Save Mart is closing its Clinton and Blackstone avenues store, citing competition, the company said Tuesday.
The news comes just weeks after Fresno learned it would lose Vons stores near Blackstone and Ashlan avenues and First Street and Nees Avenue.
The Save Mart store is one of a few full-line grocery stores in its neighborhood, and will close June 27. All the store’s 62 employees will be moved to other area Save Marts, said spokeswoman Stacia Hill Levenfeld. Prescriptions at the Save Mart pharmacy will be transferred to the Save Mart at First Street and Bullard Avenue.
Save Mart owns the property and a new tenant could already be in the works, but nothing is finalized yet.
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“We’re in the process of securing a new tenant,” Hill Levenfeld said.
The grocery store business has been extremely competitive for years. A new Walmart Supercenter opened at Ashlan and Blackstone avenues in January, but Hill Levenfeld declined to say if that specifically played a role in the decision to close the Save Mart at Clinton and Blackstone.
“Over the last several months the competition has become more intense and we made the decision to close the store,” she said.
City Council Member Clint Olivier, whose district covers the area, said he doesn’t know the retail business well enough to know “if the presence of a Walmart for 90 days can drive an established grocery store three miles away out of business.”
Nevertheless, the closure is a blow to central Fresno.
“I think the loss of this Save Mart to the surrounding neighbors is like a one-two punch in the gut,” Olivier said. “We’ve lost Vons and now Save Mart.”