To close out 2016, we've asked our local neighborhood writers to choose their favorite stories from the past year, and to explain why they loved them so.
Today, we hear from Inner Sunset/Cole Valley neighborhood editor Walter Thompson:
Of all the stories I reported this year, "After 30+ Years, Cole Valley's Alpha Market To Become Luke's Local" is my favorite, because it ties together so many of the threads that run through the neighborhood. Store owner Abe Saba is beloved, and his grocery was a community hub, so his retirement was one more unexpected development in a neighborhood that's seen a lot of change in the last two years.
Not only did I interview Saba's customers, and dive into the store's history, I also had a chance to speak to new owner Luke Chappell about his plans, so this story combined everything I like about writing for Hoodline.
Below is an excerpt from the original story, published on July 17th, 2016.
Owning and operating Cole Valley's only grocery for three decades is an honor that comes with great responsibility, said Abe Saba, but he's now ready to hang up his red apron. In a few months, Alpha Market at 960 Cole St. will become Luke's Local, the first physical location of an online company that delivers groceries and prepared foods.
Saba said he decided to sell the business so he could concentrate on recuperating from a recent operation. "This is too much work for me, so I need time to take care of myself," he said. "I'm happy to retire."
The move comes at an uneasy time for residents alarmed by recent changes to their commercial strip: last year, Cole Garage closed, leaving many without a reliable mechanic and Dirk Spencer, a beloved member of the community. That same week, Doug's Suds, a corner laundromat in service for more than 20 years, also closed.
Click to continue reading Walter's favorite story of 2016, "After 30+ Years, Cole Valley's Alpha Market To Become Luke's Local."
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