Sam’s Deli, a longtime institution in the Linda Mar Shopping Center, will be closing down in two weeks’ time, instilling fear in some locals that the small coastal community will lose its home-town charm.
Established decades ago, the business has been owned and operated by owner Bill Khoury and his wife Randa for the past 15 years. Khoury, who wasn’t able to renew the deli’s lease, had no option but to close shop.
Khoury said he recently acquired legal counsel after allegedly receiving a threat from the shopping center owner. He was advised to stop talking about the closure in detail.
“I appreciate the concern and attention we’ve gotten in this hard time,” Khoury said. “But we’re advised not to speak of it further.”
The business has weathered a number of storms, including the Devil’s Slide closure that, until mid-2006, pinched the main highway artery into the city and contributed to plummeting sales.
The deli hit another tough patch when a Quizno’s Subs storewas attracted to the beachside strip mall by Kimco Realty Corporation, which took over shopping center operations approximately three years ago. Kimco has spent much time and money revamping the mall and has also brought big-name tenant Cold Stone Creamery on board.
Linda Larson, a Kimco property manager, did not return calls seeking comment. Armand Vasquez, a Kimco leasing representative, declined to comment when reached by telephone.
Planning director Michael Crabtree said the city is not very involved in the issue, noting that the first he heard of the issue was at a recent City Council meeting, when a Sam’s Deli supporter encouraged the community to rally behind the longtime merchant.
The community has thrown their support for the merchant in full force, evidenced by a petition signed by some 700 people.
Longtime resident Stella Pilgrim said she and several of her neighbors in the Rockaway Beach area are sad to see the deli go, saying it gave the city “a familial air” most cities on the Peninsula do not have.
She said she fears that more chain stores will pop into town and displace smaller, mom-and-pop stores that have become characteristic of all the Pacifica shopping districts, not just Linda Mar.
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