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Hopland to have a new grocery store

A man standing to the right of an empty deli cold case with bare carpentry framing around it.
Ken Molinaro, the owner of the future Geiger's Market Hopland, in front of the cold case he expects will be "the highlight of the store."

The owner of Geiger's Market in Laytonville has purchased the site of long-vacant Hopland Superette.

July 7, 2022 — After seven years of standing vacant, the Hopland Superette is under new ownership, set to reopen as Geiger's Hopland Market, possibly as early as Labor Day.

Ken Molinaro, a Sonoma County developer who purchased Geiger's Market in Laytonville three years ago, says he expects the Hopland store to have a full-time staff of about ten people serving local grocery shoppers as well as tourists slowing down along the highway, which passes right through town. “This was a perfect opportunity for us, being right on 101, just like our other market is,” said Molinaro. In Laytonville, he added, “we really serve two masters. We serve the local market…but more and more, the tourist market is getting to be our other master. And it’ll be the same here in Hopland. We’re really opening it to serve the needs of the local community, but there’s 14,000 cars a day go by here, and whole bunches of them, especially this time of year, are tourists.”

At about three o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, traffic was steady, and so was business at two of the medium-to-high-end restaurants within sight of the store. Now that the hotel is here, “I would guess that as time goes by, Hopland will become bigger and continue to be more popular,” Molinaro predicted.

The brown-papered windows are plastered with a “Coming Soon” sign and flyers advising people on how to apply for a job at the future Geiger's Hopland Market or take a survey on what they’d like it to carry.The store is about 6,500 square feet, approximately 6,000 of it what Molinaro calls sale space. “If I had to compare this market to a local market in the area, I would say we’re going to be obviously a very small, like Big John’s in Healdsburg, Oliver’s, those kinds of markets,” Molinro anticipated. He said most or all of the produce will be organic, which was one of the things that showed up on the survey. “We got about 250 responses,” he reported; “which I thought was incredible…the responses were all very specific: can we get fresh fish, we really want organic produce, can we get Annie’s macaroni and cheese…it really gave us a great idea of what this community is looking for, because it’s far different from the community in Laytonville.”

Wholesalers in the Bay Area, he noted, often won’t travel to the north county, especially with rising fuel prices . But he expects to be able to get commodities like fresh fish at the Hopland store, and plans to ferry specialty items back and forth between the two markets.

He is also planning to have a few tables where people can wait for a to-go order or eat something from the deli. Standing in front of a 12-foot-long cold case, he outlined his plans for what he expects will be the business’ centerpiece. “The highlight of the store is this deli,” he declared, describing a full range of salads and hand-made sandwiches with organic produce, meat sliced to order, and fresh bread. “High quality stuff, but not at San Francisco prices,” he promised. “Reasonable prices for what reasonable means today, which is way different than what it used to mean,” he acknowledged with a laugh.

He’s not planning to just quietly open the doors one day and wait for people to notice the store is in business. After the soft opening, he concluded, “we’ll definitely be having a soiree.”

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.