Most Malibu residents thought it was inevitable. When a fifth grocery store—the behemoth Whole Foods Market—opened in the Malibu Civic Center, it seemed the death knell for the small Pacific Coast Greens, which has been serving Malibu for a quarter of a century. The surprise for many was that it happened so soon—in just under six months and right before Thanksgiving.
But, according to a message printed in The Malibu Times this week, it wasn’t Whole Foods that did PC Greens in, but the same disaster pushing many Malibu community members to the point of sink-or-swim: the Woolsey Fire.
Owner Michael Osterman was unavailable for comment by Tuesday, but shared a farewell message in this week’s Malibu Times.
“My family and I would like to thank the entire Malibu community for the love and support you have given us for the past 27 years,” the message, signed by Osterman and his family, said in part, “Lonnie and I had a very special vision for Malibu, which we were able to undertake and successfully fulfill. Sadly, after the devastating Woolsey Fire, it is no longer possible for us to continue with our mission.”
By Sunday, Nov. 9, the little grocery store that specialized in organic and healthy foods will be no more.
On Monday, Nov. 4, the store many had relied on to supply healthy food choices, hot meals, deli items and more started slashing its prices in an effort to clear the shelves of inventory. By Tuesday, there were signs throughout the store advertising discounts of 30-50 percent off—of everything, including fresh food and even produce.
One employee said the store’s last day will be Sunday, provided there’s anything left to sell.
Sad-faced customers on Tuesday were seen picking up deals on items and bade farewell to longtime employees that are like family to many in town.When asked what will happen to the 40 workers at the grocer, one employee seemed upbeat, saying just about everyone has other employment lined up. He said the store management had given workers plenty of warning that this could happen. The employee, not authorized to speak for the company, said many workers will get picked up by Vintage Grocers in Malibu or Erewhon Market either in Calabasas or Santa Monica, where many of the employees live. Some, he said, may even seek work at Whole Foods.
Even with steep discounts during the store’s final days, some items were still pricier than everyday non-sale prices at stores like Sprouts Market, which also specializes in health food groceries. But around Malibu, even those who found fault with the prices at PC Greens over the years praised its ever-high quality.