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News: 03/01/2016

Business Beat – Glen Ellen Village Market acquired by Sacramento-area grocery chain



After more than 50 years in business, the Glen Ellen Village Market, along with its sister store, Sonoma Market, has been sold to Sacramento area-based Nugget Markets grocery chain.

Don Shone and Dale Downing, co-owners of Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Village Market, announced they will be selling both store locations to family-owned Nugget Markets this month. The transaction is set to close March 31, with Shone and Downing staying on board for six months to ensure a smooth transition.

“Don and I are thrilled that we are able to turn our stores over to a great retailer that fosters our same values and dedication to our customers and employees,” said Downing in a press release. Calling it a “bittersweet juncture,” Downing also said, “It is a great relief that we found a company that will continue to offer our employees a dynamic culture and a secure work environment, while maintaining a strong focus on quality perishables, local and organic groceries, and most importantly, our community.”

There are no plans to change much – the markets’ names and employees will all stay the same. Downing said the new owners will be able to offer more benefits to the employees and wield more buying power, so customers may see some of the prices go down, as well.

The Sonoma and Glen Ellen markets have been fixtures in the Sonoma Valley community for decades and employ more than 175 people between the two stores. In 1985 Downing and Shone combined their many years of retail grocery experience and created Sonoma Market. The Glen Ellen Village Market was built in 1993, replacing the original Glen Ellen store that opened in 1963.

Nugget Markets CEO and President Eric Stille said he is honored to be given the opportunity to acquire Sonoma and Glen Ellen Village Markets, and that the core values of both companies align nicely.

Nugget Markets, Inc. is a privately held, family-owned and -operated company headquartered in Woodland, California. It was founded in 1926 by Mack and William Stille, Eric Stille’s grandfather and great-grandfather.

The upscale Nugget Markets focus on natural, organic and local products that are displayed alongside conventional and ethnic items. The company also owns and operates two Food 4 Less stores and one Fork Lift by Nugget Markets for a total of 15 stores across Marin, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties. The average number of employees per store is 130.

Nuggets Markets has landed on FORTUNE magazine’s national list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” 10 years in a row.

Shone and Downing agree that Nugget Markets’ commitment to community and its employees played a large part in their decision. “Though we have been sought after by many companies over the years, only now do we feel we have the perfect fit for our market family,” Shone said. “Dale and I can rest assured that our employees, who have helped build this company and are loved by the community, will be well taken care of.” Downing said Nuggets Market will remain as committed to the local community as he and Shone have been, from sponsorship of local events to supporting the fire department. “We are really happy. I think it will be great for the community,” said Downing.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to serve and support Sonoma Valley for the past 52 years. Don and I would like thank all of our friends and customers that have supported us over the years and that have given us so many fond memories.”

Kivelstadt Cellars – making craft wines with value

Like producing a painting or restoring an old motorcycle, Jordan Kivelstadt, owner and winemaker of Kivelstadt Cellars in Glen Ellen, cherishes the experience of handing over something tangible that he has created and watching others enjoy it.

After leaving an unfulfilling career in management consulting in his early 20s, Kivelstadt was drawn into the world of wine when a friend suggested he take a harvest internship in South America. After working harvests in Chile and Argentina, Kivelstadt worked harvests in Australia, and then back in California, where he grew up. Finally, in 2007, Kivelstadt created his inaugural vintage of 125 cases of Estate Syrah, grown in the family vineyard in Sonoma County.

From there, Kivelstadt’s wine portfolio expanded, offering wines that he calls funky and unusual, but “not so different that they scare people away.” Two uncommon wines Kivelstadt currently offers are an old vine Carignane, a French/Spanish red varietal, and its Wayward Son orange wine, a Roussanne/Viognier blend that’s been left on the skins longer to give it more body and tannins, resulting in a rust-colored “orange” wine.

Strictly wholesale for several years, Kivelstadt Cellars opened its tasting room in the Poppe Building in downtown Glen Ellen last September. A relaxed and inviting space with ample tables and sofas, as well as a smaller tasting bar, Kivelstadt said the tasting room reflects the same vibe he wants for his wines: approachable, unpretentious and not your stereotypical wine tasting experience.

“That’s really important to me,” he said. “I think there is a branding problem in wine right now. Craft beer and craft cocktails are hip, but ‘craft wine’ doesn’t really exist.” Maybe that can change. Kivelstadt said they’ve done what many small wineries struggle with: they’ve been able to open a cool, boutique winery with approachable prices. Kivelstadt Cellars produces approximately 3,500 cases annually, most in the $20 to $40 price range.

With an eye towards environmental stewardship, Kivelstadt Cellars is also one of the few but growing number of tasting rooms that offer wine on tap from kegs. While you can buy any of their wines in a corked bottle, Kivelstadt offers three to six wines on tap at any given time, which eliminates packaging waste and wine spoilage. They also offer a growler refill program, which nets club members a one-liter reusable growler for the price of a 75 ml bottle. (Jordan’s “day job” is CEO of Free Flow Wines, a company specializing in kegging, preserving and serving wine on tap.)

Kivelstadt Cellars currently offers tasting Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kivelstadt Cellars is in the process of revamping its kitchen to introduce food pairing this summer.

Kivelstadt Cellars is located at 13750 Arnold Dr. in Glen Ellen and can be reached at 938-7001.

Hopscotch adds color to Glen Ellen

The first thing you notice when you walk into the new Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery in Jack London Village is the multitude of colors.

