New College Terrace market might not be allowed to use JJ&F name

This rendering by architect Ken Hayes shows what the new grocery store at 2100 El Camino Real will look like.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto residents rejoiced when they heard JJ&F Market would reopen at its old location in Palo Alto’s College Terrace neighborhood — but the family who founded the grocery store 70 years ago hasn’t decided whether to allow the more recent owners of the store to use their name.

JJ&F was named after Joe, John and Frank Garcia in the 1940s.

John Garcia — the son of Joe and nephew of John and Frank — says he and his cousins allowed the Khoury family to use the name when they took over the store in 2011. JJ&F Market is a corporate name owned by Garcia and two of his cousins.

“We left it on the building to help them out, to keep it going,” Garcia, who now manages the Mollie Stone’s grocery store in Palo Alto, told the Post yesterday. “The building was falling apart. They needed every help they could to keep going.”

The Khourys took over the store knowing that it would close when the building was knocked down to build the 57,900-square-foot College Terrace Center, a development at 2100 El Camino Real that includes office space, affordable housing and an 8,000-square-foot grocery store.

A new store called College Terrace Market opened in the new development, but closed in January after six months in business.

Before, the Khourys were taking over the business on a short-term basis in a dilapidated building. Now that the Khourys will be opening a store in a new development on a long-term basis, Garcia said his family will have to decide whether it’s still appropriate to let them inherit the name.

Garcia noted that the Khourys are “really nice people” and that his son worked for them in high school.

A name with history

“It’s not just a name,” Garcia said. “It’s got a history, and it’s also got a lot of sentimental value and it’s got my father’s genes in it as well as mine, and my sweat and genes in it. And you know, that’s what it’s about. And that no one has spoken to us about this.”

The new building was sold in January to Blox Ventures, a real estate investment firm that is being fined $2,240 a day by the city until a grocery store begins operating, under an agreement that was made when the city approved the project in 2010.

Richard Hackmann, a spokesman for Blox, said Blox didn’t ask Garcia whether the Khourys could reopen under the JJ&F name before announcing the reopening on Monday because the Khourys were the last family to own the market before it closed in 2013.

“It’s the Khoury family, not the Garcia family, that is bringing the market back,” Hackmann said. “We don’t want the JJ&F name to be used if the Garcia family is not comfortable with it. We want the Garcia family and the Garcia legacy to be celebrated.”

The Khoury family, which operates grocery stores in Half Moon Bay and Sonoma County, echoed that sentiment.

“We were honored to own and operate JJ&F Market in the past and have great respect for the decades of work the Garcia family put into building JJ&F Market,” the Khourys said in a statement that Hackmann emailed to the Post. “Continuing that legacy with the reopening of the store is something we cherish.”