“Marley’s Mellow Mood drinks are all the rage with teens. They keep buying me out! This tea is like the opposite of energy drinks. The marketing says it reduces stress, eases the mind and calms the soul. Somewhere in Pleasant Hill, the coolest kid in town has got half a case of Marley under his bed!” Nate offers me his only chair, turns a case of California Gold Yams on end for himself, and the interview begins.
CF: How’d you get into this business?
NM: My twin brother, Matt, and I were looking for a business to own. An agent showed us this market, which used to be Produce King. We liked that it had thirty years’ history. The original owners, the Martinez family, actually came in and helped us. They are produce experts. They taught us where to get the best fruits and vegetables and how to clean and sell them. They got us off the ground. This May, we celebrated our fifth anniversary as owners.
CF: You’re local boys out of Concord. Why this location, on a rural stretch of Pleasant Hill?
NM: Before we knew the store was for sale, I had been out driving in the area and thought it was a neat spot. Kids were flying kites in the park. People were out for a stroll. It was like, “Leave it to Beaver” land. I felt we could have great relationships in this community.
CF: How has that turned out?
NM: The local folks have been very generous. Our first week in business, a neighbor welcomed us with freshly baked muffins. People have been coming here for two generations, so they want us to succeed. We reciprocate by providing great produce at fair prices and by participating in many of the school and community fundraisers.
CF: Where does all this fresh produce come from?
NM: We are right in the middle of major produce growing regions. Family farms supply us six-days-a-week with truly ripe and ready to eat produce. We get the best global produce by being first in line at the Oakland and San Francisco terminals every morning at three am.
CF: How many people work at your store?
NM: We have ten employees. It’s a family business, so our Mom, Lupe, and Dad, Gerardo, and Aunt Connie are also here all the time helping out.
CF: You and Matt are identical twins. How do customers tell you apart?
NM: We may look alike, but we’re complete opposites! Matt’s the quiet one, and I’m always chatting it up. Sometimes, I’ll overhear a customer say, “Oh, that’s Nate, because he’s talking.”
CF: What do you enjoy most about your business?
NM: I enjoy the interaction with people. Before this, I worked for Walmart in an office. Now, the store is my corner office. Whether we’re supplying teens with the hottest new nutritional beverages, or helping people fulfill a healthy lifestyle with organic produce, our goal is to please our customers.
CF: Tell us about the “Coming Soon” sign in the window next door?
NM: We’re targeting this summer to open a meat market and deli. We’re going to offer top-quality meats and sandwiches in the same friendly, small-town atmosphere as the produce market.
Pleasant Hill Market is located at 2397 Pleasant Hill Road. They are open Monday to Saturday 8am to 8pm, and on Sunday 9am to 6pm. You can visit their website at pleasanthillmarket.com.