Signs from the interior south wall of the Upland Trader Joe’s, which closed last month, haven’t left town: The Cooper Regional History Museum, 217 A St., has them. Director Marilyn Anderson requested and got them from the manager. They were on the wall to your left if you were checking out. Upland-themed signs that named each checkstand were claimed by a second history nonprofit, Upland Heritage.
Why “rue”? The word came up at the council meeting. So did a zillion other words: there were 22 speakers. Look for my report in Wednesday’s column.
Trader Joe’s came to Upland in 1994 and is leaving 20 years later, on Jan. 31, reports my colleague Liset Marquez. Scuttlebutt is that the landlords of the Mountain Green Shopping Center wanted to raise the rent more than the specialty grocer felt it should pay, although nobody’s saying that officially. Party City is moving to the center across the street, as Honey Baked Ham did a couple of years back, both lending credence to the rent theory.
Joe’s is an anchor of the center at 7th Street and Mountain Avenue, which also has a Kohl’s (which replaced Mervyns), CVS, Michaels (which replaced an Edwards four-plex), China Gate, Handel’s Ice Cream, Dennys and San Biagio’s Pizza, among other tenants. (A reasonably up to date list is here.)
Back in the 1990s, and even beyond, Joe’s was one of the few hip businesses out here. (*Readers remind me there was a Joe’s in the ’80s outside Montclair Plaza.)
The Upland store, a little undersized, was always jam-packed, and it paid to visit during off-hours when there might be room to maneuver the tight aisles and time to examine unfamiliar items at leisure. Visiting became less essential after Joe’s locations opened in Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga (*and Chino Hills), but Upland’s was still useful for people on the West End. (I once saw Greg Devereaux, then Ontario’s city manager, picking up a few things one evening.) Those other stores no doubt diluted traffic at the Upland location.
Leave your own thoughts on the store’s impact and departure below, or on your memories of the shopping center, which I believe dates to the 1980s, or perhaps earlier.
Joe’s isn’t slipping away in the night. A sign outside the store says they’ll have a farewell barbecue from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, serving hot dogs and drinks. The store closes that day at 9 p.m. A second farewell sign thanks its customers and notes: “All crew members from this store will be transferred to other Trader Joe’s.”
Wednesday’s column revisits Upland’s Fiscal Response Task Force, whose action-movie name I improved, you may recall, to Fiscal Imbalance Strike Team, or FIST. They met for the final time Saturday. I was there, because I care, and because I had more jokes.
Monday’s Upland City Council meeting was remarkably unruly, but don’t blame the council. Nineteen speakers trooped to the lectern to discuss homelessness and the city’s budget. And some shouted comments from their seats. Wednesday’s column describes the scene.
Some Upland firefighters sprouted mustaches in November as part of the call to draw attention to “the face of men’s health issues.” The results were variable, so variable that almost everyone became cleanshaven again Dec. 1. Friday’s column is about their effort.
The Fiscal Response Task Force (such a name!), the budget panel appointed by the City Council, had its first meeting Thursday, and I was there. Sunday’s column has the story. It also has suggestions for better acronyms and some action-movie jokes.
Under that mock-sententious headline comes the latest out of Upland City Hall, where the City Council found the will to make two decisions. One was to merge its Fire Department’s command staff with Montclair’s. The other was to kill a dog. (Really.) Wednesday’s column explains.
Seats at Monday’s Upland City Council meeting were scarce, but a chair with a view was provided for me. There was plenty to see — and do. Wednesday’s column has the details.
Sunday’s column is a profile of Upland resident Beverly Hutchinson regarding her backyard garden, started last summer after a panel discussion at the Upland library moderated by yours truly. How could I resist writing about her? A one-minute video of Hutchinson, in which she gives me a tour of her garden, can be seen here.