Stores changing at Blackhawk Plaza Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:43 am
Blackhawk Plaza will be seeing a lot of changes in the near future as some stores and services are leaving and new ones are moving in. In two cases, one business is leaving and a similar one is being slotted into the same space. One such case is Bally's; the gym is leaving its space, to be replaced by East Coast-based Crunch Fitness.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 9:36 PM
Posted by Danville mom, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:43 am
Maybe I will actually shop or eat at Blackhawk Plaza. It has not attracted very popular or interesting stores for years. I loved Blackhawk plaza when my kids were really young, to walk around and look at the ducks and the Koi.
Posted by Seth, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2009 at 9:09 am
I've noticed that so many Cold Stones are closing since the Wall Street Journal ( Web Link ) and others revealing that they're engaged in kickbacks and besmirching their harsh treatment of their franchise owners.
I refuse to buy their ice cream when I know they're forcing franchise owners into bankruptcy, taking their homes and causing them to raid their 401k's--all in the name of corporate greed. As one of my friends put it, how can we scramble to recycle paper and plastic and then patronize Cold Stone? Isn't recycling all about the care of people?
After reading that Wall Street Journal article, Baskin Robbins ice cream sure does taste a lot better me.
Posted by Mimi, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm
I live within 5 mins. of the Blackhawk Plaza, but rarely shop there because the prices are higher and the selection is small. I used to stroll their when the kids were younger to see the ducks & koi. They're trying to attract young families with the small tot play area & Halloween activities. And the Friday summer concerts have been so successful that there is not enough seating. However, they haven't done much to attract the families with kids ages 5-18 or senior citizens. What about hosting the local high school instrumental music bands (symphonic, orchestra, jazz, marching band, etc. they're all award-winning!)or choirs for concerts? The music programs need the financial support and the concerts allow them to showcase their talent & hardwork, and the community gets a free concert!
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Walnut Creek neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm
Seth, if you were to look beyond that one WSJ article I think you'll find many restaurant franchise systems operate the same way - some franchised locations succeed, some fail. I used to teach business classes and met with many franchisees, including Cold Stone ones. I was amazed at how many didn't have business plans, didn't know budgets and were not even involved in their restaurants. And when they failed - it was everyone else's fault but their own. In my opinion that WSJ article was very flawed and offered a very uninformed opinion with "facts" supplied by bitter ex franchisees.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm
The reason why so many stores leave the center is because as soon as Blackhawk Plaza Center finds a new concept, then they force their current tenants out to make room for the new concept in hopes of improving their center. This happened to Blue Footed Boobie, Alberto's Cantina, Little Gym, and now Cold Stone. So its not that the owners or franchisees are leaving on their own, but being forced out becasue they can't afford a fourty, fifty, or sixty thousand raise in rent or CAM charges.
Posted by Don, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 27, 2009 at 6:47 am
"I've noticed that so many Cold Stones are closing since the Wall Street Journal and others revealing that they're engaged in kickbacks and besmirching their harsh treatment of their franchise owners. I refuse to buy their ice cream when I know they're forcing franchise owners into bankruptcy, taking their homes and causing them to raid their 401k's--all in the name of corporate greed. As one of my friends put it, how can we scramble to recycle paper and plastic and then patronize Cold Stone? Isn't recycling all about the care of people?"
Folks, you don't know the half of it. As a former Cold Stone franchisee, I can vouch for the validity of the above statements. I am one of literally hundreds who have lost their life savings, homes and families because of CS lies and corporate greed. They actually make more money by driving us out of business every 2 years or so, and then sell the store(s) to new unsuspecting franchisees for new franchise fees. And it's all totally LEGAL!
After reading that Wall Street Journal article, Baskin Robbins ice cream sure does taste a lot better me.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Aug 29, 2009 at 7:08 pm
Yes Sharon, that's exactly what happened. Blackhawk Plaza center's management should be ashamed of what they have done to these guys. You should go and talk to their owners. Alberto still has his pleasanton location and the owners of Blue Footed Boobie own Fat Cactus and Ascona's Pizza across the street by Safeway. The sad thing is that these were the tenants that toughened up and managed to run a business during the center's year long construction. Man, that place was like a war zone and full of dust at all times but these guys managed to stay in business and keep the center going and now that the construction is over with, the center rewarded them by forcing all of them out and are brining high end stores that I certainly can't afford. SHAME ON BLACKHAWK PLAZA CENTER! You are not going to see me there anymore.
