In an era of chain supermarkets, a successful, full-service, family-owned grocery store is a rarity. But the Village Market at 5885 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, has thrived for six decades, and it's celebrating its anniversary Saturday, Oct. 13, from 2 to 6 p.m.
The afternoon's activities include live '50s music from Melvin and the Mellowtones, balloons and face painting for the kids, safety information from the Oakland Fire Department (complete with fire truck), raffles every half hour and the store's popular outdoor barbeque.
Food supplies offering samples and demonstrations include Boulangeries Solignac, Clif Bar, Clover, Delicious Skin, Dreyer's Estancia, Evolution, La Cascade and Viccolo.
Opened in 1952 by the Larson family (which still operates Piedmont Grocery on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland), the market was purchased Nov. 1, 1974, by Piedmont residents Jim and Janie Trimble.
The elder Trimbles are now retired (and "doing great," according to daughter Claire Bryant), but the store is still family-run. Bryant and one of her brothers, Keith Trimble, manage the market today. Another brother, Joe, owns Encinal Market in Alameda, and oldest brother Alex is a patent attorney in San Francisco.
The Village Market served as something of a community center following the Oakland Hills firestorm of 1991, remaining open even though much of the surrounding neighborhood was devastated. Displaced neighborhood residents used a bulletin board posted just outside the store's front entrance to leave messages for one another.
"The only reason we didn't burn down was that the Oakland Fire Department used our parking lot as a headquarters during the fire," Bryant recalled.
The aftermath of the fire brought challenges, including the loss of over half of the store's regular clientele.
"That's when we started being open 364 days a year — but we always close on Christmas," Bryant said.
More recently the store has emphasized more organic and ready-to-eat foods (including fresh sushi). Five days a week, customers line up for hot-off-the-grill steak, chicken and kebabs from a barbecue in the parking lot. Catering and compete holiday meals are available.
For more information, call (510) 547-3200 or visit www.villagemkt.com
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