Spring Update: I continually hear from people who are either just learning of Traverso’s closure late last year, who are struggling in the aftermath of its closure or who what to share a special memory, which is why I have reposted this. There’s a very sweet remembrance posted a couple of days ago.
UPDATE: This afternoon, George and Michael Traverso sent an email to their customer list announcing the sale of their historic store. As you can see from the comments at the end of this post, this market is truly loved. Its absence will leave a huge hole in Santa Rosa. Please share your memories here.
It is with a sad and very heavy heart that I pass on news that I received yesterday from George Traverso.
Traverso’s Gourmet Foods & Liquors, Inc., which relocated from downtown Santa Rosa to Fountaingrove Village a couple of years ago, is in escrow. The sale will likely be final sometime shortly before Thanksgiving. The buyers are a couple from San Rafael.
“The last two years have been a real struggle,” George Traverso told me when he called yesterday with the news.
It was a big decision, a difficult decision, for he and his son Michael, who have been at the helm of the family market since Bill Traverso, George’s cousin and Michael’s uncle, retired.
The move to Fountaingrove, combined with both a struggling economy and the economic troubles of the property’s owner, Clem Carinalli, forced the difficult decision. The shuttering of Santi, the Italian restaurant that shared a wall with the beloved market, was a blow, too. The restaurant brought customers to the center and Traverso’s provided Italian wines for Santi’s monthly Supper Club dinners. When Sweet T’s Restaurant + Bar opens in the space sometime later this month, it will feature southern cuisine. Cafe Kaanapali, a Hawaiian coffee house, has been doing well since it opened in the space vacated by Caffe Centro but it doesn’t attract many fans of the Italian ingredients and local and international wines in which Traverso’s has long specialized.
Traverso’s Market was established in 1932, by Piero Carlo Traverso–or Charlie, as he was known–and was a family operation from the beginning. It has remained so until the end; they have not sold the name. When the store changes ownership, it will be known as Fountaingrove Market.
Over the next few days, I’ll post highlights of some of the features I’ve written about Traverso’s Market for both print and radio. For now, I need some olive oil, burrata, farro and wine and, while I still can, I will head to my beloved market, where they know my favorite mustard and always greet me with some of the warmest smiles I’ve ever seen.
Do you have special memories of Traverso’s? If so, please share them here.