Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

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Randy Bowman
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Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#1 Post by Randy Bowman » July 5th, 2019, 7:18 pm

The sign taped on the glass door at St. Helena’s Dean & DeLuca on Friday was both right and wrong.

It said the St. Helena luxury gourmet food and wine store was closed Thursday and Friday for the July 4th holiday.

On Friday, however, an operator at the Wichita, Kansas headquarters of Dean & DeLuca, who identified herself only as Nikki, confirmed that the St. Helena store is permanently closed. It is unknown how many employees are affected.

On Friday afternoon, Google also reported Dean & DeLuca is permanently closed.

The closing confirmed rumors of the store’s demise, in part because vendors haven’t been paid. Earlier this year, there was talk that the St. Helena store was empty of both wines for sale and customers, although during a recent afternoon visit, there were several customers at the deli ordering sandwiches. There were a few Napa Valley wines to buy in that section of the store, although the wine shelves were nowhere near full.

Dean & DeLuca is located at 607 South St. Helena Highway, several miles south of downtown St. Helena.

According to a May 2018 Bisnow Media story, Dean & DeLuca continued to shrink its brick-and-mortar stores, from 42 to 18 across the United States and battled lawsuits from suppliers claiming they haven’t been paid. New York City bakery Elenis says it was owed $86,000 for cookies sold to the store and Ceci Cela Patisserie saying it is owed $70,000.

Thailand’s Pace Development Corporation bought the Dean & DeLuca chain in November 2014 for $140 million. The purchase included the supply chain and operations of 11 outlets and two commissaries in the United States as well as licensing agreements covering 31 countries.

At that time, Sorapoj Techakraisri, CEO of Pace said the iconic brand has “extraordinary potential for rapid growth globally. We expect to open hundreds of new stores in the next two years to add to the current 42 stores and to increase our global footprint from eight countries to more than 15 countries through licensing and our own investments.”

Giorgio DeLuca and Joel Dean opened the original 2,600 square-foot store in September 1977 in SoHo, an artist and warehouse district in lower Manhattan.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#2 Post by Gray G » July 5th, 2019, 7:29 pm

bummer! right next to Hall Winery

another one bites the dust :(
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#3 Post by blarmston » July 5th, 2019, 7:39 pm

That sucks. Loved stopping in during Napa visits to grab a coffee in the morning, grab a cheese plate and snacks during the day, peruse the wine area, indulge in some macaroons, etc.

And now I won’t be able to anymore. This isn’t supposed to happen in the ‘greatest economy ever’. Maybe Jerome P and the Fed can cut rates and save D&D?
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#4 Post by Randy Bowman » July 5th, 2019, 7:44 pm

Dean & Deluca has/had stores in airports outside the USA. Expansion was looking good and successful but now it is a question of corporate greed without true knowledge of the business and its operation. We've seen the demise or devaluation of businesses including wineries that are purchased by investment firms or groups that chase the dollar without knowledge of the actual operation and costs.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#5 Post by John Morris » July 5th, 2019, 7:47 pm

Sounds like they overexpanded. It's a common story (e.g., the Fairway chain around the NY area, and Balducci's/Sutton Place Market in DC and NY). And it's a difficult time for retailing generally.

The original NYC store was famous in its day. But by the early 2000s it had become sort of glitzy. The shop on Broadway in SoHo is huge, but the last couple of times I was there -- probably 15 years ago -- everything was either pedestrian or overpriced, or both. I haven't been back since. Of course, we're spoiled in NY with good food sources, and I live near Zabar's, Citarella and the original Fairway, so there's no reason to schlepp to SoHo to pay more for the same things.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#6 Post by John Morris » July 5th, 2019, 7:54 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 7:44 pm
Dean & Deluca has/had stores in airports outside the USA. Expansion was looking good and successful but now it is a question of corporate greed without true knowledge of the business and its operation. We've seen the demise or devaluation of businesses including wineries that are purchased by investment firms or groups that chase the dollar without knowledge of the actual operation and costs.
Greed isn't the problem. It's ignorance, as you say, and unrealistic plans. And foreign companies and investors have a bad record of misjudging the US market (e.g., Majestic buying Liquor Barn; Daimler Benz buying Chrysler; Sony buying Columbia Pictures; Tesco trying to break into the California grocery market).
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#7 Post by Paul McCourt » July 5th, 2019, 8:12 pm

