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Davis, California

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Woodland-based Nugget Markets expand to Sonoma


In late February, Nugget Markets purchased Sonoma’s Glen Ellen Village Market and Sonoma Market

On Feb. 24, Woodland’s Nugget Markets announced that they would be purchasing Sonoma-based Glen Ellen Village Market and Sonoma Market. The deal is expected to close on March 31.

Don Shone opened Glen Ellen Village Market in 1963 and was joined shortly after by Dale Downing, his brother-in-law. Together, they opened Sonoma Market in 1985.

Nugget Markets is a family-owned company which opened its first store in 1926. The Stille family still runs and operates the business, which has grown steadily over the years and now employs approximately 1,300 people. The company is known for its high-quality produce as well as its community based and employee-friendly culture. It is currently listed at number 11 on Fortune Magazine’s list “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

In an email interview, Kate Stille, director of Marketing at Nugget Markets, highlighted that Shone and Downing sold the stores to Nugget because of their shared values and philosophies. Some of these values include providing support to local communities and recognizing employees through various benefits.

“The sellers were looking to sell the business to another family-owned and operated business so that they can retire,” Stille said. “Both parties feel that Nugget Markets and the Sonoma Market pair are a perfect fit.”

After the purchase is complete, Nugget Markets, which currently has 13 stores across the Greater Sacramento area, will operate 15 stores. It is understood that the names of both Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Village Market will not change and that the management and staff will remain in place with no cut to their pay.

Peter Chavez, a third-year international relations major at UC Davis, lives in Woodland and shops at Nugget Markets because of its proximity. He says that he chooses to shop at Nugget because of the values the company pushes.

I like that it’s different from other grocery stores in general,” Chavez said. “The aura is nicer, it seems a lot more clean more often, the people are often happier. I have a lot of friends that work at Nugget too and they’re all happy. It’s a good culture, it’s a different experience […] a much more personalized experience.”

Sonoma Councilmember Gary Edwards emphasizes that Glen Ellen Village Market and Sonoma Market were a central part of the local community and often embraced charitable causes. He feels that the community, overall, is not opposed to the takeover and trusts Shone and Downing’s judgment.

“The community has always been very supportive of Don and Dale and their family and I think that they trust their decision of who to sell to, as keeping their [own] standards in place […] They are some of the most generous people I have ever met in the work that they do, and I think it’s completely amicable with the family, the selling and picking the right company to sell to,” Edwards said.

Nugget Markets’ shared philosophy with the Sonoma stores has obviously been a major reason for the acceptance of the deal by Shone, Downing and the local community. However, Councilmember and former Mayor of Sonoma David Cook admits that the community is still in dismay at the departure of the original owners.

“I think it’s sad for any small community to lose icons and legends, they’ve been here forever and I assume they are going to stick around, everybody knows the Shone family,” Cook said. “I think everybody knows things change and they were going to retire and there didn’t seem like there were any other family members [who could take over], and it was time for them to retire.”


Written By: JUNO BHARDWAJ-SHAH – city@theaggie.org


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