A wide range of gift items line the store’s shelves, handmade by some of the finest artists and craftspeople around. Painted glass, jewelry, lamps, paintings, ceramics, chandeliers, cards, hand-carved items, vases, pendants – the list goes on and on.

Kay Young of Hopscotch
Kay Young, co-owner of Hopscotch Gifts in Jack London Village, is also a nationally known glass artist.

Co-owner Kay Young had long felt that what was missing from the Glen Ellen experience was a quality gift shop. A nationally known glass artist herself, Young has an extensive background in working with others in the art community. This experience allowed her to know exactly how to find some of the high-quality and eye-catching pieces she was looking for. Everything in the store was made in the United States, a show of support for all the artisans who do what they love and try to make a living at the same time.

Young’s business partner is lifelong painter Jordan Celso of Laytonville, who has recently branched out with his art by incorporating his original paintings on metal panels, cards and silk scarves. His work is currently at Hopscotch, as are Young’s hand-painted glass pieces, and the art and crafts of Spokane-based artist Linnea Tobias. The talents of other artists will be on exhibit in the coming months.

Young said her goal is for Hopscotch to appeal to people of all stripes, making sure that folks find that great gift and, most importantly, “make people smile.” She looks for items that are “colorful, humorous and functional.” The store’s motto is, “Where Dr. Seuss shops with Alice in Wonderland.”

Hopscotch is located on the Arnold Dr. side of Jack London Village and winter hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and may change along with the seasons. You can reach them at 343-1931 or hopscotchgiftsandgallery@gmail.com.

Savor Sonoma soon!

Join 19 wineries throughout Glen Ellen and Kenwood for Savor Sonoma Valley on March 19 to 20.

Sponsored by the Heart of Sonoma Valley Winery Association, wineries will be showcasing 2015 vintage wines straight from the barrels, sampling new releases, and offering award-winning wines paired with culinary creations prepared by local chefs and restaurants. Meet the winemakers, mingle with other wine lovers, and peruse art from local artists.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. A weekend pass is $65, a Sunday-only pass is $50. Designated driver weekend pass is $20, Sunday-only is $10.

Participating wineries are B Wise Vineyards Cellars, Chateau St. Jean Winery, Deerfield Ranch, Eric Ross Winery, Imagery Estate Winery, Kenwood Vineyards, La Rochelle Wines, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Little Vineyards Family Winery, Loxton Cellars, Madrone Vineyards Estate, Manzanita Creek Winery, Mayo Family Winery, Muscardini Cellars, Orpheus Wines, Paradise Ridge Winery, St. Anne’s Crossing Winery, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, and Ty Caton Vineyards.

For more information and tickets, go to www.heartofsonomavalley.com. Special transportation deals can also be found there.

Keeping Neighborhood Night alive in Glen Ellen

Beloved Olive & Vine Restaurant might be leaving Glen Ellen, but Wednesday night community nights are not. The Glen Ellen Star has announced it will be continuing neighborhood Wednesday nights after Olive & Vine’s departure. The Glen Ellen Star will be offering a two course prix fixe Neighborhood Night menu: two courses for $30 and no corkage fees. The new Neighborhood Night starts March 2 at 5:30 p.m.

Ari Weiswasser, chef and owner of Glen Ellen Star, has been working with Olive & Vine’s chef and owner Catherine Venturini to assure a smooth transition and to make sure that Neighborhood Night continues to be a tradition in the Glen Ellen community. “We know that Neighborhood Night has become a lovely staple in the Glen Ellen community, and we are happy that this locals night will stay in the area,” said Venturini.

Sign up for Glen Ellen Star’s email list to receive their weekly Neighborhood Night menus. Visit glenellenstar.com.

The Glen Ellen Star is located at 13648 Arnold Dr. in Glen Ellen.

Local eateries participate in Restaurant Week

Sonoma County Restaurant Week will be held March 7 to 13 and will include a wide variety of culinary options that feature local ingredients at great prices.

This seventh annual event will feature lunch and dinner specials. Over 40 restaurants will be offering lunch, which will feature a two-course, prix-fixe menu for $10 or $15. The traditional three-course, prix-fixe dinner options are still offered by all participating restaurants for $19, $29 and $39. Both lunch and dinner options feature excellent menus from Sonoma County’s world-class chefs.

Glen Ellen and Kenwood restaurants participating are Aventine, fig café and winebar, Café Citti and Palooza.

Menus for over 100 of the participating restaurants, organized by city of interest and price point can be found at www.sonomacounty.com/restaurant-week with more being added every day.

Business Blurbs

Attention all pool sharks – Palooza Gastropub and Wine Bar now has a pool table upstairs. Four quarters will get you a game, so show us what you’ve got!... Learn all about Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and diversifying your portfolio on Thursday, March 3. 6 p.m., at Landmark Vineyards in Kenwood. The workshop is free; catered appetizers will be paired with Landmark wines. RSVP to Rey Frimmersdorf at rfrimmersdorf@ifgrr.com or 539-7790… the Kenwood Village Market has its ATM machine up and running again so if you don’t want to make a trip to the bank, get your cash there… Wine, live music, and oysters are on tap at B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen every Sunday starting March 6, and running through Oct. 20… Speaking of oysters, remember you can get $1 oysters from 3 to 5 p.m. at the KenWood Restaurant Wednesday through Sunday.



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