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Coronavirus delays grand opening of SLO Public Market

Posted at 8:04 AM, May 08, 2020

The long anticipated San Luis Obispo Public Market already delayed its Fall 2019 open date and now, the coronavirus is pushing that grand opening back even further.

Taylor Judkins, the project manager, had hoped to bring customers to the market at Higuera Street and Tankfarm Road by the end of this month.

But due to the stay at home order and the risk of virus spread, it will likely be several more months until people can visit the market.

Negranti Creamery, which is based in Paso Robles, is one of the many tenants waiting anxiously to move into the market.

"We can't wait to get to SLO," Negranti Creamery Co-owner Alexis Negranti said.

Negranti Creamery churns out flavors like strawberry basil, salted brown sugar and mint chip.

"People say 'oh, your mint chip isn't green and that's because we don't use any dyes," Negranti said. "Our ice cream is actually 100 percent sheep's milk ice cream, really good for people suffering from lactose intolerance."

What Negranti considers "cleaner" ice cream will one day be sold alongside Bing Bao Buns, Figueroa Mountain Brewing beers, and Kraken coffee but it may not be a reality until late summer.

"You have the complications of construction, which always has it's own sets of delays, now you have the virus on top of that," Judkins said.

Though the SLO Public Market is already several months behind its preliminary September open date, Judkins believes the delay my be a blessing.

"Thankfully we weren't open before coronavirus hit because I don't know if our project could've survived that," Judkins said.

Because most of the market's 24 vendors are food and drink providers, Taylor suspects the tenants would have struggled due to California's coronavirus restrictions.

"We want to be past all the phases of reopening before our project reopens just to give it the best chance of success," Judkins said.

Once restrictions lift, Taylor and the market's tenants are hopeful the design of this space makes customers feel comfortable gathering in a world where social distancing may be the new norm.

"We're set up remarkably well to be outdoors quite a bit," Judkins said. "So we feel like that accommodates the virus pretty well."

The market will have dedicated parking spaces for take-out orders and Judkins said indoor seating may be reevaluated depending on the status of virus containment.

For Negranti, the delay is disappointing but the support of loyal customers makes the wait worthwhile.

"It makes us feel loved and valued and we promise to give back so much once this is all over," Negranti said.

The tentative open date is now set for August.

The market is 75 percent leased and applications for new tenants are being accepted.