Iconic Sunnyvale fruit stand to close doors, establish 'closing of an era'

- They're a holdover from a time when the South Bay was covered in orchards: C.J. Olson Cherries has been a fixture in Sunnyvale for nearly 120 years. But now they've announced they're closing their beloved fruit stand.

And for loyal customers, it means the end of an era.

Tearful patrons have been coming all week since the official announcement was made. Barbara Blahnick, a long-time customer says, "I was sad. I mean it's part of my childhood."

Edie Chong, also a devoted customer says, "It's the fruits and the people, the combination. It's just been a place, just a special place to come."

The Sunnyvale institution was started by Deborah Olson's great grandparents. Her grandmother, Rose, added the fruit stand in 1932.

Olson says, "There's just a handful of people who are now like 90, 95 years old that remember my grandmother. And their kids are coming." 

But eventually the Valley of Hearts Delight, turned into Silicon Valley. Now there are apartments where the orchards once sat and a strip mall with a Trader Joe's where the farming operations happened.

Olson says there were simply too many factors working against them. "The change in demographics, a lot of competition. Time to retire from the retail business," she said.

Olson announced the closure in front of the city council this week. She says the decision wasn't easy.

"As I walked out, there's a portrait of my great grandparents on the wall,” Olson said. “So I went up to them and I just said, ‘I gave it all I had.’"

The family still farms a few acres of cherries and apricots. And for those hoping for Olson fruit, they plan to have small displays at other markets like Zanottos and Di Martinis.

But customers say it say it just won't be the same. 

"It's kind of the closing of an era," Blahnick says.

Customers still have a bit of time to make their final purchases and say their goodbyes. The C.J. Olson Fruit Stand closes for good September 30th.
 

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