LAYTONVILLE, 12/18/23 — Geiger’s Long Valley Market, located at 44951 U.S. Highway 101 in Laytonville, appears to have abruptly closed its doors without any public notice. Calls to the store’s listed phone number during business hours went unanswered on Friday, Dec. 8, Monday, Dec. 11, Thursday, Dec. 14 and Monday, Dec. 18. Reporters who visited Geiger’s during business hours found the front door locked and the store apparently closed — possibly on a permanent basis.
According to Geiger’s voicemail recording and Google Maps listing, however, they’re still supposedly open seven days a week until 8 p.m. CEO Michael Maciel did not respond directly to multiple emails requesting confirmation of the store’s closure or the date on which his store was last open to the public. He did, however, tell The Mendocino Voice’s attorney that he would not comment on the matter in an email concerning previous reporting.
Maciel’s management of Laytonville’s only full-service grocery store has been marked by controversy due to residents’ reported increase in difficulty accessing food. The small town’s reliance on foodbank nutrition nearly doubled after Maciel took over.
Dietary staples were suddenly either unavailable for purchase or priced out of reach for local consumers, which was cited as the primary driver of new food bank sign-ups in October by Jayma Shields Spence, executive director of the Laytonville Healthy Start Community & Family Resource Center.
Former customers and employees said prices increased, inventory dwindled and the quality of available food declined. Residents who could not afford to drive to neighboring communities with grocery stores were left with few alternatives.
Maciel and his co-owners were also named as defendants in a federal lawsuit filed by General Produce in April, alleging they failed to pay for $75,940 in wholesale goods. Maciel said in October the dispute arose over the quality of produce delivered. Court records indicate the lawsuit was settled in September.
During an October interview with The Mendocino Voice, Maciel stated that store revenues were down roughly 60 percent, and asked the Laytonville community for patience. Maciel has since repeatedly declined to answer questions about when the store last opened to customers or whether the apparent closure is permanent.
Jayma Shields Spence said in an email Dec. 15 that the food bank she leads was picking up donated food items from Geiger’s that day. She also reported on the front page of the Dec. 7 Mendocino County Observer that Geiger’s has been closed since Nov. 30, although that information could not be independently confirmed.
If true, the closure came less than 10 days after Geiger’s posted on social media that the store had been restocked for Thanksgiving, and just three days after management advertised a discount for Laytonville residents “while supplies last.” Comments were disabled on both posts.
It remains unclear, for now, whether the store has closed on a permanent basis — and the owners won’t say one way or the other.
5/22/23 — Geiger’s Long Valley Market building for sale; market will stay open
10/8/23 — Geiger’s Market opens in Hopland
10/31/23 — Geiger’s downhill slump mystifies and dismays Laytonville residents and employees