Sad. As a New Yorker, I’ve seen them for many years. They were pretty revolutionary back in the day, but haven’t been very relevant here for quite some time. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone mention them.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#8 Post by Siun o'Connell » July 5th, 2019, 8:54 pm

I worked in Soho late 80s and we would run to their original shop for such good food all the time ... and birthday cakes with the most amazing floral hand crafted decorations that I dream of to this day. Sad to see them go this way.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#9 Post by larry schaffer » July 5th, 2019, 9:12 pm

IIRC, Pax used to run the wine department there before starting his label . . .

Bummer - hope those that are owed get paid.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#10 Post by Karl K » July 5th, 2019, 9:17 pm

A friend of mine got some of the inaugural SE for $35/bottle from the Napa D&D, before the Parker review came out.

It was a nice spot in the mid-90’s.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#11 Post by Mike Van1 » July 6th, 2019, 5:19 am

Saw this coming when my wife and visited Napa this past April. The store had hardly any inventory compared to previous years. Looked they were just trying to run out current inventory.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#12 Post by Leonard Taylor » July 6th, 2019, 6:25 am

It wasn't half as good as Sunshine Grocery anyway.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#13 Post by scott davis » July 6th, 2019, 9:28 am

The Dean & Deluca near us closed last year. It had been there since 1997.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#14 Post by David Baum » July 6th, 2019, 9:41 am

was there in mid June. Little wine, cheese and meat selection depleted. Bread was stale on sandwiches and vowed not to return. Oakville Grocer it is

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#15 Post by GregT » July 6th, 2019, 11:07 am

Yeah - I remember when they started. That was before the Fancy Food Show and all the specialty stores. There were only the old time Italian places in Little Italy and while D&D was in a sense derived from those, they made the ethnic selections more upscale by playing down the ethnicity and playing up the gourmet aspect. Never even knew there were any in California. But there's a lot of competition, not only in NYC these days. Hard to compete with places like Eataly, which seem to be opening all over, and the various food courts in many cities.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#16 Post by Markus S » July 6th, 2019, 12:13 pm

John Morris wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 7:54 pm
Randy Bowman wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 7:44 pm
Dean & Deluca has/had stores in airports outside the USA. Expansion was looking good and successful but now it is a question of corporate greed without true knowledge of the business and its operation. We've seen the demise or devaluation of businesses including wineries that are purchased by investment firms or groups that chase the dollar without knowledge of the actual operation and costs.
Greed isn't the problem. It's ignorance, as you say, and unrealistic plans. And foreign companies and investors have a bad record of misjudging the US market (e.g., Majestic buying Liquor Barn; Daimler Benz buying Chrysler; Sony buying Columbia Pictures; Tesco trying to break into the California grocery market).
Yeah, those 'Mericans are hard to figure out with their twisted politics and laws and... [cheers.gif]

I had no idea there were so many D&D's around the world. I've only known the NYC and DC stores.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#17 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » July 6th, 2019, 12:17 pm

Didn’t there used to be one on Madison Ave near the Park?

