Monday, August 04, 2008

More Corti

Last week after the Corti thing went down I fired off a letter to Michael Teel. It was pretty snotty, I'll admit. I told him I'd never, ever set foot in one of his stores and closed it "have a nice day!". I was just blowing off steam. He and his business partner, Michael Ashker, both wrote me back, telling me to wait for the whole story to come out, and that they had not been accurately potrayed. Michale Teel said to wait for the Bee story on the weekend. Well, here it is. It didn't change my mind at all, although Corti's offer is surprising. I think the comments on the story do show that most people who care have been left with a bad taste in their mouth (mouths?). I liked the comment from the Corti's employee because it injected some calm into the thread. I'm glad he's closing in on a new lease, and I'm going to try to get to Corti's as much as possible as I can before he closes.

There's a show tonight, and I think Mike C. is djing? It's at the Press, starts at nine. Agent Ribbons, Art Lessing and the Flower Vato, and Daisy Spot.


beckler said...

p.s.-how about a jerry day report?

nick said...

i spoke with Ashker for an hour on Thursday. Basically, the landlord told Corti in Dec. '07 she was going to double the rent. Corti balked, the landlord began looking at other tenants (auto parts, etc) and settled on Good Eats in late June.

And the $2 million to be a food consultant to the new Good Eats is a ridiculous sum. Political consultants to gubernatorial campaigns don't even earn that much (not they deserve it, anyway). it's just a ridiculous number. Business is business. Corti obv is great and has great products, but they could no longer compete or were too myopic not to lock down a lease w/ the landlord. now they suffer. bummer deal.

Anonymous said...

thank you for injecting a dose of reality into this nick. i really think that Corti will be able to compete in the future - especially if they hone in on the better and more unique services and products that their store provides.

i also don't think that most people are willing to admit to themselves that perhaps Mr. Corti was looking for a way to ease into retirement. Is that hard to believe?

beckler said...

Please don't post comments anonymously. I would be glad to admit that Corti may want to retire. I've heard that he has told others the opposite, but he has certainly earned a pleasant retirement if that's what he desires. If you think that someone else can do what Darrell Corti does, then you don't understand what it is that he brings to Sacramento. I don't care if you think that makes me a food snob, or wine snob, or whatever.

Formerly Anonymous said...

If you think that someone else can do what Darrell Corti does, then you don't understand what it is that he brings to Sacramento. I don't care if you think that makes me a food snob, or wine snob, or whatever.

i don't think his business is simply replaceable. that's why i said he still has a place in this town, if he wants it...

i really think that Corti will be able to compete in the future - especially if they hone in on the better and more unique services and products that their store provides.

from everything i've read (the exact same stories you have) i see no evil force contributing to the demise of Corti Brothers. I see a business owner, with no secured commitment to the future, looking for alternative business possibilities. I see a building owner who wanted market rate rents from their property. And I see a local entrepreneur eager to launch a new business.

it seems people find it more convenient to create a villain to combat, when the real forces are those which you cannot escape: time, money, change.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to interrupt,


caroline said...

in what way is still anonymous synonymous with formerly anonymous?

Anonymous said...

I'm a supporter of independent business in this town, and a Corti's food shopper and I still fail to see this as some example of the man coming down on the masses -- seeing you get worked up about this is comical.

What is happening to Corti's totally makes sense, and if you want to get pissed off at someone get angry at your beloved Corti for fucking over his employees by not dealing with this situation when he could have.

He had power to deal with this a long time ago, but he avoided facing it and now has created a 'crisis' where a bunch of his workers are likely to get hurt.

Steve C.

nick said...

Steve Cohn?

Count Mockula said...

Don't want to get involved in any verbal combat, but I thought it was funny that I, too, fired off an e-mail to Ashker and got the same reply. "Hey, it could've been an auto parts store!"

nick said...

Well, when I pressed Ashker he couldn't name any other specific bidder but did go on the record as saying that other, national-chain stores had interest. Is he lying? Probably not. Here's the deal: The landlord wanted more money; she's in charge of her family's trust, the Davis Trust. Good Eats paid up. Corti couldn't cut it (didn't have the business acumen, wasn't aggressive enough, blah blah blah).

Thing is, that's kinda why I, customers, everyone likes Corti Bros: business isn't the bottom line. Cortis operated under a different mind set. The owner pounded pavement, traveled the world, cared about his product. Instead of crunching numbers and worrying about the bottom line, he brought unique and unparalleled foods to the city.

But now he's priced out. Corporate food. Box stores. Strip malls. Comcast. Save Mart. Safeway. Who cares. Ciao arrivaderla.

How do his employees feel? I dunno. Probably mixed. Why don't you get some balls and go ask them, and buy a bottle of Alsacian riesling while yr at it.

Sacramento's crazy. Established, longstanding institutions are more and more often getting priced out of town. How many things so truly Sacramento (not "I've lived in Midtown for 8 years" but "I've owned a store for 50") have to leave. Are we years passed this question already?


