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Franklin Boulevard business leaders unconcerned about CVS taking over Mercado Loco space

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 - 2:17 pm

The Mexican market known as Mercado Loco will reportedly be torn down and turned into a CVS drug store, which has generated some pushback from local Mexican food aficionados and others concerned about the encroachment of chain stores. An online petition is now being circulated under the heading: “CVS: Find another location for your planned CVS store at Franklin and Sutterville. Sacramento residents love Mercado Loco!” More than 300 folks have signed in support.

But the one place you won’t find much contention with Mercado Loco vs. CVS is from longtime Franklin Boulevard business owners.

According to Frank Cable, the president of the North Franklin District Business Association board of directors, a CVS drug store will take over Mercado Loco’s property at 3710 Franklin Blvd. in the summer of 2015, tear down the building and open the CVS by early summer of 2016. This notion doesn’t bother him a bit.

“Not to take away from Mercado Loco - they’re a wonderful business and nice people, but things are still happening on the boulevard,” said Cable. “I think it’s going to be a great location (for CVS). It might be a nice improvement for that corner and bring more property tax dollars that could fund other things. There’s no big upheaval on the boulevard about this.”

Cable is actually a pharmacist by trade and has owned South Sacramento Leader Pharmacy at 5385 Franklin Blvd. since 1969. He’s currently the only pharmacist on this stretch of Franklin between Sutterville Road and Florin Rd., and isn‘t overly concerned about losing longtime customers.

“The patients at my pharmacy now would definitely miss the personal service we give them,” said Cable. “They wouldn‘t get that tender hands care at the chain pharmacies. We have a lot of patients who are special needs and older people who have trouble remembering things. We offer delivery.”

Cable, 71, also knows his time as a business owner may be ending soon, whether CVS sets up shop or not.

“In one way they present a good exit strategy for me,” said Cable. “In a couple years they may buy my files and hire my personnel. But if I was 40 or 50 years old, this might be a different story.”

Marti Brown, executive director of the North Franklin District Business Association, meanwhile doesn’t have any issue with a chain store coming to a boulevard which is dominated by mom-and-pop shops. An AutoZone shop is currently the largest national chain business in this Franklin Blvd. neighborhood. The North Franklin District Business Association comprises south Sacramento merchants on Franklin Boulevard from Broadway to near Florin Rd., and pockets of 24th Street and 47th Avenue.

“I have no issue with it, and nobody on the board is fighting it,” said Brown. “The board is made of private business owners and wouldn’t want others to interfere with private business transactions of property. It would be different if this was a Walmart, because that could have a big impact on the whole boulevard that is family owned businesses.”

While some may bemoan the impending exit of Mercado Loco, another Franklin Boulevard business is getting some new blood. The Plasencia family, which runs La Esperanza Bakery and other businesses, recently took over the aging Harvest Foods supermarket adjacent to their bakery at 5040 Franklin Blvd.

“We may have lost a Hispanic market, but some might say we’re gaining a new one,” said Cable.

Read more articles by Chris Macias

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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