Alameda merchants fight against new Orchard Supply

The approval for a new Orchard Supply Hardware in Alameda, Calif., is being appealed and will go before the Alameda City Council on Sept. 16, according to a report in the Alameda Journal.

The Planning Board gave approval in July for the Orchard Supply to be established at Alameda Towne Centre in a former Safeway, with the size of the building being increased by 1,500 square feet to 38,730 square feet. Also in the plans is an outdoor garden center on the north side of the building, as well as a 35-foot front parapet, new landscaping, benches and bicycle racks.

The appeal -- filed on behalf of two local hardware stores, two nurseries and a private citizen -- claims that the Orchard Supply would undercut local hardware stores and cause increased traffic and pollution.

“It directly impacts the local economy and shifts tax dollars from local merchants to Orchard Supply,” said Phillip Jaber, owner of Encinal Hardware, one of the appellants. “I think we would be more apt to compete with a Home Depot. Orchard is treading right on our playing field, taking our gravy items away -- those widgets you sell once or twice a year that help you stay connected to the owners of older homes in town.”

The push to open the new Orchard Supply comes from Harsch Investment Properties, which owns Alameda Towne Centre and wants to increase the number of anchor businesses there. Among the anchor businesses already open are Trader Joe’s and Borders book store.

Orchard Supply Hardware, which is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., has 86 hardware and garden retail stores throughout California.