Shops shifting at Valley Mart Shopping Center

WORKERS DIG UP the front of what will be the new home of Redwood Credit Union. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

WORKERS DIG UP the front of what will be the new home of Redwood Credit Union. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune


The stores at Valley Mart Shopping Center at the intersection of Fifth Street West and West Napa Street will face some changes over the next few months, with some moving out of the center completely and one closing down.

The shift will make room for Pet Food Express, a Northern California pet supply chain, to move into space previously occupied by several shops, while Redwood Credit Union moves into the space that once housed Blockbuster, near the Fifth Street West entrance. The pet food store will occupy the vacant shop directly west of the former Blockbuster as well as Patt’s Copy World, Scandia Bakery and Body and Soul Natural Foods.

Patt’s Copy World will be moving to a location off First Street West while Body and Soul will be closing, with uncertain plans of relocation. Scandia Bakery will stay within Valley Mart, with plans to move into the Redwood Credit Union space.

Redwood Credit Union Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Anne Benjamin, said the credit union will move in later spring or early summer, with a definite date to be determined.

“We are taking every opportunity to build our footprint,” Benjamin said.

The move is exciting for the company, because moving to a larger space is not only a testament to the credit union’s strength and success in the community, but it also gives Redwood a chance to revamp existing bank features, including a redesign to look like newer branches. Benjamin says the branch is also looking at ways to bring new technology into the new Valley Mart site.

Shop owners in the strip slated for the pet supply store found out about the move in late December, said Body and Soul employee Christa Hernandez.

Hernandez, who is the sole employee at the shop aside from the owner, said the shift came as a bit of a shock, especially since, after 37 years of business, Body and Soul will close its doors. According to Hernandez, the shop must be closed and the space vacated by the end of the month.

But for Patt Bettinelli, owner of Patt’s Copy World, the move couldn’t have come at a better time.

Bettinelli said after 18 years at Valley Mart, she and her husband had decided it was time for a change and were actively looking to move locations in 2013. “It’s been tempting to move out of the center for a couple of years, but we couldn’t because of equipment,” Bettinelli said. “For us, this push to move is really a good thing.”

The copy shop will open at its new location, 677 First St. W., on March 1.

Bettinelli says the shop will have nearly double the space, which will allow her to bring in more equipment, including some items new to the Sonoma copying and printing world, including a new printer for creating outdoor signs and an onsite notary.

“Things have changed a lot in 18 years,” Bettinelli said. “This is a possibility for new ideas and we are trying to bring new things to Sonoma.”

Marcela Barrenechaea, owner of Scandia Bakery, which has been in the same location in Valley Mart for 25 years, also feels the change is positive for her store.

Scandia will move several shops down, into the bigger space that is currently occupied by Redwood Credit Union, this summer.

Barrenechaea hopes to have the move completed in August, closing the bakery for two to three days to move and set up the ovens and large equipment.

She also plans to offer more lunch and bakery items. Ninety percent of the bakery items will stay the same, but she would like to experiment with a few new scones.

While the bakery will stay true to its roots, with a similar decor, Barrenechaea says the new location will have more seating, including a bench in the corner window, and she will offer wi-fi so customers can use the Internet.

The bakery will hold a grand re-opening celebration featuring its new items. Details for the event have yet to be determined.

“It feels like (the bakery) is growing upward and (the new location) will help us a lot because we can offer more things,” Barrenechaea said.

A representative from Pet Food Express could not be reached for comment about the new store.

  • LL

    I can’t understand why a Trader Joe’s isn’t viable for Broadway, but Pet Food Express is a good option for 5th street!

    • The Village Idiot

      Dogs Rule! ;-)

      • Karen Adams

        Yup, we love those barking dogs.

    • Karen Adams

      Absolutely a Trader Joe’s, it would have been much more beneficial for a greater percentage of residents of Sonoma and surrounding areas.

  • Irene Bullock

    I’m thrilled that Pet Food Express is moving into this center. Now I won’t have to leave town to purchase pet food.

    • Paula Siegel

      Brocco’s on Arnold Drive has a wide selection of pet food and pet supplies. I don’t see the need for another pet food store especially there!

  • Corey Stroud Morton

    I was not aware of a need for another pet food store. There are numerous local businesses that

  • Irene Bullock

    Just not the brands that PFE sells.

  • Gina Paisley

    Many of us longtime Sonoma residents will miss Body & Soul terribly. No more walking in to hear the gracious greetings of the owner, and browsing the unique clothing, jewelry, essential oils, and multiple kinds of pretty items for gifting.

    It’s particularly galling that this special shop will be replaced by yet one more chain. I’m an animal lover; I’ve had dogs all the time I’ve lived here, and never felt the need for a pet supply chain store in town. We already have Brocco’s for pet food, plus another store on the east side, if it’s still there.

    Body & Soul has a solid base of customers who’ve been finding ‘just the right thing’ there for many years. For us, this is a bitter loss. Every time I’ve stopped in since the sign went up announcing their pending closure, the shop’s been filled with loyal customers lamenting the change. How long will tourists continue to flock to our town once all our locally-owned small businesses are replaced by chain franchises?