Green Frog Market will shut doors after losing lease

Green Frog Market will shut doors after losing lease
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Green Frog Market, which calls itself Bakersfield's first supermarket, has lost its lease and will apparently go out of business Jan. 13.

"Our family is very proud and thankful for what we've accomplished in this community for almost 80 years," company spokesman Scott Hair said. "While it's a passing, it's one of these things, that things change."

The Green Frog has operated in its current location, Alta Vista Drive and Bernard Street, since 1946.

"Our lease has expired here," Hair told Eyewitness News on Thursday. "We're looking for a new location, and we're excited about looking at the future and moving forward."

Hair said a Dollar General store is slated to move into the building.

As for their next move, Hair said the company has been scouting for sites. "We've got locations that we've identified throughout the city," he said. "It's just a question of finding a building that fits for us."

Hair wouldn't give up details on exactly the type of operation that could open next.

"I don't want to go too deep into that. Today we're talking about the end of an era, and that's what we really want to focus on as a family," he said.

That end of an era upsets loyal customers.

"I just hate it, because I buy all of my meat here," shopper Evelyn Barbour said. "And their produce is excellent. So, I'm going to really miss it."

She didn't mind paying a little more to get products she likes.

"I don't want them to close," shopper Lupe Martin echoed. She had shopped at the Green Frog at Columbus and Oswell streets until it was closed just about a year ago. That happened after the site was reportedly losing sales to nearby big box retailers. That's also a factor in the changes and the impacts affecting the store at Alta Vista, Hair said.

After the closure on Columbus, some Green Frog workers told Eyewitness News they were owed sick time and vacation time. Asked about that situation at Alta Vista, Hair said it's a different.

"As I said (with the Columbus location), I don't discuss ongoing negotiations," Hair responded. "The store closing will be handled like a typical store closure."

He said the company will follow all the rules they must operate under. "You won't see a similar type of situation. That was a different situation, this is a store closure," Hair said.

The Alta Vista location has about 20 employees now, Hair said. One told Eyewitness News the impending closure is "unfortunate, but things happen."

Hair said some workers have been at the store for decades, and he's personally been there since 1978.

A vintage neon sign in the shape of a frog now sits in the parking lot. The large sign was the image of the long-standing business, and Hair hinted there may be news soon about where it will land next.

Admittedly there's a lot of history in the market that's about to close.

"This store is an icon in the community," Hair said. "It really has gone through generations of families." He said the family business is grateful for so many customers, employees and suppliers over the long years.

"We're really thankful for a lot of things that the community has given us."