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Good News: Future of Sweet Jill's No Longer Unsure

The owner of the popular corner fixture, which has been perfuming Belmont Shore with the aroma of cinnamon rolls for a generation, said she has a new corner location on Second Street.

Even before escrow closed this summer on the building at Second and Corona, rumors were rampant that Sweet Jill's and three other businesses were being evicted by new owners.

Jill Pharis-Yeakel, the owner of a cinnamon bun and confection shop that has anchored a prime corner of Belmont Shore for a generation, kept mum.

Then, June 29, 2012, escrow closed, and Baja Fish Tacos Inc. of Santa Ana became the owner. Sales price: $3.8 million on the building of 4,016 square feet, according to public records. That is a purchase price of $946 a square foot.

There seemed no way the building's tenants could expect to stay; there is only so much the market will bear for a cinnamon roll, and the math for the other tenants--Fingers & Toes, Saga and Paris Tailors and Cleaners--also looked unfavorable.

But despite a sign in the storefront window of clothing store Saga two months ago announcing the business would close, Sweet Jill's steadfastly gave no hint of departure.  And owner of the shop at 5224 E. Second Street in Belmont Shore Jill Pharis-Yeakel, made no such public comment.

That changed in an e-mailed note dated Monday:

This letter is written to inform you that Sweet Jill’s will be relocating to a new location in Belmont Shore following 25 wonderful years on Second Street.  Jill Pharis-Yeakel said that she anticipates construction of the new store will commence the second week of October and is hopeful to be in the new store shortly after the New Year. She looks forward to the new and completely redesigned space.  The store will be moving a few blocks west and will be located on the northeast corner of 2nd Street and Argonne Avenue at 5001 Second Street.

 The entrepreneur indicated that she looks forward to having new equipment, furnishings, flooring, displays, and is confident the new location will be enjoyed by her continued customers, Belmont Shore neighbors, the community as a whole, and her employees. Her other location in Seal Beach and her ongoing business at the Long Beach Airport will continue as usual.

 She indicated that the new location will include a few new Bakery delights to compliment her existing Cinnamon Rolls, Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, Muffins and delectable Pastries.

 Jill said “we are thankful to everyone who expressed their concern when word spread that our present location was purchased and the Lease would not be continued. The new buyer is willing to let us stay until our new space is ready for our occupancy. We are fortunate to have a new long-term Lease and look forward to serving everyone for many years to come."

 Sincerely,

 SWEET JILL’S

 Jill Pharis-Yeakel

The new location is where Love Shack retail store recently departed and, prior to that, the longtime 5001 furniture and accessories store.

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Dave Newell October 01, 2012 at 11:33 PM
$900 a sq/ft?! MEDIC!
Watts October 02, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I frequently find myself too weak to resist the coconut macaroons, when walking by.
Nancy Wride (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Dave, those figures are according to public records, and the square footage is based on tax records, so unless I did the math wrong, that is the price. It seems extraordinarily high, and I guess those will be some seriously excellent and pricy steak tacos :D Watts, I am drawn in by the cinnamon roll smell, end up getting the sugar free, which is still fairly decadent and the regular are too sugary for me.
Mike King October 02, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Best olfactory experience in the Shore, hands down.
Debi Weihing October 02, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Second Street wouldn't be the same without Sweet Jill's. Totally love sweet decadence!
Robert October 02, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Baja Fish Tacos is amazing! This is a win-win for everyone.
Dave Newell October 02, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Doing the math, I would say $3.8m for 4,000+ sq.ft for commercial property on 2nd St is a STEAL. But someone mentioned macaroons, so now she has one more customer. Side note: One day I will open a little place of my own...
Mike Ruehle October 02, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Despite the city's parking codes preventing retail from being turned into restaurants, the 5001 retail space will be converted to restaurant space and Baja Fish Taco's will add another alcohol license to 2nd street. The commercial property owners love it because they can charge more rent. Councilman DeLong will support both moves in violation of city municipal codes because that is what he always does. Belmont Shore residents can expect their property values to deminish as they lose ANOTHER retail space in the city's conversion of 2nd street in to Pine Avenue. Interesting that Sweet Jills has already signed the lease for the former 5001 retail space before a public hearing seeking a variance from the city's municipal parking codes.
John B. Greet October 02, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Which municipal code(s), parking or otherwise, -specifically- prohibit(s) the relocation of these businesses?
lv2bsnwbrdn October 02, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Thank God! Their German Chocolate cake and Cake Logs are out if this world!
John Yeakel October 03, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Sweet Jill's have never been considered a restaurant. Better know as retail take out.
Mike Ruehle October 03, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Sweet Jills WAS zoned as a restaurant because it had dining room seating. Even if Sweet Jills wasn't zoned as a restaurant in its current location, Baja Taco's certainly will be zoned as a restaurant. Any way you slice it, there will be one less retail space in Belmont Shore.
John B. Greet October 03, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Still wondering which municipal code(s), parking or otherwise, -specifically- prohibit(s) the relocation of these businesses?
Mike Ruehle October 03, 2012 at 09:56 PM
If you weren't always so insulting, I might make time to provide the information since I specifically wrote about it in numerous newsletters when I was BSRA President. As is, find it your self.
John B. Greet October 04, 2012 at 12:54 AM
LOL....ok Ruehle. So its apparently *my* fault that you either cannot or will not support your assertion with some simple facts. You, of all people, are going to accuse someone *else* of being insulting? :Shaking head::

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