The world’s largest online retailer might be pulling the plug on its plans to bring a brick-and-mortar store to Simi Valley, but other new businesses continue to show interest in opening here.
During a Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee meeting on May 17, it was reported that Dutch Bros Coffee, a drive-through coffee chain headquartered in Oregon, is pursuing locations in the city.
Popeyes, a fast-food chicken restaurant, is looking to add a location at the east end of Simi, while Rambo’s Hot Chicken is slated to open soon in space No. 275 at the Simi Valley Town Center.
IHOP, the pancake house chain, is planning a return to the city. It’s currently going through the planning process to open a location at the former Coco’s restaurant, which closed in August 2022 at 698 Los Angeles Avenue. There hasn’t been an IHOP in Simi since 2010, when the company’s Erringer Road location shut down.
Slice House, a pizza chain run by chef Tony Gemignani, plans a second Ventura County location at El Paseo Simi Shopping Center, 2910 Tapo Canyon Road. Kohl’s and Vons are the major anchors at the center, with an Ace Hardware store slated to move into the former Cost-Plus World Market location there this fall.
A Savers store is expected to open at the old Big Lots location at 2495 Sycamore Drive. Savers is a for-profit, global thrift retailer offering gently-used clothing, accessories and household goods.
A new indoor baseball and softball training facility featuring 10 batting cages and a pro shop was recently approved by the city’s planning commission. The facility is scheduled to open in a 13,939-square-foot commercial space between a laser tag business and a CVS store at the Wood Ranch Shopping Center, 591 Country Club Drive.
Kelly Tinker, the city’s management analyst, said at the committee meeting that there is currently no update on an Amazon Fresh market proposed for the former Bed, Bath & Beyond location at 2631 Tapo Canyon Road.
Tinker said the stall has nothing to do with the city.
“What (Amazon) has been doing is reevaluating their brick-and-mortar operations to see how they want to continue to proceed with physical locations,” Tinker said.
In February, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy reported that the online retail giant was pausing expansion of its Amazon Fresh grocery stores amid broader cutbacks.
According to news reports, Amazon is reportedly being sued by property owners in Philadelphia and Renton, Washington, for failing to move forward with the building and development of multiple Amazon Fresh locations. Amazon is also trying to sublease several other planned Amazon Fresh stores in the Midwest.
Tinker said Amazon is still under contract with the property owner at Simi Civic Center Plaza, which is located on Tapo Canyon Road between the 118 Freeway and Alamo Street.
It remains to be seen if the company will open an Amazon Fresh here or whether it will try to sub-lease the space to another grocer or business, he said.
“But that’s not an issue with planning on our end or the development process or with tenant improvements,” Tinker said. “That’s Amazon putting a hold on their business model.”
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Judge, who serves on the chamber’s Economic Development Committee, said the city has options if Amazon decides not to occupy the space.
For instance, Stater Bros. Markets is looking to open a second store in Simi and that location on Tapo would be ideal because it’s centrally located, he said.
“That’s good news actually because I haven’t heard anything good about the Amazon Fresh in Moorpark. It’s just my opinion,” Judge said.
“I know there’s a lot of talk around the community about the Amazon Fresh. Personally, I’m not worried about that.”
The Chamber has grand opening ribbon-cuttings scheduled for the following businesses: Trendy Me clothing boutique, 10 a.m. June 2 at 2955-B Cochran St., No. 202; Nectar of the Dogs Wine, featuring Simi’s first wine-tasting room, 3 p.m. June 9 at 791 Chambers Lane, Ste. 110; and Simi Bargain Bins, a household item discount store, noon June 16 at 589 E. Los Angeles Ave.
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