Cosentino’s Will Close

It started with a fruit stand more than seven decades ago, and emerged as one of the landmark local grocery stores in San Jose, with branches in Silver Creek and Santa Clara. On February 8, Cosentino’s will be shutting its doors one last time. The reason, according to Dominic Cosentino, is not just the economy but the shifting purchasing habits of Americans over the last few decades: “Everything is favoring the big-box stores today.”

Sure, big box stores are convenient, they have a much broader range of products, and they usually offer cheaper prices, but that also comes at a cost. In “Cities Back from the Edge,” Roberta Brandes Gratz describes the typical strategy of big box stores, saying “They don’t mean to compete with existing businesses. They mean to kill them off and monopolize the market.” Cosentino’s on Bascom Avenue is just their latest victim.

But Gratz has a warning too: “Big or small, bookstore or dress shop, independent or chain, the standard against which businesses should be measured is how individualized and localized they are, what they add to communal life, how pedestrian-friendly they are. Offering short-term cheap goods to the consumer is not enough. The long-tem costs get added to the tax burden in added infrastructure costs and loss of local economy.”

With the closing of Cosentino’s, San Jose has lost.
Read More at NBC Bay Area.
Read More at the Business Journal.


  1. This is the beginning of the end of the world—at least here in Silicon Valley.
    Our mass-market mentality is leading us down a path of destruction of the things that make us a community.
    The last thing we need are more big-box retail stores. They are cold, impersonal, and care only about the dollar and not personal service.
    So long, Cosentino’s. You will be missed.

  2. Don’t cry for me Cosentino.

    I thought this valley was chock full of Costco hating, WalMart-is-Satan types that what’s that?  The big-box parking lots are full of social justice Prii drivers with fading “Obama” bumper stickers?


  3. Interesting that no one is talking about the real reasons that Cosentino’s is closing
    1)None younger family members want to work in market
    2) Family members want their part of family estate 3) DiNapoli will be developing a mixed use development ( i.e. market building leased to Fresh / Easy or another grocery and 4 acres of housing

    ” The 32,000-square-foot store, along with a total of 4.2 acres of property at the corner of Curtner and Union avenues, was purchased for a land value of more than $10 million by JP DiNapoli Cos. Inc., a real estate investment, development and property management institution in San Jose, according to David Taxin, partner with Meacham Oppenheimer, who brokered the deal for both parties. He did not disclose how much the company paid specifically for the market.

    However, Taxin promised a new “high-end, organic, yuppie-type” grocery will move in to Cosentino’s, though he wasn’t specific. (One of the Cosentino brothers said he heard they were “courting a Southern California chain.”)

    ” Sadlly for his fans, 80-year-old Phil Cosentino (aka “Mr. Produce”) is also ending his weekly “Produce Report” with KLIV radio. The trio’s other brother, Sal, died several years ago.

    When asked whether any of the younger Cosentino generation wanted to keep the operation going, the second eldest brother, 77-year-old Marino Cosentino, answered after a long pause: “No. Not enough.”

  4. Cosentino’s as a specialty grocer wasn’t brought down by Big Box retail but by the fact that their clientele is getting on in years. The natural successor customers prefer the sterile mass-market appeal of Whole Foods. The high test scoring, rule-following, butt kissers who now make up Silicon Valley have been told by their professors that they are open-minded, free-thinkers. That’s why they all do and believe the same things and they are so easily marketed to by national chains. It is also why our politics are as one-sided as the old solid south. With the passing of Cosentino’s a real piece of individuality and diversity is being erased from our home.

    • Yes, the City’s futile efforts toward ‘diversity’ have quite predictably backfired. It reminds me of the scene in Monty Pythons The Life Of Brian in which Brian tells the teeming throng, “You are all individuals!” They then respond in unison, “We are all individuals!”

    • > The high test scoring, rule-following, butt kissers who now make up Silicon Valley have been told by their professors that they are open-minded, free-thinkers. That’s why they all do and believe the same things and they are so easily marketed to by national chains. It is also why our politics are as one-sided as the old solid south.

      Dear Dad:

      I was just going to say that, but you took the words out of my mouth.

    • > It is also why our politics are as one-sided as the old solid south.

      A very perceptive observation.  To which I would add the following:

      San Francisco is a city of “old money”.  “Old money” is money that is largely in the hands of second, third, and fourth generation progeny.  In other words: trust fund children.

      Silcon Valley has evolved from being a society of “nouveau riche” geeks to a society of second generation trust fund children.

