Angeles Times, "In Alhambra, an Asian market replaces a Ralphs and stirs cultural anxiety":
As classic diners and soda fountains gave way to double-decker strip malls packed with Chinese restaurants, Margie Myers, a resident of Alhambra for 64 years, didn't say much.

She weathered friends and neighbors moving away and endured the steady retreat of English from storefront signs.

But the change she couldn't accept came in June, when the Ralphs on Alhambra's Main Street closed and was replaced by 99 Ranch, an Asian supermarket.

"I know the city's changing," Myers said. "That's just inevitable. But does it have to change our supermarket?"

Few hallmarks of demographic change generate as much controversy as the death of the neighborhood grocery store.

This spring, Alhambra residents packed City Council meetings at the news that the Ralphs on Main Street was closing, though the city had no role in the renting of the space. Rumors flew of Chinese ownership driving up rental prices to kick Ralphs out, though the property owners are not Chinese and Ralphs decided not to renew an expiring lease.

The debate over Ralphs contained all the fears and frictions found in any rapidly changing community. Longtime residents couldn't accept that demographic change had reached their grocery baskets. Immigrants and newcomers complained of xenophobia and racism in the opposition's protests.

Alhambra's conflict echoes in communities across the Southland. Latino grocery stores move into South Los Angeles and a mini-Wal-Mart battles for market share in Chinatown, said Min Zhou, a professor of sociology at UCLA.

"It's almost like all of the fear and anxiety over demographic change focuses on a grocery store," Zhou said.

Since Ralphs Store No. 199 closed in March, Myers has been driving three miles farther to Pavilions in South Pasadena for her groceries. It's a short journey that begins in one era of the city and takes her through another.

She backs her Chevy Tahoe out onto a quiet tree-lined street of ranch-style homes. Her father, an Army veteran and former professional baseball player, bought their house new in 1947 for $10,700, and the city identified it as a historic neighborhood in 2005. She's lived here all her life...
Embrace the suck, lady. Oops, I mean embrace the change! Embrace the change!