Historical Photo

History of the Pacific Market

Pacific Market is a family-owned grocery store chain in Sonoma County, California. About an hour north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is rich in agricultural diversity and natural beauty, and is best known for being a premier wine producing region.

The late Stanley and Mary Mohar are the grandparents of the current owners of Pacific Markets. They established the family’s first market in 1945 in Petaluma. Stanley, a Yugoslavian immigrant, and Mary the daughter of an Yugoslavian immigrant met in Wyoming, fell in love, married and moved West to pursue their American dream in Northern California. Stanley worked for the Skag's Market chain (eventually renamed Safeway) before he and Mary opened their own small grocery store. Pacific Market, at the corner of Kentucky and Washington Streets in downtown Petaluma, became a neighborhood favorite. One of their children, Stanley Mohar Jr. (Moe) became a partner in the family business as the Mohars continued to expand and open new stores. At one time the family owned and operated five grocery stores including a well-loved Food City Market in the Roseland area of Santa Rosa.

Moe married a local girl, while Moe’s sister Mary Ann married a local boy. Eventually Stanley and Mary became the proud grandparents of five grandchildren; all five boys, born in the 1950’s. Moe left his parent’s Food City Market and in 1966, he opened Fiesta Market. This grocery store, in Sebastopol, was a modern gem of architecture in West Sonoma County. Its ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by the Mayor, the Apple Princess and almost all of the town’s residents, heralded a new sophistication in shopping for this mostly agricultural area. Moe put his two sons and three nephews to work in the bustling new market. After school and on weekends, the boys swept the parking lot, stocked shelves and bagged groceries.

Three of those five boys eventually bought Fiesta Market, and in 1986 Moe happily retired. The trio (Brad Mohar and his cousins, brothers Gary and Ken Silveira) expanded Fiesta Market and in April of 1998, they opened a second store in Santa Rosa. It was named Pacific Market, as a tribute to their grandparent’s first store. Brad's brother Rick rejoined the family business upon opening Pacific Market. In 2006, a huge new Pacific Market was opened in Rohnert Park, becoming the grandson’s third store. The Fiesta Market store was renamed Pacific Market in 2007.

Sonoma County shoppers have come to know all three Pacific Markets as showcases of the excellent products grown, raised and produced in Sonoma County. One of the first in Northern California to feature a dedicated organic section in the produce department, the Pacific Market chain continues to be an innovative leader known for its diverse selection of quality groceries. Pacific Market’s full service meat and fish department is staffed by accredited Union butchers who cut, weigh and wrap meat to order. This service, once a feature of most of America’s grocery stores, has nearly disappeared. Customers at Pacific Market enjoy interacting with the butchers whose expert advice makes shopping here a social and learning experience. The meat counter at each Pacific Market is the kind of place where neighbors and friends share gossip and the butcher knows your name. Specialties like free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and pork; local farmed oysters and line caught salmon; house made sausages; and tumbled, marinated meat keep customers coming back for more. When the local Dungeneous crab are in season, Pacific Market fires up the only authentic crab pots still in use north of San Francisco.

Each Pacific Market features an incredible wine department, run by Kristi Mohar. The wine aisle at each store displays hundreds of award-winning wines from Sonoma County and the World. Very limited bottlings from small boutique wineries often make it onto Pacific Market shelves. Winemakers are proud to be associated with Pacific Market and because of these nurtured relationships, wine lovers will find very special, unique and exclusive buys here. Cheese is another important feature of Pacific Market and in each store, international and local cheeses are displayed in abundance, with a trained cheese expert sharing knowledge and advice. Artisan breads and pastry, a coffee roastery, organic fresh herbs, local dairy products and bulk ingredients make Pacific Market a favorite destination of professional and aspiring chefs. And those who are too busy to cook enjoy a huge selection of deli and ready-to-serve dishes including authentic sushi that is made fresh while you watch; a giant salad, soup and olive bar; hot rotisserie chickens and a fully stocked bakery.

There is nothing ordinary about Pacific Market! Yet customers will also find a full selection of non-perishables, canned goods, frozen foods, paper products, soap, pet food, fresh flowers and anything else one would expect from a conventional supermarket. Pacific Market’s dedication to excellent service and products has earned them recognition as a “Business of the Year” and “Best Market in Sonoma County” for seven years in a row in a newspaper reader's poll. These are achievements that Pacific Market owners and employees take seriously. Gary, Ken and Brad and Rick remind you to “Eat Well!” and hope you enjoy this virtual representation of Pacific Market. Pacific Market’s team encourage you to come in and browse in person to experience the service and selection they are most proud of! They look forward to meeting you!