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St. Helena's Dean & DeLuca closes

St. Helena's Dean & DeLuca retail store has closed.

The sign taped on the glass door at St. Helena’s Dean & DeLuca on Friday was both right and wrong.

It said the St. Helena luxury gourmet food and wine store was closed Thursday and Friday for the July 4th holiday.

On Friday, however, an operator at the Wichita, Kansas headquarters of Dean & DeLuca, who identified herself only as Nikki, confirmed that the St. Helena store is permanently closed. It is unknown how many employees are affected.

On Friday afternoon, Google also reported Dean & DeLuca is permanently closed.

The closing confirmed rumors of the store’s demise, in part because vendors haven’t been paid. Earlier this year, there was talk that the St. Helena store was empty of both wines for sale and customers, although during a recent afternoon visit, there were several customers at the deli ordering sandwiches. There were a few Napa Valley wines to buy in that section of the store, although the wine shelves were nowhere near full.

Dean & DeLuca is located at 607 South St. Helena Highway, several miles south of downtown St. Helena.

According to a May 2018 Bisnow Media story, Dean & DeLuca continued to shrink its brick-and-mortar stores, from 42 to 18 across the United States and battled lawsuits from suppliers claiming they haven’t been paid. New York City bakery Elenis says it was owed $86,000 for cookies sold to the store and Ceci Cela Patisserie saying it is owed $70,000.

Thailand’s Pace Development Corporation bought the Dean & DeLuca chain in November 2014 for $140 million. The purchase included the supply chain and operations of 11 outlets and two commissaries in the United States as well as licensing agreements covering 31 countries.

At that time, Sorapoj Techakraisri, CEO of Pace said the iconic brand has “extraordinary potential for rapid growth globally. We expect to open hundreds of new stores in the next two years to add to the current 42 stores and to increase our global footprint from eight countries to more than 15 countries through licensing and our own investments.”

Giorgio DeLuca and Joel Dean opened the original 2,600 square-foot store in September 1977 in SoHo, an artist and warehouse district in lower Manhattan.

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St. Helena Star Editor

David Stoneberg is the editor of the St. Helena Star, an award-winning weekly newspaper. Prior to joining the Star in 2006, he worked for the Lake County Record-Bee, the Clear Lake Observer American, the Middletown Times Star, The Weekly Calistogan and st