Target red tagged for quake damage

North Napa Target was among dozens of buildings "red tagged" on Monday, after inspectors discovered its decorative tower leaning several degrees off-kilter.

The north Napa Target store paid a heavy price Monday for its decorative tower.

When city inspectors came by early in the morning to look for earthquake damage, they determined that the tower was leaning to the west. If it were to fall, it would crush the roof below.

“It’s a health and safety hazard,” said Mike Allen, a city planner who was accompanied by two engineers. Were the tower to fall, “half the building could collapse,” he said.

The city officials “red-tagged” the building, which meant it would have to remain closed to shoppers until the tower issue was fixed.

Around town, businesses were scrambling to clean up and reopen as quickly as possible following the most powerful quake in Napa in living memory.

Inside Whole Foods at Bel Aire Plaza, it was business as usual. Next door, at Trader Joe’s, manager Kevin McGraw said “we were lucky.”

The store was about to get new floors so most stock had been placed in stacks on rolling “skates.” Those stacks were jostled but the wheels underneath prevented many items from tipping over, he said. “It kind of felt like a miracle for us,” he said.

However, the store did lose thousands of dollars’ worth of wine. But after the cleanup, “we’re good to go,” he said.

The aisles at Vallerga’s Market had been laid to waste from the quake, but store spokeswoman Chris Vallerga Burns vowed that the store would reopen Tuesday morning at 6 a.m.

“We had major damage like every other store,” said Vallerga Burns. But “we had great help from our employees and their friends and family” to clean up the store, she said Monday morning.

Vallerga Burns estimated that 50 percent of the store’s inventory had been lost in the quake. “We filled two dumpsters,” she said. But there was no structural damage to the Redwood Plaza store, she said. “We are very fortunate,” she said.

Jerry Giovannoni of Browns Valley Market said that the cleanup was “going good” and the west Napa market hoped to reopen Tuesday.

“We are getting deliveries in to replace stuff we lost,” he said. While wine and grocery items were ruined, “on the meat side we were able to seal off the freezers and walk-in boxes and keep everything at temperate that was good.”

Giovannoni estimated that over 50 percent of inventory had been lost.

With help from neighbors, other tenants in the Browns Valley center, employees and friends, “we’re working our butts off to get back on line,” he said. “We’re very thankful for that.”

Inside the CVS drugstore on Trancas near Bel Aire Plaza, a team of employees and vendors worked to clean and restock the store. At the liquor and wine aisle, the smell of alcohol wafted through the air. One staffer wheeled wet crumpled boxes of wine out the door.

Dan Egnew, store manager, said that both the store and pharmacy was open. He couldn’t provide damage totals, he said.

Across the street, the North Napa post office set up a tent and temporary mail dropoff and P.O. box pickup station. The north Napa and downtown main post office buildings remained closed due to damage, but those with P.O. boxes can receive their mail at the temporary station on Trancas or at the annex on Randolph Street, depending on where their P.O. box is located.

Home delivery was expected to continue without delay. All mail that was at the post office over the weekend and during the earthquake is secure, said Margarita Oregel, a supervisor at the north Napa station.

Most merchants at the Oxbow Public Market were open for business, but Lusine Hartunian of gourmet food shop Napastak said her shop lost 85 percent of its inventory. “I can’t even tell you” what the sight of the destruction felt like, she said.

Gourmet balsamic vinegar kits, truffle jars, oils and jams were destroyed, she said. “Today we are having an earthquake sale, cash only,” she said through her tears.

Melissa Schmitt of Poor House, another Oxbow merchant, said her shop lost glassware and ceramics in the quake. “Everything was dumped. It’s a mess,” she said.

At the same time, “we didn’t get it as much as other people,” she said. “I’m feeling really lucky, especially compared to downtown.”

After enduring its own cleanup, Kitchen Door restaurant was open for business on Monday, said Amelia Humphries, co-owner. “We worked all day yesterday,” she said. The restaurant lost wine, liquor and dishes. They were able to save some perishables when neighboring tenant Five Dot Ranch shared space inside their refrigerated truck, said Humphries.

At Napa’s Home Depot, assistant store manager Jeremiah Smith said that the company put in an emergency order to deliver quake cleanup supplies such as water heater parts, fittings, garbage bags and water shovels.

“It’s selling about as fast as we can put it on the floor,” said Smith. Damage to the store was not as bad as others, he said. The business opened as usual at 7 a.m. on Sunday, using generators.

“It was a pretty hectic morning,” he noted. In addition to helping customers, “we have a crew of about 40 people in downtown and Browns Valley driving trucks filled up with water and garbage cans and bags,” going house to house to see if they can help out.

In addition to locally owned grocery stores, as of Monday morning, the Safeway at Trancas and Jefferson was open, but the Safeway on Clay Street at Jefferson was not. The Lucky on Trancas was open but the Lucky on California Boulevard was not. Raley’s in the South Napa Marketplace was open.

On Monday, City Winery at the Opera House posted a news release on its website that said, “Our historic building has remained structurally strong (and) we continue our clean up and recovery effort with the hope of opening as soon as we are physically able.”

A Monday night Men Without Hats concert was canceled as well as the scheduled Vintner Vinyl event, postponed till Thursday.

“Our status is currently day-to-day but we hope to be able to open tomorrow to serve the local Napa Community as well as our visitors,” said the announcement.

On the Uptown Theatre’s website, an announcement read, “We are cleaning up after the quake.” The box office was closed Monday.

A select number of auditoriums at Napa’s Century Theaters complex were open on Monday, said a theater employee.

By midafternoon on Monday, approximately 20 out of 50 stores at the Napa Premium Outlets were open, said spokes woman Maura Eggan. Those numbers would increase as the hours go by, she said. The outlets sustained no structural damage and no windows were broken. But “there was stuff all over the place,” and “very few” tenants sustained some minimal water damage from broken sprinkler pipes. The outlets are open regular store hours, said Eggan.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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