DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - April 20, 2007

Lunardi says store has family spirit

Grand opening features family members and food

by Jordan M. Doronila

Lunardi's Supermarket gave warm greetings and offered a buffet of blueberry scones, chocolate strawberries, buttery croissants, mini-bagels and strips of ham to the public at its grand opening Tuesday in Danville.

More than 50 people gathered, mingled, clapped and laughed together at the store's opening on Railroad Avenue. Company founder Alfredo Lunardi and his wife Irene attended the event, as well as their son Paul, who is company president.

"We always wanted to have a store in this location," said Paul Lunardi. "We are so pleased to be here in Danville. It's a dream come true."

"Our stores are like our home," he added. "What makes us happen is family."

The Danville store is Lunardi's eighth Bay Area branch. The supermarket chain, founded by Alfredo Lunardi, purchased the building location for an undisclosed amount from Andronico's Market last year.

The store been open at the Iron Horse Plaza on Railroad Avenue since September, but it held its grand opening now because its renovations are completed. Lunardi's staff installed a longer and bigger meat counter, doubled the size of the produce section, and expanded its grocery selection.

"We did a remodeling," said Mark Sharkey, Lunardi's store manager. "It took six months. We stayed open through all the (changes)."

"We put in different shelving," he noted. "It's more efficient."

The grand opening lasts for three weeks, he said. During this period, it will offer giveaways, prizes, Hawaiian trips, bicycles, barbeques, iPods and a washer and dryer, Sharkey said.

Like Andronico's, Lunardi's offers free range, hormone-free meat and a large collection of cheeses from around the world. It has specialty sections including a bakery, wine, deli, seafood and produce.

Danville Mayor Mike Shimansky and councilmen Newell Arnerich and Mike Doyle attended the grand opening. Also, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo, Danville Area Chamber of Commerce President Melony Newman, and former Chamber Board President Guy Greco attended.

"I know a number have been shopping here since Lunardi's opened," said Shimansky.

Alfredo Lunardi was born in Lucca, Italy. In 1950, at the age of 20, he left his native Italy to settle in San Francisco. By 1953, he had acquired a local San Francisco shop called Mother's Market, located at 23rd and Irving Street. Since then, Alfredo, with the help of his sons Ralph and Paul, has opened eight locations in the Bay Area, including Walnut Creek, San Jose and Los Gatos.

Paul Lunardi said his company's family spirit is the one of the key ingredients to the success of Lunardi's Supermarket. His store personnel offer quality service and kindness to customers.

"People are looking for a family," he said. "People embraced us."

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com

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