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#18 Post by Arv R » July 7th, 2019, 9:08 am

When I lived in SoHo in my youth, I used to go by the D&D occasionally. I do remember it being a bit expensive for me though.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#19 Post by Bryan Price » July 7th, 2019, 5:42 pm

It was too expensive even by Napa standards.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#20 Post by Randy Bowman » July 7th, 2019, 6:28 pm

Shortly after we opened our store, D & D contacted us to see if we could provide them cigars cheaper than their current supplier. We were cheaper and provided their cigars for a short time until a new store manager was hired. Their cigar prices were high, like everything else in the store, but back then the deli was hopping, hard to find wines were on the shelves and the staff was very competent.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#21 Post by Michael Martin » July 7th, 2019, 6:56 pm

Sign of a market top.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#22 Post by blarmston » July 7th, 2019, 7:33 pm

It’s yet another sign that the recession is either on the doorstep, or has already made its way inside, snacking on day old bread and slightly spoiled Humboldt Fog, and bingeing on Stranger Things 3. The economists will probably declare this as fact... in January...
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#23 Post by dougwilder » July 7th, 2019, 9:42 pm

I was fortunate to work there beginning in 1999, initially as their first Director of Wine E-Commerce later transitioning to the Wine Room as one of the Specialists. We tasted pretty much everyday and brought in what we liked. We never really had a hard budget but as entrepreneurs we knew what great wine tasted like and it didn't matter to us that our clients wouldn't read a review on it for at least 6 months. As such we made the market for hundreds of wines that are now established brands. When people would come in with sticky notes on the margins of Wine Advocate or Wine Spectator we knew what was coming. After letting them know their dozen 98-point+ wines that they along with thousands of others were now looking for were sold out months ago. I would come back and give them a gift by saying "The wines you want you don't know that you want." Then I explained that every one of the 1300 unique wines on the shelf were there because they beat out 9 others. I still am in touch with a few of them 2 decades later. Ex: We sold the entire first vintage of Drinkward-Peschon in about 10 days (about 170 cases, three guys.). Hundred Acre? I cant tell you how many screwdrivers I dumped (and wooden boxes too). All of us left in 2004/2005 due to a new GM coming on board that didn't understand the Wine Department kept the doors open. I went to Vinfolio where I built their domestic business unit from scratch which eventually led to starting the magazine in 2011. Pax has probably had the most success of all of us who were there close to the beginning, but it provided a yardstick for any of us to measure anything else we encounter throughout our careers.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#24 Post by Kelly Walker » July 7th, 2019, 10:33 pm

blarmston wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 7:33 pm
It’s yet another sign that the recession is either on the doorstep, or has already made its way inside, snacking on day old bread and slightly spoiled Humboldt Fog, and bingeing on Stranger Things 3. The economists will probably declare this as fact... in January...
Nothing to do with an upcoming recession. D&D has been on a slow speed crash for a number of years. Two stores here in Charlotte closed 2 years ago with lots of unpaid suppliers and eventually evicted for unpaid rent. Foreign investors screwed the company big time.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#25 Post by John Morris » July 8th, 2019, 5:43 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 12:17 pm
Didn’t there used to be one on Madison Ave near the Park?
According to Google Maps, there’s a D&D cafe on Madison and 84th. Never noticed it.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#26 Post by Ian Dorin » July 8th, 2019, 5:56 am

I know they did a huge catering business throughout Napa. I assume that's gone too?
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#27 Post by Neal.Mollen » July 8th, 2019, 6:02 am

The store in Georgetown appears to be open still. On the rare occasion that we were prowling GTown, we'd stop in but the prices made me choke, and we regularly shop at WF, Sutton Place (now Balducci's) and numerous bakeries/butcher shops/fish mongers that cater to the pay-any-price crowd. I was/am blown away by the prices every time I step foot in the door.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#28 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » July 8th, 2019, 6:13 am

John Morris wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 5:43 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 12:17 pm
Didn’t there used to be one on Madison Ave near the Park?
According to Google Maps, there’s a D&D cafe on Madison and 84th. Never noticed it.

