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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.

 

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ron CROCKER

    We lived about three blocks from Traverso’s when it was on the corner of A and 1st. That was back in 1963 and 64. I was stationed at the Two Rock Ranch Army base and my wife worked at Pacific Bell downtown.

    We had just gotten married and were a long way from our home in New Mexico and really appreciated the family like atmosphere there at Traverso’s. Being from the ‘sticks’, this was our first exposure to everything Italian and we loved it. They provided our first encounter with Chianti wine and hard salami. We were amazed by the huge ‘pillows’ of cheese too.

    We loved Traverso’s and we have nothing but fond memories of everything about our time in Santa Rosa.

    Fm Georgetown, TX now.

    March 15th, 2014 7:48 am

  2. Charles Henninger

    My Nonna & Nonnu, August & Marie Bertolucci, lived in Santa Rosa, Ca from when Traverso’s Market first opened. My Mother & my Aunt were their Daughters & they always had wonderful stories of Traverso’s Market. Around 1960, my Mother & Father moved to Hawaii & from as far back as I can remember, even in Hawaii, we would regularly enjoy the wonderment of Traverso’s Market. Each year, at least once or twice, my Nonna sent us a “Care Package” through the US Mail, all the way to Hawaii! It was always filled hard salami, swiss cheese, focaccia bread, biscotti and other various delectable Italian treats. I grew fond of this & would always ask when the next “care package” would arrive.
    After I graduated HS, I moved to Santa Rosa, in February of 1981, to live with my Nonna. Shortly after my arrival, my Nonna & I jumped in her Buick & drove the 2-3 blocks to Traverso’s. Previously, I’d been there as a child, so I instantly recognized the pungent smells of all things Italiano. I just loved how I could feel the amazing “old world” vibes & atmosphere of the one & only Traverso “La Famiglia”. It was like being thrown back in time, to when life was simpler & everyone immediately knew the other by name. “Hello Marie”, they all said. Of course they asked, “& who is this young man with you today?” My Nonna says, “This is my grandson Charles, (but he likes to be called Charlie)”. They responded with, “Well we have another Charlie here today!”, of couse they were talking about “Piero Carlo Traverso”, AKA – “Charlie”. Incidentally, everything we would take home was always “on account”, as my Nonna still used her original credit account with them ’til her passing in 1993.
    It was always such a wonderful experience to visit there. Although I moved back to Hawaii around 1990 I never forgot Traverso’s, in fact I was able to enjoy their treats on subsequent return visits. However, it’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve tasted anything from Traverso’s & being unable to travel for the past 12-13yrs, I’ve diligently checked & hoped that Traverso’s would offer mail order services. Alas, today I find I’ve waited too long since the last time I checked, only to find out they are gone. I’ve a great hole with a heavy weight on my heart for hearing this news but to the Traverso’s please know that the Bertolucci Family Tree will always remember.
    Thank You & God Bless

    May 10th, 2014 6:36 pm

  3. MicheleAnna.Jordan

    Thank you, Charlie, for this wonderfully evocative memory of the Traversos. I hold out hope they will reemerge. Where in Hawaii are you?

    May 13th, 2014 1:33 pm

  4. gay traverso

    I’m now 64 years old. I remember my father telling me about his mother’s sister in santa rosa with the market and shoe repair store (don’t hear much about shoe repair any longer). My father’s name was Andrew and his father;s name was Andrew. Andrew was the son of Erminia Green, remarried after first husband Andrew passed. Dad’s brothers were Elmo, Louis and Joe. They have all passed on. “Traversos never die; they just pasta away.”

    June 7th, 2014 8:06 am

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