MAR-VALous? MARket-VALue? The 49er Festival Platinum sponsor’s name even conjures up images of galactic superheroes. Bet you didn’t know that the brand, established in 1952, is a combination of cofounders Mardee and Val Kidd’s first names.
In an era where small and medium-sized grocers are disappearing, the Mar-Val brand is a rarity. Mardee and brother Val Kidd’s first store was at the corner of Hutchins Street and Kettleman Lane in Lodi. Headquarters is still in Lodi, but their markets are scattered between Colfax, Escalon, Nice, Georgetown, Groveland, Prather, Valley Springs and Willows.
"We feel we can get in with the community and become a part of it (in smaller areas)," said Mark Kidd, son of the founder and current CEO. "We stay out of the reach of the big city supermarket chains."
Mar-Val’s motto is “Small enough to appreciate you, big enough to serve you.” And therein lies the beauty of their approach. The locals know…just walk into the spacious and well-stocked Groveland store and it’s apparent. It seems like Sue, on check stand number 3 is always there…fast, friendly, and super-efficient. Sue has been checking out Groveland’s customers for more than twenty years–a full five years before Mar-Val bought the Main Street Market. Sue seldom (if ever) skips a beat.
We were surprised to learn just how many people make up our Groveland Mar-Val team. According to Crystal, who serves as floor manager on store manager Justin's days off, the majority of Mar-Val’s seventy-ish staff members live "up the hill" in Groveland, Coulterville, Greeley, Big Oak Flat and surrounding areas. Ashley manages the full-service deli (the holidays are coming–don’t forget Mar-Val caters!) and Brian oversees the Meat counter. Rebecca rules Produce and Kim is the overnight manager–that wonderful night owl who makes sure orders get received and shelves are restocked for the morning’s customers. The place runs like clockwork. Friendly, efficient clockwork.
Mar-Val may be the only supermarket for miles, but this team doesn’t rest on its laurels. In our busy Groveland store, these dedicated employees–from the deli to the meat counter, produce to the bakery and desserts aisle, bagging to shelving, opening at 7, closing at 9, pulling overnight shifts to get ready for tomorrow–are always on the go.
Mar-Val–a loyal and long-time sponsor of the 49er Festival–has made a commitment to the rural communities it serves that goes beyond providing a full-service grocery store with a surprising selection of gourmet and popular food items. The company offers a scholarship p