South County businesses hope to attract customers
Developer and former owner of the Mt. Aukum Square Andy Hall has been in business in the Sierra foothills for 27 years. He used his retirement savings to build the business complex after scouring the entire state until in the 1980’s long-time resident Kenny Dean introduced him to the area.
Hall then hired a San Francisco research firm to survey the area and discovered high business potential in the Pleasant Valley area exceeding the Mt. Aukum site which was developed in 1995.
He decided to build two grocery stores, Hall’s Supermarkets, in both locations.
The Pleasant Valley store exceeded expectations grossing about $6 million in its last year under Hall’s ownership and would later be sold to Holiday Markets in 1997, which provides full grocery services to the foothill communities today.
“The Mt. Aukum store initially did quite well,” Hall said. “But when the two lumber mills closed, and I lost my pharmacy, we began to struggle.”
At that time, the square called Cedar Creek Shopping Center had Hall’s Supermarket, Pioneer Realty, the United States Post Office, a workout gym, a CPA office and later a pre-school.
Hall closed Hall’s Supermarket in November of 1997 and eventually lost the property to the bank. He continues to do business as a real estate agent specializing in the foothill communities.
“Foothill business is a tough business,” he said. “You can’t attract large name companies like McDonald’s or Taco Bell, so you attract ‘mom and pop’ type of businesses. To succeed in a ‘mom and pop’ business you have to...