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Decades-old grocery store closure shocks Bay Area community

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Rumors swirled through Central Marin over the past week about the future of one of the area’s only budget grocery stores.

Unfortunately, the rumors are true.

The Lucky supermarket in downtown Larkspur will close on April 14 at 6 p.m., according to Save Mart, who owns the grocer. 

“Lucky has been serving the community for decades and we will remain committed to serving the community at our full-service Novato Lucky store,” the company said in a statement to The Standard. The company added it would offer its store associates jobs at other locations.

The Lucky grocery store in Larkspur will close in April 2023. | Maryann Jones Thompson/The Standard

“Lucky has the best cashier team ever,” said Aubrey Wade of Corte Madera, who has shopped at Lucky for more than 20 years and echoed many of the dozens of commenters on social media site Nextdoor about the store’s pending closure. “They’re the least overpriced store for groceries in Marin—they even had toilet paper during the pandemic!”

Though the area’s properties have become more expensive in recent years, the Central Marin towns of Larkspur and Corte Madera boomed after WWII as bedroom communities for working-class families. Today, one-fourth of the area’s residents are senior citizens, many of whom have shopped at the market since it opened in 1982. 

Though Save Mart was acquired by a private equity company last year, the company did not comment on why it was leaving the space. Some workers said the store was not renewing its lease. Lucky closed its pharmacy next door last year.

While some residents on Nextdoor cheered the demise of the downmarket store in the decades-old building and hoped for a Whole Foods-type specialty grocer to replace it, others worried about losing a local outlet to buy basic groceries at budget prices.

“The City of Larkspur does not have the authority to cause a particular store to take over the site,” said Mayor Gabe Paulson, but added that the city plan prefers some type of grocery store to be present. 

The market stands on a busy Larkspur corner that has been the target of redevelopment for years, but the city says it does not know of any plans to that effect.

The Vons supermarket company owns the grocery store building and some of the parking lot, another party owns the rest of the parking and the adjacent strip mall, while a third party owns the gas station on the corner.  

“Any redevelopment will probably require cooperation between the different ownership groups,” added Mayor Paulson.