Posted by JWP, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2009 at 8:52 am
Sorry, BHP just won't make it. For over 20 years now, this is where business go to die, no matter how many times they "shine the place up". The owners are out of touch with what the community wants and needs. The overwhelming majority of people in the area are simpy "cash flowing life" and will not pay the premuim prices offered in BHP. We all know the place is a ghost town during the day. Just talk to the commmunity, not one person says "Wow, this is THE place - I'm shopping there because.........." There seems to be an increasing negative sentiment towoards the BHP owners (based in Oregon) and their stong arm tactics against former tennants. Draegers will be gone once they have to start paying rent.
Bulldoze it and build nice park around the exsiting water features. Keep the theatre though..that is the one thing that has worked for 20 years.
Posted by Sharon, a member of the San Ramon Valley High School community, on Aug 31, 2009 at 12:29 pm
Thanks Jim. It's good to know where to find Alberto's Cantina - I really liked them and haven't been back to the Plaza since they left. I'm with JWP - there is really nothing there for me to bother with (other than the theatre).
Posted by Local Business Owner, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm
First, I'm a little disappointed in both the Danville Weekly's Geoff Gillette for putting a little bit of spin on this in the Westside "Danville" direction. You have to realize there's so many components to the previous failures in the plaza. First being a lack of residents within a 10 mile radius, and second being an general apathetic approach to property management. There was none. You had two previous owners waiting for the dirt to go up in value so they could sell off the property...thus taking any rent they could and really could care less about a proper tenant mix.
This is quite sad, but really has very little to do with the plaza, or the current owners ability to manage. She seems to be doing quite well in the management aspect. Unfortunately, Cold Stone operates their franchise system so that the franchisor is guaranteed profits, and the franchisee is always a struggling manager. Very sad.
Mr. Gillette should probably have done a little reading and research of his own and changed the headline to "Drowning in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for over a year, excercise giant Bally's leaving Blackhawk"
The overall bad service, industry tricks, and poor environment gave the perfect opportunity for industry leading Crunch Fitness to come in and take over.
Ohh....and the best for last. Don't even get me started on both Alberto's and the Blue Footed Booby. For as many people who liked them, there are at least a 100 who hate them. If you don't buy it, I encourage you to view the YELP links below, and for kicks, you can look at Ascona Pizza and the Fat Cactus if you aren't satisfied.
The bottom line folks, is that this is the most trying time our country as seen in many years. It's hard enough for local businesses to succeed when times are good, it's even harder now. And as locals yourselves, you should take a step back and listen to yourselves. Your apathy and general bad outlook on the plaza is only hurting your children. Don't forget the sales tax revenue that a shopping center like the plaza produces for you, your pretty roads and nice clean grass on Tassajara.
The new property owners are doing everything they can to complete the best possible renovation and proper tenant mix in the worst possible times. I can assure you that the new Blackhawk Plaza in 2-3 years time will be the destination it always should have been.
Posted by Leslie, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2009 at 10:05 am
Bravo Local Business Owner! The lack of community support is appalling. Seems people WANT everything to fail here. Crunch is a much better fit than dated Bally's. Tuttimelon is awesome. Alberto's and Booby were both mediocre at best. The economy sucks. We should be rallying our support for local business. Instead of sculking about and waiting to say "I told you so". People have been willing the demise of Draeger's since day one. Yet on they go. It's amazing the seeming joy people take in others misfortunes. Guess it makes them feel clever. The general economy will only impove when the local one does. Please Google The 3/50 Project.
BHP is a beautiful treasure. Time to appreciate and support it.
Posted by Judy, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm
Local Business Owner seems more like Blackhawk Plaza management. We love Cold Stone and the one in Blackhawk is the only one we go to eventhough we live closer to the one that's in san ramon. The owner at the Blackhawk location is always nice and a pleasant person to be around and she takes the time to get to know all of her customers. We'll be really sad to see her leave.
Leslie, how are you rallying your support for one local business if another one has to be sacrificed for it!
