Gerrards Market, a Redlands establishment nestled in a residential neighborhood, will celebrate its 90th year starting in January.
When Paul Gerrard bought the land on which to build his dream, Center Street had been planned to be the street through the center of Redlands. But Center Street was not the center when he applied for building permits. It had become residential.
After objections from residents, he was permitted to build the market that would benefit family chefs, grocery shoppers and local farms and groves for decades into the future. Residents, who had fought its creation, later expressed gratitude for its presence at 705 W. Cypress Ave., the corner of Cypress and Center Street.
Tom Reingrover bought the business from Paul Gerrard 20 years ago as the first step in fulfilling his entrepreneurial dreams. At age 15 he began part-time work as a box boy at Stater Bros. in Pomona. He later became senior vice president in marketing. During these years while living in Redlands, he loved shopping at Gerrards and often thought it might be nice to own a grocery store.
One day, he was prompted to call Paul Gerrard to say, “If you’re ever interested, I’d like to buy the store. Please call me, whenever.”
A few months later, Gerrard called.
“I became a local guy buying his market,” Reingrover said. “I would continue his tradition. Now, as owner of the property and the building, 65 devoted employees strive with me to be different than other chain stores in what we sell and how we merchandise all our products.
“Training during my years in a supermarket chain gave me knowledge and awareness of Southern California community preferences. We offer, with our ‘home town’ service, the products available in a super market, and we continue family service that is the tradition of Gerrards.”
He likes buying from local producers, including eggs from a local high school teacher who raises chickens. He also supports small companies by buying locally produced candles, barbecue and teriyaki sauces, dog treats, avocados, citrus fruits, apples and other seasonal products to offer customers.
Gerrards provides canned, bottled and packaged products available in traditional grocery stores, plus fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and a full meat department and bakery. It also offers many non-traditional benefits for busy families and individuals. In stores full-color, four-page advertisement, special products from their bakery and kitchen and full-service delicatessen are always listed. Single dishes or full meals, whole baked chicken, roasts, barbecued meats and desserts, are available and full catering orders are accepted.
One of the popular shopping areas is the Beer Cave, where a vast variety of beers are available.
The newest update is expansion of the furnished patio along the front of the store. The shade, wind protection, tables and comfortable chairs provide a rest stop for shoppers, conversation spot for friends, self-service coffee and a muffin from the bakery or lunch or dinner from the delicatessen.
Gerrards’ support of the city is seen often when space for Scout troop promotions is provided near the entrance, Salvation Army members ring bells and annual events at various schools are made known to shoppers.