In the shopping center at the northwest corner of I-5 and Encinitas Boulevard, Smart and Final vacated two years ago, and earlier this year, so did Petco. Both stores moved to larger space just east of the freeway, to the 400 block of Encinitas Boulevard.
Ready to fill the vacant space will be Lazy Acres, an offshoot of the high-end grocery chain Bristol Farms. The 15-store chain, based in L.A., is poised to take over all the square footage of both former stores at 150 Encinitas Boulevard.
“We’re pretty excited, “ said one employee of the Postal Annex/U-Haul store next door. Their business has been down since the other two stores left the center, which is now anchored only by a Wendy’s and a Shell gas station.
Bristol Farms, established in 1982 in Rolling Hills Estates, has two Lazy Acres stores, both in beach towns; Long Beach and Santa Barbara. Bristol Farms was purchased by Albertsons/SuperValu in 2004. A private equity firm, Endeavour Capital, and the chain's management team took the company back in 2010.
Lazy Acres will be competing for the upscale, freeway-to-the-beach grocery business with four nearby stores; Whole Foods on Coast Highway 101, Seaside Market in Cardiff by the Sea, and two newly established Gelson’s Markets in former Haggen Foods locations in La Costa and Del Mar.
Historical footnote: This Encinitas Boulevard supermarket location was one of the last new locations for the 24-store chain of Big Bear Markets. The San Diego–based chain was sold in 1993 to Albertsons.