After more than a decade of selling smoothies in Belmont, the Jamba Juice at shut its doors for good on Monday, becoming the fifth business to close in the shopping center in two years.
Carlmont Shopping Center Operations Manager Ivano Pellegrini said on Thursday there has already been some interest in the space formerly occupied by Jamba Juice but a new business hasn't officially signed on.
The reason for the smoothie shop’s departure from Belmont? Not enough profit.
Janice Ruis, a spokeswoman with Jamba Juice, said on Friday it’s never easy to decide whether to close a smoothie location.
“We don’t like to close stores,” she said. “It’s not a light decision.”
She said that while she didn’t know the exact reason for the Belmont store’s closure, when Jamba Juice opts to shut down a location it’s usually due to a lack of profit.
A sign taped to a window at the former Jamba Juice location reads, “This Jamba Juice Location is closed. We look forward to seeing you at our nearby location: Laurelwood, 1230 W. Hillsdale Ave., San Mateo.”
“We’re sorry to see them go,” Pellegrini said. “They’ve been here for more than 10 years.” Pellegrini added the place was a favorite after-school stop for local teens.
Carlmont Shopping Center has seen a number of businesses leave in the past several years, which Pellegrini said is due to a variety of factors. But, he added, despite the rumors floating around the mall, none of the closures were the result of increased rents.
In fact, Pellegrini said he’s tried to accommodate the “Mom and Pop” shops by keeping rent steady. It just happened that the business’ leases ended within a two-year period and business owners chose not to renew them, he said.
Carlmont Pharmacy, a Belmont staple for more than 50 years and the second most recent business to close at the shopping center, cited insurance rates as the reason for its . Carlmont Pharmacy closed at the end of March.
Pellegrini said a Verizon Wireless store will take its place, an agreement that was reached this week.
Other businesses that closed at the Carlmont Shopping Center include a jewlery store that closed about two years ago; , which closed on Dec. 31, 2010; and , which left the Carlmont Center in February but moved to Sixth Avenue in Belmont.
Pellegrini said the Carlmont Shopping Center has been family-owned for the past 50 years. His wife Norine Pellegrini managed the shopping center for 30 years before she passed away in 2002, and Pellegrini credited his wife with giving the shopping center a complete makeover.
“She turned it around,” Pellegrini said of the Carlmont Center.
One of the main challenges with renting spaces at the Carlmont Shopping Center is the zoning for that area, according to Pellegrini. The shopping center, unlike the businesses that surround it, can only rent space to businesses that sell products and therefore pay sales tax, he said.
The city, however, is working with Pellegrini to find a solution to that problem, he said.
And Pellegrini is confident the vacant stores will be rented quickly and said there has already been some interest in a few of the spaces.