At north Napa’s Bel Aire Plaza, it seems there is always something happening.
The once-scorned shopping center on Trancas Street, just west of Highway 29 at the end of California Boulevard, has blossomed into a thriving, popular gathering place for shoppers.
The indoor-outdoor seating at Whole Foods and Peet's provides a hangout for friends to chat, tap into their computers or just take time to relax after a busy day of work or running errands.
“I love this place. It is like an escape for me,” said Shannon Riley of Napa.
“I need an escape from the everyday stress of being a wife, mother and employee. I can do my shopping for dinner and stop for a cup of coffee before going home to face my hungry family,” Riley said, sipping her latte. “It’s a pit stop where I can charge my batteries before getting back to the rat race.”
Craig Semmelmeyer is the principal of Lafayette-based Main Street Property Services, which manages Bel Aire Plaza.
“Right now we are at 90 percent occupancy. We do our best to keep all of the stores full. But we won’t lease to tenants we believe are not right for Bel-Aire,” Semmelmeyer said.
Although Semmelmeyer is vague about future tenants, he hinted what types of future businesses Main Street Properties is pursuing.
“We would like to see a kitchen — home goods and another clothing store,” he said. “We have Chico’s Clothing going in where Umpqua Bank was. But we believe the center could and would support a different type of apparel store.”
Copperfield’s Books is scheduled to relocate next door to Whole Foods. The exact opening date has not been finalized, but is anticipated to be by the end of this month, Semmelmeyer said.
Pier 1 Imports will be taking over the vacant Copperfield’s site.
One of the oldest business in the plaza, Barber Shop of Napa Valley was sold to Headfeathers, a longtime Napa hair salon which will take over the barbershop Nov. 1.
“We have succeeded in attracting stores the public wants,” Semmelmeyer said.
“Many of our shoppers are not local Napa people. Bel Aire draws people from Calistoga all the way to Fairfield and beyond,” he said.
“We have what people want, and they are willing to travel to Bel Aire to get it.”
Napa Valley Patch asked several Bel Aire Plaza customers what stores they would like to see in the shopping center.
Amid the variety of answers, many said they want a sporting goods and a kitchen/bath store.
“I just adore Bed, Bath and Beyond. I would totally support that store if we had one in Bel Aire,” said Cindy Lewis of Napa. “It's a fun store to shop at, and most of their merchandise is affordable.”
Darrin Clark of American Canyon wants a sporting goods store in the plaza.
“There really isn’t any good sporting goods store in the valley. We have Big 5 up the street and Sweeney’s in River Park, but I want something like REI (Outlet) or even Marin Outdoors that used to be in Bel Aire,” Clark said. “I want to go somewhere that has a big selection whether I’m looking for a snowboard or a surfboard.”
Marty Hines would like a place for the kids.
“How about a pizza parlor like Chunk E. Cheese’s. We have a couple of restaurants in the center, but nothing really for families. Villa Corona has great food, but we just eat there and leave,” he said. “And I can’t afford to take the whole family to Firewood or BarBersQ.
"A pizza joint would be great. Order a pizza, a pitcher of beer and soda, give the kids some tokens for the games, kick back and relax. Sounds good to me,” Hines said.
For more, please see
- What Do You Want to See at Bel Aire Plaza? (with artist's rendering)
- Bel Aire Plaza Undergoing More Changes
- Bel Aire Mystery Solved: Chico's is Coming to Napa
- Bel Aire Barber Shop Changes Hands
and click the "Keep me posted" button for automatic updates on all things Bel Aire.
What businesses would you like to see come to Bel Aire Plaza? Tell us in the comments.