And it may not be worth $2 million to but out a specialty-foods grocer, but it is worth $144K for the city to intervene, subsidize the rent for a year and buy Corti the time to relocate. But, of course--and as it often comes down to--the city was stuck on its heels, either unaware or uninterested--and now the worst possible scenario is reality.

Liv Moe said...

I don't think Steve Cohn would be droppin' "F"-bombs.

Nice response Nick.

Anonymous said...

it's my fucking district I'll say whatever the fuck I want.

steve c.

Synonymous said...

nick, how do you go from a level headed response on your first post to that last one?

the city was stuck on it's heels? they do not look into this kinda stuff. business like this happens daily, only this time, you happen to like the place. normally, the city would only consider aiding a business if there is a substantial economic benefit - long or short term. it's tremendously commendable that the mayor was proactive in this situation at all. how would the city have ever known that this was in the works? it would be impossible - and it's ridiculous to assume that anyone but Corti and his landlord are to be at fault... if there is even a fault.

and Corti Bros. has not been in that location for 50 years dude. they've had to adapt and change with the times just like the rest of the world.

nick said...

1. i didn't write "in that location for 50 years" nor was the antecedent necessarily "Corti Bros"

2. "you happen to like the place." no, dude: d. corti is a Sacramento institution.

3. "city would only consider aiding a business if there is a substantial economic benefit." oh, now THAT'S level headed. Consider IMAX, for example, and the economic benefit reaped from the city helping them out.

4. And the mayor wasn't proactive. to be proactive is to do something about it BEFORE the shit hits the fan.

5. cohn likes to get sauced and show up at second saturday. i'm sure he gets drunk enough to drop the occasional F-bomb.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I've read all the stories on this situation, and knew there would be more info here.

Corti should get his own cooking, wine and travel show, he sounds like a character.

Also, I personally do not think that a 1 million buy and 2 years contract at $1 million total is much money anymore. I feel like that's pocket change to Raleys, and anyone who buys brands and expertise should pay up.

That said, good for Corti for looking for something else when his request was not met (by Raleys, not exactly a pauper, and by the landlord who sounds ridiculously greedy.) I also think that if doubling the rent is "market price", the landlord is a few years behind. She missed the peak of the overblown residential and commercial property market by about 3 years now.

Hopefully it all turns out okay, but I'm with Beck. While I can't quite stay out of Belair since it's close and I have a kid and Nugget kicks my *ss pricewise, I will be able to avoid whatever Raley's puts in to the old Corti's site no problem.


Count Mockula said...

Just need to clarify -- yes, Teel's mom is Joyce Raley-Teel, but he's no longer affiliated with Raley's. No need to boycott Raley's or Bel Air, as they had nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

I think the most sensible plan would be to identify all of Sacramento's long time institutions, knock them all down & paint a cool mural of them that reminds us to never forget.


beckler said...

It sucks how many anonymous posters, here and on the sacbee, etc. are so amused by people getting upset. Yes, I am upset. Corti's may close or may not be as good as it once was, or it may re-open and have less business and be forced to close. Those are basically the possibilities. Yes, I am upset about that. No, I do not go around looking for something to get upset about. You people who think it makes you cool to sit back and laugh are fucking dicks. There were probaly people who laughed in the 70s when a small group of people were trying to stand in the way of the Alhambra getting torn down. After all, they were standing in the way of progress and change, and it was good business to tear it down and build a safeway.

Hey, you all read the thing on IMAX that Cosmo wrote in this weeks news and review, right?

oops, while i was writing this miller beat me to the alhambra comparison. i'm still waiting for that jerry day report. armeniac?

Anonymous said...

I think I might still be at Jerry Day.


Anonymous said...

Hey I'm with ya'll on being bothered by how all of this went down. Regardless of how Corti handled the rent/lease issue, his family has built up a huge amount of good will in the community (why else would people be pissed off?) and has brought positive attention to Sacramento on a national level. It's exactly the type of "creative class" business that the city PTB are always going on about in terms of growing the area and raising our overall stature. So in the larger picture, messing with a business like this, is just stupid in the long-run. Kind of like the problems in Austin w/the Marriot Corporation trying to force out Las Manitas so they can convert the building to a boutique hotel.

Alice said...

for the folks who don't care about corti's future and laugh at the idea of the city intervening on behalf of a local establishment, i just don't get why you have to be so black and white about it. is it because you just think the free market will always make our community the best possible community? can't there be some balance between wanting certain businesses with historical and cultural significance protected while still maintaining a hands-off approach in other cases?

looking at the world through any kind of ideological lens to the exclusion of the complex reality facing a growing city that wants to maintain character doesn't serve anyone. nuanced perspectives on community "revitalization" are tough to sort through and apply judiciously but it's a better approach than choosing a one-size fits all mindset towards every aspect of this city.

so i'd encourage you to think about why you're harshing on people who want to protect something that has meaning to them. yeah, maybe what's happening isn't a "conspiracy". maybe the rhetoric of those who wish to keep corti's around seems juvenile or sophomoric to you. but piling your own hate on top of the situation makes little sense. if you had a favorite business that had meaning to your family and you felt it brought something positive and unique to this city and wanted the city to find a way of protecting it, i wouldn't dog on you for making a raucous about it.