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How To Save Allied Arts – Bring Back the Palo Alto Volunteers

Original post made by A Concerned Observer, another community, on Jun 13, 2007

There’s a simple solution to all the Allied Arts Auxiliary’s problems with their property. Bring back the Palo Alto Auxiliary to run the restaurant, give them whatever lease terms and facilities they require, and hope that they’ll be able and willing to take them and reopen the restaurant. Hope, because the way their lease was terminated forced them to sell all their equipment at “yard sale” prices, left a bitter taste in the mouths of their members, and gave them cause to believe that they had been intentionally blind-sided by both the (then) Woodside-Atherton president, and by inference, the leaders of the Association of Auxiliaries.

Regardless of the stated reason the Allied Arts Auxiliary evicted the Palo Alto group, it is clear that it was thinking only of its own group, and not the benefits both auxiliaries provided to Children’s Hospital. They knowingly terminated a $100,000+ a year contribution by Palo Alto to the Hospital, and then crippled their own ability to generate donations by failing to replace the restaurant that anchored all the other Allied Arts tenants. If you think that decision wasn’t a disaster, ask any of the retailers left on the property. All of them are struggling because there is no foot traffic and no walk-in business. Most will probably leave as soon as they can. Many are already gone. Most tenants left are businesses rather than retailers, and their rents are not likely to support the financial needs of the property.

It’s time for a wake-up call, Allied Arts Auxiliary. Put aside your egos and concentrate on solving the problems you created. Your only hope of operating a restaurant under the Menlo Park-imposed usage restrictions is to have a business with low or no labor costs--in other words a volunteer-staffed restaurant. You had one and threw it away. Get it back at any cost. Admit you made a terrible mistake, and hope that the Palo Alto group will be able and willing to give you another chance. You don’t deserve it, but it’s the only hope you have of saving the property.

If the Palo Alto-staffed restaurant reopens, and you are willing to lease space to consumer-friendly retailers, thus creating revenue-generating traffic flow, Allied Arts will probably survive. Maybe not even then, but it’s the only hope you have. Do something before it’s too late.

Comments (4)

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Posted by Angela Hey
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Jun 13, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Who knows Allied Arts is there? Does it have the right name? Is it being marketed to the community?

It took me about 10 years of living in the Bay Area to discover it.

The location doesn't exactly stand out and putting Allied Arts on a signpost won't do it - unless it is a Large Brown Tourist Attraction type sign on El Camino - that might just do it. It needs a simpler name that ordinary people like me can understand. It needs marketing to the community - make it a place to go for Stanford parents when visiting, a place that students can safely bike to for a romantic luncheon, etc.

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Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 13, 2007 at 11:48 pm

"It needs a simpler name that ordinary people like me can understand. It needs marketing to the community - make it a place to go for Stanford parents when visiting, a place that students can safely bike to for a romantic luncheon, etc."

Great idea -- why don't we change the name to ... "Ikea?" "Walmart?"


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Posted by MPworkingMom
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 14, 2007 at 10:43 am

Let's see, a place where you can eat, shop, stroll around ... maybe it ought to be called The Allied Arts Mall. Kids these days like to hang out at the mall, right?

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Posted by future patron
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 14, 2007 at 7:59 pm

I was excited about having Jesse Cool at Allied Arts. While friends and I enjoyed past lunches provided by the auxiliary, we were looking forward to the broader offerings (food and times of day) that we anticipated with Ms. Cool. Is it too late to work out something with her? Or someone like her? I would think guild shops would be viable only with the kind of foot traffic a cafe like hers would bring. Please don't give up!

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