      The money that was made by risk-taking visionaries entrepreneurs and makers, is migrating into the ands of decadent, spoiled kids, who never made anything, and never learned anything through the “college of hard knocks”.  They have more money than brains,  experience, common sense or character, and they want to use their money to buy self-esteem.

      They want people to fluff their egos and write stories in liberal news organs about “what good people” they are.

      The price of admission for ego fluffing and being praised as a “good person” is to donate money to “good causes” like the Sierra Club, The Ford Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and any of a zillion other George Soros surrogates.

      Non-profit foundations are vast “victim lobbies” and advocates for govenment intervention, all in perfect alignment with the agenda of liberal democrat big government.

      Maybe its inevitible, but when the generation that created wealth passes on, the generation that inherited the wealth is only too eager to turn it over to the enemies of wealth creation.

      It’s like pulling up the ladder of economic upward mobility for everyone else once their trust funds are fully ensured.

  5. Consentino’s closing has nothing to with this ridiculous BS political commentary and pseudo-sociology you guys are expounding on. The reason the market is closing is that the younger Consentino’s want to sell, they have no interest in the grocery business, period. That is the only reason the are closing. The brothers that run it now are now to advanced in age to continue and their children and grandchildren aren’t interested in the family business, especially when the DiNapolis will give them a fat payday right now.

    And Kevin, COSTCO is a unionized company that treats and pays its employee well. 

    Williowdad, “The high test scoring, rule-following, butt kissers who now make up Silicon Valley” jealous much?

    • Mmm, the illuminated gliteratti knows all… and sounds like one of those lobbyist pimps that collaborate with the Councilwhores to produce a never-ending stream of residential land conversions, thereby making SJ the bedroom community of Silicon Valley.

      • What??? Do you idiots even comprehend your own posts?? Gliteratti?? Land conversions??? My post had nothing to do with changing zoning… Lord when did common sense and simple middle of the road folks become extinct?

        Consentinos’ closing has nothing to do with liberal anti-business conspiracies, pro-union politics, etc…

        By the way, you guys sound exactly like the anti-chain store hippies in SF bemoaning the end of society.

    • > Hey! I just heard on the news that Sarah Palin shot a Democratic Congress woman in Arizona with an assault rifle.

      Dear Thuzzy:

      So what news source did you rely upon for this report?

      Chris Matthews?

      The Daily Kos?

      The Mercury News? (Is the Mercury News still in business?).

  6. These stores have a healthy hometown appeal but San Jose is not that town anymore. Take a look around and you’ll see poor city planning has led to traffic ridden thoroughfares and intersections controlled by homeless people holding signs.

    These stores must be hurting and I’m sure the family has decided to get out while the gettin’ is good. Fewer jobs, lower paying jobs and an overall poor economy is forcing people to shop big box.

    I live in Willow Glen too, but I’m not blind to see what’s happening around me. San Jose, Willow Glen included is not a ritzy community. It’s the only community that has the highest density of original owners or homes that were passed down and stayed in the family.

    Bottom line, San Jose is falling apart and economic class is driving out stores like Cosentino’s and attracting Target’s with grocery stores included. To make money you must appeal to the masses.

    Sad to see you can now buy a quart of motor oil on the same isle as the produce.

    • You should travel more as small stores are closing all over due to economies of scale outside of San Jose and homeless people are everywhere. Difficult to compete when your competition buys 1 million units of some product and the small store purchases a few thousand.  Consumers shop on price and value. Also you can choose to not buy the motor oil.

  7. When it comes to local groceries vs massive chain stores, much of their fate comes down to our own decisions. Some people just see cheap. Quality, actual value, and local responsibility don’t matter. They’d rather not think about the consequences of their actions because it would require a thought beyond the immediate action at their immediate location, and those are thoughts they don’t have the wit or courage to attempt. Being aware of how a product came to you and the lives involved is a responsibility that we cannot ignore anymore. If you think it’s cheaper to buy a 64 pack of crappy toilet paper from a box store 10 miles away, instead of buying a 12 pack of a better product that lasts longer from your local store for 10 cents more per roll, you’re a damned fool.

  8. Politically correct liberal, pro union, anti business politics and attitudes got San Jose into current budget crisis and city will remain in deficit with low services until Council becomes business friendly

    Business were driven out of town or never came to San Jose because of high taxes, fees and draconian policies with difficult approval process

    High profit residential developers helped elect pro housing / anti business Council members resulted in making San Jose the Housing Capital of Silicon Valley

  9. I’m sorry to see Cosentino’s go but folks are right. The next generation didn’t want the store and tradition. We should be thankful we had it so long. My wife prefers Whole Foods—I’ll forgive her—but Cosentino’s was my favorite store ever.

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