Concord feels pinch of closures of two 99 Cents Only Stores

Concord feels pinch of closures of two 99 Cents Only Stores

Concord feels pinch of closures of two 99 Cents Only Stores
Customers to the Willow Pass Road location of 99 Cents Only Stores will see the store remain open through early June. (Photo by David Scholz)

CONCORD, CA (Apr. 6, 2024) — 99 Cents Only Stores’ closures are the latest ripple effects to shake the local retail landscape. That pending change will be felt even more acutely among some Concord demographics.

The Willow Pass Road Park & Shop location, near the Monument Corridor, and the one at 4665 Clayton Rd., in a strip mall anchored by a TJ Maxx close to Bailey Road, near the Canterbury Village district of Concord, are among 371 store locations across  California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

The company set June 3 as the target date for the stores to close. Until then, as long as trucks keep coming with merchandise to put on store shelves, stores will stay open.

“They cater to a population segment that is conscious of every cent they spend,” said Concord Mayor Edi Birsan who lamented those feeling 99 Cents’ impact, including seniors. “It reduces the supply of low cost goods.”

Bitter pill

The “Thank You’s” from shoppers to staffers of the Park & Shop’s 99 Cents Only Stores location have started in earnest. (Photo by David Scholz)

Employees got the news April 4 after word came down from the corporate office about 1 p.m., said Vianey Rios. He has been part of the management team at the Willow Pass Road location for three years.

It was a bitter pill to have to share with the rank and file as employees, some of whom have been on staff at the Willow Pass Road store for decades, will get “nothing,” she said.

Company officials said they huddled with financial and legal advisers in hopes of finding a way forward to sustain operations.

“Following months of actively pursuing these alternatives, the company ultimately determined that an orderly wind-down was necessary and the best way to maximize the value of 99 Cents Only Stores’ assets,” according to a company statement.

Along with the employees, Rios feels bad for regular customers who she has seen coming into the store 2 or 3 days a week for the low prices, namely for fruit and vegetables. While their customers would go initially to nearby Las Montañas Supermarket, they came back to 99 Cents. But, soon that option will disappear, she said.

Not a huge surprise

In light of the word a month ago about Dollar Stores announcing its plans to close some locations, 99 Cents Only Stores’ announcement did not come as a huge surprise to Economic Development Manager Marie Suvansin.

On the positive side, though, she’s heard good market conditions exist in Concord for its Dollar Store locations to stay open going forward.

Furthermore, a leasing broker has told Suvansin that different retailers have expressed interest in leasing a pair of sites in the Clayton Road strip mall where the 99 Cents Only Stores now resides. This might bode well for the future economic fortunes of Concord’s southeast side.

“So I am optimistic,” Suvansin said.

Read more Concord news.

David Scholz
David Scholz

David Scholz is back in journalism as a freelance writer and photographer after nearly two decades in education. Prior to moving into teaching in 2000, he worked as a full-time journalist since 1988 for rural community and small daily newspapers in Central Ohio and Northern Nevada, and later in California with The Business Journal in Fresno and dailies in the Bay Area, including The Oakland Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. More recently Scholz also worked in an editing, writing, and page layout role with the Rossmoor News.