Posted by Ron, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2009 at 8:24 pm
I love cold stone n this is the 3rd but best owner. Most of our friends like the grill, sushi and ice cream. I've shopped at deaegrs but it's sometimes a bit too expensive. The theatre is now in better shape so we now will go here rather then drive to Dublin. For the mgmt company I believe u need to rethink how your tenants can grow. They grow u grow too. Every shop or anchor that leaves from Sak's, Gottschalks to Bally's people will decide the venue is not worth it. They'll elect to go to Pleasanton for Nordstroms or Macy's. For boutiques they will go to downtown and buy from local owners. BHP mgmt company you need to learn your DNA of your clients and the community or you should sell it.
Posted by Danville Resident, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:51 am
What local owners are you referring to. Coldstone,Geoffrey Scott ( two stores & one in Danville) Dollhouse,Dabble,Dolce,Expressions,Dentist,Cartelligent,Pizza, Salonfortysixty,Methany's,Sushi,Doodlebug,Even Crunch owners live in The area, probably long before you ever thought of living here. Others to follow from downtown also. Even Draegers is local to the Bay Area, Safeway? Trader Joes? Exactly! Keep with positive attitude, Im sure the stores arent looking forward to your visits.
Posted by DVILLEMOM, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Sep 4, 2009 at 6:41 am
Want to fix the lack of business at the Plaza? Three words:
H&M, Forever 21, Abercrombie. There are thousands of preteen, teenage girls and trendy mothers who would support these businesses in the plaza. The current retail stores in the plaza are out of step with what the girls and young women wear.
Posted by Anon, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm
Recent common area maintenance fees will force out tenants who did not have the foresight to obtain a CAM charge cap in their leases. One merchant recently received a bill for $67,000 in CAM charges. Others have received bills in the $50,000 range. CAM charges are billed to these tenants every year, in addition to the high monthly rents currently being paid. Few tenants can stay in the plaza under that financial burden.
The problems in Blackhawk Plaza are compounded because many residents are desperately overspending in a sad attempt to mimic a Beverly Hills lifestyle, lease unaffordable cars and buy plastic body parts. They represent the tragedy of American consumerism. They cannot afford to shop at the plaza or support this beautiful shopping center within their community.
Posted by Curious, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2009 at 9:01 am
I am really pleased with the work being done at Blackhawk Plaza, and the new restaurants especially are a big upgrade to the two that left. I wonder how many of the negative posts have been written by the former owners of the Blue Footed Booby, who are trying to draw traffic to their poor food eatery down the street?
Posted by SKB, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm
The new shops and restaurants at the Plaza are so exciting!! Why all the negative feedback? These are all small business owners taking a risk during the recession and trying to not only support their families to make a living, but bringing cute fun concepts to the BlackHawk area. Downtown Danville is a ghost town and sometimes driving up to Walnut Creek is a chore. How can you object to a new mexican restaurant with a tequila bar, a hip hair salon, Anthropologie, a sexy and classy lingerie store, a new spa, a yogurt stop, a teen clothing store, a bookstore, toy store, diner, wine bar, etc.
Not to mention the movie theater, concert events, museum, ponds and playground...how can you not enjoy this gem in our community? Just give the new concept stores a chance...
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Oct 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm
I have often heard the phrase "we are all Costco shoppers" from residents of the Blackhawk and surrounding communities. They seem to enjoy their illusion of material wealth but cannot or will not support many of the merchants in this community. There are world class shops, restaurants and health care providers, as well the upscale Draeger's Market, in Blackhawk Plaza. If these merchants are not supported by the community, they will leave and the failure cycle of the plaza will continue, in turn decreasing the surrounding home and property values. So come on, you Costco shoppers! Listen to SKB. Support your community.
Posted by Mo, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Oct 13, 2009 at 3:23 pm
Typical Blackhawk resident response, Diablo Bill. Why don't you give the new "fro-yo" shop a try, instead of turning up your nose at it before it is even open? You might find you like it, and give your community merchants support at the same time.
Posted by Coldstone rocks!, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Oct 23, 2009 at 2:21 pm
Like you said Diablo Bill, who needs another "fro-yo" shop. Everywhere you look now, there's a fro-yo shop. I mean there are so many of them now that they are even running out of names.. tuttimelon, what kind of a name is that??
Posted by long time local, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm
Give the Blackhawk crowd what they want and need. These businesses would do well in Blackhawk Plaza:
Detox center, unemployment office, Dollar Store, Automobile repossession agency, check cashing store, Salvation Army outlet, recycling center, furniture rental agency, another fake jewelry store, credit counselor, bankruptcy attorney, and bookstore selling Suze Orman tapes.