Local grocer returns home

Entrepreneurs, shoppers and city officials celebrated the return of a historic 50-year old family-run grocery store to a little neighborhood between San Francisco’s Western Addition and Alamo Square Thursday after a six-year absence.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and James “Tick” Falletti, owner of Falletti Foods, cut the ribbon on his new 6,000 square-foot shop at the corner of Broderick and Fell streets, part of the new Broderick Place development put together by his family, The Lalanne Group and Signature Properties.

The 16,500 square-foot development also includes 70 condominiums, a Bank of America and several other businesses.

“You have prepared a banquet for all your sons and daughters,” said St. Ignatius Church pastor Father Charles Gagan, after praying for the recently-deceased James Kim, and before blessing all the businesses in Broderick Place.

In 1956, Falletti’s father, Jim, and uncle, Lou Falletti, opened the original Falletti Foods six blocks away. They and their family continued in business until the end of the 1990s, when they lost their lease. Their other family-owned grocery in Foster City also closed, Falletti said, leaving them seeking a new opportunity. They had a lot of support.

“When the Fallettis lost their lease at Masonic and Fulton [streets], one of the neighborhood groups said, ‘We want to find you a new location,’” Robert Lalanne said, citing the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association and groups from the North of Panhandle, Buena Vista Heights, the Haight and Divisadero neighborhoods.

Seeing that the local Bank of America branch had a big property across from the DMV office with a large, underused parking lot, Falletti said he approached the bank about selling its land. The bank agreed, with the condition that it receive a long-term lease in the new development. Lalanne, fresh from his Alamo Square McAllister Mews project, was brought on as developer, and later Signature Properties came aboard.

The new store also kept a few old faces.

“It’s nice. This job, I started in high school, I went to college … I paid for college working here,” said Falletti General Manager Alan Miloslavich, who spent the interim between the past and present stores as a general contractor. “To come back to the neighborhood … is unheard of.”

In grocery years, 2000 was a long time ago. Organic and natural products hadn’t yet hit the mainstream. Neighborhood grocery stores were convinced they had to go big. Now, Falletti said, his store will focus on having a range of foods and price points, including higher-end natural products, and will focus on being a good small grocery.

There are 11 condo units left for sale in the development, primarily two-bedrooms.

“We worked hard to make a project that would meet the character of the neighborhood but be a nice addition,” Signature President Michael Ghielmetti said, adding that the development is more family-sized than many. “The sizes are a little bit bigger than you see in some San Francisco condos.”

Businesses in Broderick Place

» Falletti Foods

» Peet’s Coffee & Tea

» Delessio Market & Bakery

» Bank of America

» La Conesta

» Another business to be determined

Source: James Falletti

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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