Bel Air's Woodland supermarket will stay open after all, part of what Raley's officials on Friday called a "temporary moratorium" on store closures as it gears for final labor negotiations with grocery workers.
The supermarket, which anchors the Gibson Plaza shopping center at East Gibson Road and Pioneer Avenue, was scheduled to close in mid-October, along with a Raley's outlet in Pittsburg.
That news was dreaded in Woodland, where unemployment is above 12 percent. About 70 employees work at the Gibson Plaza location.
But officials at Bel Air's parent, West Sacramento-based Raley's, said a new lease agreement with landlord Sequoia Management Co. and the success of its new customer loyalty program, "Something Extra," have given the supermarket chain needed breathing room.
Raley's "has been able to work out a new lease with its landlord that enables it to keep the store open and maintain its presence in the community," officials said in a statement.
Expectations for foot traffic and further development around the plaza have been tempered since the housing market's collapse, but the Bel Air anchor remains critical to the life of the 6-year-old shopping center.
"It's good for our community and good for our tenants," said Sequoia President M.L. Morris. Morris said the lease agreement was finalized Thursday.
Morris would not discuss the terms of the deal, but said Raley's "put tremendous pressure on us to lower rent."
In a statement, Raley's president and chief executive officer Mike Teel pressed for a contract agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers while calling for "assistance and relief from our landlords."
After news this week that Comcast will shut down its Natomas call center and the announced closure of south Sacramento's Campbell Soup plant, word that Bel Air will stay open in Woodland was met with relief.
"This is great news, especially when you look at Comcast and Campbell's Soup," said Steve Roberts, an employment services specialist at Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services.
The Raley's supermarket chain has struggled to fight off competition from retailers and other grocery chains and continues to tussle in union negotiations.