Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Is Bentley’s closing the demise of River View?


The news that Bentley’s is closing didn’t really surprise me. Joan had reported that the bistro closed and speculated about the future of the store.

Things seemed pretty shaky to me about a month ago when I visited Zen Spa, where I get my hair done, and realized only four stylists were left working there. It was kind of sad. I really noticed that foot traffic was way down in the center and there were a lot of empty parking spaces.

So, what happened? How did the RiverView shopping center go from the hot spot to this slow demise. Is it just the economy? With the former Flamenco restaurant space still vacant and Bentley’s getting out, it makes me wonder if the other stores and restaurants can make it. (I hear the Red Door may be out too? Anyone know for sure? The phone is disconnected.)

I brain-stormed today, trying to think what business could possibly fill the Bentley’s anchor spot in the center. All I can think of is Trader Joe’s, and I have a hard time believing they would add a third store in the area. It took what seemed like eons for the Clovis store to open. Anyone have a guess? Or a wish?

If I had to push for something different, maybe someone could open one of these restaurant/movie theater places.

Responses to "Is Bentley’s closing the demise of River View?"

dominic says:

Kathy, Maybe it’s the picture of your hair that’s making your salon slow down. I mean, come on, that picture can’t be helping them out at all.

Kathy Mahan says:

Ha! I really should change that photo. It was a joke — and one that really makes me look like a dork.

Mike Oz says:

Looks like somebody is trying to become the big bad Beehive villain lately.

Good luck with that.

elguapo says:

In this economic climate a 99 cent store would anchor this place just lovely! Lol!

DB says:

Viva la Tower District y Downtown!

Joey Pauline says:

What about Fresh & Easy? I’d def approach them if I were a Broker now that they’re infiltrating Fresno. It could also be a cool opportunity for the power house SaveMart to test a new small box model.. All I know, is that when Bentley’s opened I promised myself that I’d move if it wasn’t a success (I was much more of a renegade in those days).

wet towel says:

…actually, a Third Trader Joe’s would work well up there, as that’s a (serious) Trader Joe’s sort of ‘burb…
I don’t know if it would have such a bad draw-down on the two other locations (as) TJ’s on Blackstone and Barstow is still heavilly hit by OldFig, West, and South, (and) the world of Champlain and Perrin is literally right around the corner from Riverview –with a lot of the town pushing up to there…

djrzn says:

Maybe this wouldn’t be the best location for this type of operation, but I would love to see a concept similiar to that of “Berkeley Bowl”.(Two locations in Berkeley)
With an emphasis on good, local produce and not so much high end glitz & glamour but more solid substance and variety.

Andrew Toschi says:

Fig is even worse off than River View.

kumar says:

This is the first I’ve heard of this “River View” place.

Merlin says:

sprawl has come home to roost……..the dump road is now rice road?……you can’t run or hide………
almost sorry.

sir lancelot higgins says:

The parking lot is great for the people that do not want to pay the money to get into the park.

mdub420 says:

sakanaya is the only place i go to in river view. as long as they don’t close, i’m good.

bradley says:

lol, this town’s obsession with trader joe’s as a solution to every vacant retail space is bizarre.

tj’s knows its fans will drive to their locations. its all about radius population. they, and other fresno fav’s like ikea, do not choose spots based on convenience, they use population density formulas informed by demographic profiles.


Marisa says:

I’m sad that Bentley’s is closing, but it was going downhill for some time. The selection was getting leaner and the veggies stayed on the shelf probably a little longer than they should have. I lived for Flamenco’s too and when they closed I was devastated.

I live next door, but probably won’t be going to River View too often. I don’t eat Panda Express, don’t have a Gold’s membership, and don’t drink Starbucks… I didn’t like Red Door so I wouldn’t be surprised if they closed. The Standard is nice if that’s your scene. I mostly wind up there for convenience.

I would love a Trader Joes to go there, but Bradley is right. I already drive to the Willow/Nees location every week, so it’s unlikely they’d open another when they already have my business.

Also, I don’t know what this Fresh & Easy is, but I’m pretty sure they are opening one on Cedar / Nees so River View is too close to that.

Jason says:

It’s obvious isn’t it? What we really need is another chain movie theater.

anon says:

The demise of this shopping center can be attributed to it’s poor development. It’s a good location, but the buildings weren’t very versatile or attractive. It’s a shame that a nicer shopping center of a fig village quality wasn’t built there.

blake says:

No, the obvious answer is, they have to build another shopping center– but further north!

Angie says:

LOVED Flamanco’s! After they closed, we stoped going to that area as well.

Cherie says:

A Whole Foods would help revive the shopping center. Bentleys lacked the quality, consistency and service of a true gourmet market, plus they never really committed to higher standards. I know people love “local” here in Fresno, but for a local establishment to be successful, Service levels have to be increased and snobby attitudes of “big fishes in small ponds” need to be changed to suit the diverse population and customer base needed to sustain any business.

bburns says:

It’s sad that a fine business like Bentley’s closed as will many more yet during our economic recession. Fantasizing about its replacement is premature as we will be lucky to find a bait shop willing to expand without a substantial credit expansion. Banks are shoring up their balance sheets, a new round of mortgage failures are impending, and we haven’t even felt the first round of failures among commercial real estate developments yet. Perhaps Obama will include $150 million in the defense bill for a squash court there!

Anna Wells_Ortega says:

It is very sad that another business is closing in Fresno. As the owner of Flamenco I can tell you that Bentley’s did everything to bring people in, car shows, music, different events every week……the support for our local bussineses is just not there. The economy has a lot to do with it and trust me there is no stimulus money coming for small businesses, it’s all a lie.
I feel very sad for OUR city and all the establishments that are gone. I miss my guests at Flamenco. Thank you for the positive comments and your support.

Anna Wells_Ortega says:

Support your local parks they are also struggling to keep open.

Frank says:

It is sad that Bentley’s closed and it simply another business to leave the shopping center. I too was a Flamenco regular and was horrified when it closed. Since it’s closure, we’ve had very little cause to visit the shopping center. I’m sure if they could figure out how to re-open Flamenco, it would be a huge success….so many are talking about them and they’ve been closed for over a year! Let’s start the “REOPEN FLAMENCO” campaign!

M. Schwartz says:

I’m not sure that Fresh n Easy would work in this area (to replace Bentleys) but I have heard good things about the “Berkley Bowl” and they would make a good fit! I’m with Frank on Flamenco!! Re-open Flamenco now! Whenever my wife and I went out to eat, we would only go to Flamenco’s and never disappointed. Now that they’re gone, we rarely go out to eat AT ALL! Everybody serves pretty much the same thing in Fresno; just presented differently!

Arnie says:

Most people view higher quality food as a luxury like fancy shoes. I am in the minority in how important decent quality food is to my overall life experience. But since I am in the minority, Bentley’s will be closing, and Panda Express will thrive.

People are very rational and most simply haven’t seen the benefit of different levels of food on their overall health, so they see the economic benefit of Panda VS. the perceived waste of money at something like a Bentley’s.

Final nail in the coffin: the location and access to the whole River View area is just not good. It is off the beaten path for almost everyone and the entrance is not stately or becoming at all when contrasted with Fig Garden Village which has a lot of people on both Palm and Shaw automatically.

Brooke says:

It needs to be a business that would track in a lot of traffic to revitalize the whole shopping center. Trader Joe’s would be nice, but there already a few in the area and plus I’d like something locally owned. I can’t say I go to that center all that often—I usually go where leads me, like last week when I was searching for spa packages on the cheap. Someone earlier mentioned a Berkeley Bowl type of grocery, and that would definitely bring me in.