(Were you in these latitudes and didn’t call!?!)
I was there about 2 years ago. Walked in, thought it felt pretentious, lavish and cold, prices too high, walked out. It was not busy.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#29 Post by Richard Albert » July 8th, 2019, 10:01 am

No wonder they went out of biz in Napa, if the 1992 Screagle sold at $35, that was their wholesale price.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#30 Post by Carole Meredith » July 8th, 2019, 10:15 am

From Paul Franson's "Napa Life" newsletter today:

"It was even apparently almost a year in arrears on rent and was reportedly evicted by The Rudd Foundation, which owns the building..
The downfall seemed to come after Thai tycoon Sorapoj Techakraisri’s Pace Development Corp. bought the operation, which had stores in New York, North Carolina and other cities here and franchises overseas. Most have been closed but about half a dozen remain in the United States.
His plan was to expand, to 200 outlets, but it’s very expensive to finance fast growth. Ironically, Dean & Deluca opened a new store in Manhattan in April.
There’s no word yet on a potential replacement in the space. It’s a rare commercially zoned parcel in the unincorporated county and might attract a winery with big plans."
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#31 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 8th, 2019, 10:19 am

Gray G wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 7:29 pm
bummer! right next to Hall Winery
And next to Flora Springs tasting room, also known as the 'Zebra Butt'
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#32 Post by Ethan Abraham » July 8th, 2019, 10:19 am

Lived near the one on Madison for a while. They made a good iced mocha. Besides that and pints of Jeni's ice cream never found anything else to buy there.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#33 Post by Brad Kane » July 8th, 2019, 10:21 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 6:13 am
John Morris wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 5:43 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 12:17 pm
Didn’t there used to be one on Madison Ave near the Park?
According to Google Maps, there’s a D&D cafe on Madison and 84th. Never noticed it.

(Were you in these latitudes and didn’t call!?!)
I was there about 2 years ago. Walked in, thought it felt pretentious, lavish and cold, prices too high, walked out. It was not busy.
This one is on their last legs.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#34 Post by Jay Miller » July 8th, 2019, 11:50 am

Back in the 90s the flagship store on Prince St. was the only place to get a variety of high end food and kitchen products (esp. after Balducci's closed). Now such items are easily available in a multitude of locations (including online) without the huge markups that D&D always charged.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#35 Post by John Morris » July 8th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 11:50 am
Back in the 90s the flagship store on Prince St. was the only place to get a variety of high end food and kitchen products (esp. after Balducci's closed). Now such items are easily available in a multitude of locations (including online) without the huge markups that D&D always charged.
You should have come to the Upper West Side for Zabar's, Fairway and Citarella. I never found much at D&D that I couldn't get in my own neighborhood, even 15-20 years ago.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#36 Post by Jay Miller » July 8th, 2019, 12:38 pm

John Morris wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 12:34 pm
Jay Miller wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 11:50 am
Back in the 90s the flagship store on Prince St. was the only place to get a variety of high end food and kitchen products (esp. after Balducci's closed). Now such items are easily available in a multitude of locations (including online) without the huge markups that D&D always charged.
You should have come to the Upper West Side for Zabar's, Fairway and Citarella. I never found much at D&D that I couldn't get in my own neighborhood, even 15-20 years ago.

They had the Belvoir Elderflower Cordial which I still like a lot.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#37 Post by John Morris » July 8th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Haven't ever gone shopping for that, so I can't say if that could be had on the UWS.
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Re: Dean & Deluca's St. Helena Store is Shuttered

#38 Post by Victor Hong » July 8th, 2019, 1:58 pm

John Morris wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 12:34 pm
Jay Miller wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 11:50 am
Back in the 90s the flagship store on Prince St. was the only place to get a variety of high end food and kitchen products (esp. after Balducci's closed). Now such items are easily available in a multitude of locations (including online) without the huge markups that D&D always charged.
You should have come to the Upper West Side for Zabar's, Fairway and Citarella. I never found much at D&D that I couldn't get in my own neighborhood, even 15-20 years ago.
Except if subway shutdown. [tease.gif]
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