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New Nipomo shopping center opens, bringing added business, traffic to busy downtown area

NIPOMO, Calif. — The long-planned new Nipomo shopping center has opened for business, bringing added shopping and increased traffic to the busy downtown area.

Located along S. Frontage Road, near the intersection of Tefft Street and the Highway 101 on and off ramps, the shopping center features four new businesses.

The shopping center is located at the site of the former Nipomo Recreation Center, which burned down in 2008.

Afterward, the abandoned property became the site of a makeshift skateboard park. The park was torn down in April 2021 to make way for the start of construction of the new shopping center.

Earlier this month, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts opened their doors, while Grocery Outlet Bargain Market is set to open tomorrow at 7 a.m.

“I am so excited,” said owner Nesrine Rabia. “I cannot even wait. I want to open today. We have seen people coming by, 10, 20, 30 people, we’ve been seeing them so excited. I’m so excited to open the doors to open tomorrow.”

Tractor Supply Co. is expected to open next month and the Wendy’s restaurant is still currently under construction.

Also earlier this month, Dutch Bros., which is not part of the new shopping center, but is located adjacent to the property at the site of the former Little Jocko’s restaurant, opened two weeks ago.

Once all the new businesses are open, it will give shoppers in the South San Luis Obispo community an opportunity to keep more of their shopping in town, as opposed to driving out of the area.

“I think it’s a great idea to have extra places to shop here in Nipomo,” said Nipomo resident Ross Brothers. “If you go down to Santa Maria, it’s nine, ten miles. If you go up to Arroyo Grande, it’s nine, ten miles, so it’s nice to have additional shopping here in Nipomo.”

In addition, the new stores will give Nipomo additional employment opportunities as well. Grocery Outlet has a staff of 35 employees right now, with many more set to work in Tractor Supply, as well as those currently working at O’Reilly’s.

“It’s going to open jobs for so many people of all ages, from my age, a little bit older, all the way to high school, and it’s wonderful, so many jobs opening up,” said Grocery Outlet cashier Amanda Reid.

Rabia said she targeted Nipomo for the new grocery store, pointing out the potential and need for the market that she sees in the growing town.

“I am local,” said Rabia. “I do live here. I live in the neighborhood. I am here to support my community. I’m here to support  my town by giving them great change, some good prices when it comes to the products that we choose, the products that we have on the floor, the discounts that we’re offering, the customer service that we’re bringing in. We just want to be here as a good change, but also we want to be here to support our community, to have choices. We just want to be here supporting our customers.”

While the new stores will bring added shopping choices for the growing community, at the same time likely creating even more congestion along S. Frontage Road, which has been plagued with traffic issues for many years.

“I’m very concerned about the increase in traffic,” said Brothers. “Most of the roads here, especially away from Tefft, which is the main road, are two lane roads, one direction in each direction, and I think that’s going to back up a little bit with traffic at all times of the day, not just in the morning and the after-work hours.”

San Luis Obispo County has been working on alleviating traffic issues on Tefft Street and other nearby roadways for the past several years.

Last year, the county completed a major roadway improvement project that widened both freeway off ramps. In addition, the timing of the stoplights on Tefft Street were altered, and left turns from S. Frontage Road were restricted.

“Be patient with us,” said Rabia. “I understand there is going to be a little bit of traffic on Frontage Road. We know. We are going to be patient with each other. We know at the beginning especially at the grand opening, the first week, there is going to be traffic, let’s be patient with each other, let’s love each other so we get something great for Nipomo.”

No opening date of the new Wendy’s restaurant has been announced.

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