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Gelson’s considering changes

Reports of the Gelson’s grocery store chain considering changes to downsize or sell have some loyal customers upset.

For now, no decisions have been made and it may take months to evaluate the changing conditions and customer demands.

“They have more of a selection and I feel comfortable here,” said shopper Sheila Robin.

“I come here because if you want something that is not on their shelves and it’s not here they will get it,” said shopper Chuck Coleman. He recalls living in the San Fernando Valley and shopping at the second ever Gelson’s store there.

The Arden Group owns Gelson’s and says it’s exploring alternatives including a possible sale.

Gelson’s has 16 stores.

The Santa Barbara location is the farthest north.

Most of the other stores are in up scale areas where specialty brands, and unique food items are sought after. Customer preferences however, appear to be changing.

Another store with a flashy arrival locally has been Fresh and Easy on Milpas St. The parent company however of that chain is also looking at options including a sale. Plans for a Goleta store have gone quiet.

Some shoppers said the store fits many of their needs but no all.

“I go to different stores for different things,” said shopper Peggy Fletcher. “Like I wouldn’t come here for paper towels. I come here for a lot of good meat and fish. Their prepared food, you could eat here every night, it’s very good.”

Many customers said despite promotions and discounts at other stores, there’s no substitute for quality and service and that’s what they get at Gelson’s.

“They are very happy and the staff is very helpful for whatever you need,” said Robin.

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