Rainbow Market calls it quits

By: Liz Kellar The News Messenger
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It’s official – Rainbow Market is closing its doors within 30 days. After months of negotiating with the building’s landlords, the parties were unable to come to terms. Rainbow Market has been operating in Lincoln since 1969, when the owners purchased Creer’s Market in what is now the Ace Hardware store. Rainbow moved to its current location on Highway 65 in 1983. “We’ve had our run,” grocery store manager Tim McMillan said Tuesday. “What are you going to do?” According to building owner Shawn Campbell, Rainbow Market decided not to renew its lease. “Rainbow’s been a good tenant,” Campbell said. “We’ve let them do their thing for Lincoln, but we knew this day would come, sooner or later. Unfortunately, things change. The residents of Lincoln really loved Rainbow, they’ve been great for the community. We hate to see them go. “It’s tough for independent markets,” Campbell continued. “There had been discussion of (Rainbow) closing ever since Safeway came in, there was fear they would go out of business. But Rainbow continued to do well, which proves the people of Lincoln really loved Rainbow. But it’s just real tough in this economy for independent stores to operate. Chains are more efficient, they do more advertising.” While the store will continue to order perishable items such as bread and milk, many departments already have stopped stocking items such as canned goods. “Our last day of operation will be Oct. 1,” McMillan said. “Then we will have a closeout sale, based on how much inventory we have left. There shouldn’t be that much.” McMillan said Rainbow Market currently employs approximately 80 people, many of whom have chosen to stay on until the end. “Those who’ve left, we’ve helped get jobs,” McMillan said. “We’ve given letters (of recommendation) to anyone who’s asked.” One longtime employee is Charlene Kramer, who has worked in the bakery and deli for 11 years. When the store closes, she said, she’s “taking a long vacation.” “It’s really bittersweet,” she said. “I’m going to miss a lot of the customers and my coworkers. It’s going to be really sad. A lot of the customers I’ve built a relationship with – I’ve watched their kids grow up.” The closing of the grocery store will have a definite impact on many of its customers. McMillan estimated approximately 30 percent of Rainbow’s customers have no transportation. “Fotos (on Fifth Street) will pick up some customers,” he said. Otherwise, he said, most will probably shop at Raley’s or Safeway. Beyond losing a convenient place to buy groceries, Rainbow’s closing will impact community groups as well. The store has a long tradition of donating to local charities; for years, they have donated all of the eggs for the Lions Club Easter Egg hunt. A thank-you board has been organized to recognize the store’s support of the community. “Rainbow Market has donated over $100,000 to the youth in this community via the Gold Country Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction and Placer County Fair’s Junior Livestock,” said Flatlands 4-H leader Dale Fagen. “Placer County 4-H clubs, FFA programs, and others have been blessed by the folks at Rainbow Market.” Fagen said the message board will be posted at the livestock auction during the Gold Country Fair, will move to the Placer County 4-H award night Saturday, and then will be posted at the store. Campbell said the owners plan to subdivide the space for four tenants, including Mark & Monica’s Pizza, should the pizza restaurant decide to stay. The Taco Bell Express is not part of the renovation plans. He would not provide details on prospective tenants, saying that no leases have yet been signed. “I just don’t want to jinx it,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for quite a while.” Campbell said renovation of the building will take approximately a year, with the new tenants scheduled to take over in late 2009. He did provide one tease, however. “The residents of Lincoln will enjoy and welcome the new tenants very much,” he said. “What’s coming in will be good for the community, trust me.”