August 12, 2014

Demolition makes room for AutoZone in Merced

Demolition began Tuesday on the old restaurant building at Olive Avenue and G Street to make way for a new AutoZone.

A long-empty restaurant building in north Merced bit the dust Tuesday to make way for an auto parts store more than twice its size.

A demolition crew used heavy machinery to knock down the more than 3,000-square-foot building that most recently housed Wimpy’s Breakfast & Burgers, but was also once home to Lyon’s Restaurant and Perko’s Cafe. The building stood since 1975, but has been empty since February 2013.

The developer plans to put a 6,810-square-foot AutoZone in its place on the corner of G Street and Olive Avenue, according to city records. The area around the store will need upgrades to accommodate parking and change some of the building’s design.

The store is expected to employ about 10 people when it opens in late November or early December, according to Maria Mendoza, a development associate with the city.

Typical hours for an AutoZone store are 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. There will be no auto repair or service taking place at the site, according to city records.

Assuming construction crews meet the target date, the new location will add to the list of retail stores that opened this year in Merced. Retail chain stores Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread and Harbor Freight Tools opened new locations in town.

Retail jobs make up a considerable portion of the market in Merced County.

About 12 percent of the people working at a nonfarm job in the county are employed by a retail store. The retail sector provides about 7,400 of the 60,900 nonfarm jobs in the county, according to the most recent numbers from the Employment Development Department.

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