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Website Opposes Vallarta

Those opposed to a Vallarta supermarket moving into the Old Orchard Shopping Center have adopted to a new strategy in an attempt to persuade the public of the “different culture” they think the Latin-oriented supermarket will bring in: the Internet.

 The Web site, which can be found at www.saveoldorchardshoppingcenter.org, listed the contact information for the chief executive officer for Trader Joe’s Company Inc. and also took up the Latin-oriented supermarket. “Don’t just listen to us,” the Web site said, “visit a Vallarta Market and judge for yourself.” “Food stamps accepted.” Pictures of what is assumed to be a Vallarta market are on the Web site. One shows piñatas hanging from a ceiling; another is of toys sitting on top of a grocery store freezer. “Prices are great,” the Web site stated, “But don’t forget, you get what you pay for.” Pictures of stacked boxes and packages that line the tops of Vallarta’s shelves were headlined with the words: “Is this where you want to be when the big one hits?” The site featured a picture of a “carniceria,” with the caption, “If you can’t read Spanish, this is the butcher.”  “It’s a different culture,” the site said above a picture of meat products — pig’s feet being one of them — behind a glass panel. Local homeowner Jay Winter is a part of the coalition to Save the Old Orchard Shopping Center. “We do meet periodically,” Winter said about the coalition. “I’m hesitant to discuss (the issue) very much because, you know what usually happens, usually the opposing viewpoint, which has in the past labeled us as racists, ... gets the better part of the press,” Winter said. He offered no details about the size of the coalition that is concerned with the future of Valencia’s oldest shopping center built by the Newhall Land and Farming Co. in 1965. “I don’t care to talk about it,” Winter said. Local business  owners offered differing views about the opening of a Vallarta store. John Nardone owns Nardone’s, an Italian eatery in the shopping center. He said the absence of foot traffic to his business has lead to a 50 percent drop in business. “A Vallarta would be fine,” Nardone said. “I have no real opinion on what I really want in there. All I want is the traffic coming through. A Trader Joe’s would be fine, too.” Nick Ekizoglu runs Palace Cleaners, also in the center. “I’d rather it be a Trader Joe’s,” Ekizoglu said, “But I don’t care who comes. Now it’s a ghost town.”

This Story can be found in Monday's Signal Newspaper.