By Mike Kinney
A Richmond market with a rich history is set to expand with a new adjacent building that will house a Laundromat. The Richmond Planning Commission recently approved the construction of a 1,500 square foot addition to the building at the corner of 37th Street and Barrett Avenue.
Fun fact: this reporter’s grandparents once owned Val-Mar Market. The “Mar” in the market’s name is after my mother’s parents, the Martins. My grandfather Forest Martin was a well-known butcher who had other shops in the area in the 1950s and 1960s, including the old Jack Newell store at South 23rd Street and Cutting Boulevard and the Rancho Market along 23rd Street by the Veterans Memorial Hall.
The Val-Mar Market’s meat counter and deli still looks like it did back in the early 1960s, when I would sweep it up for a shiny nickel and red banana (which is what my grandfather called a cold hot dog that I would eat raw). At one point I’d saved up my nickels until I had $1.50 to buy a Duncan Yo-Yo.
Today, the Val-Mar Market remains in good hands. Owner Sadik Alammari has run the market since 2003. Reviews of the market’s product selection and service remain positive, and Norma’s Meat and Deli, the Salvadoran-Mexican eatery and meat counter operating inside the market, continues to please. The East Bay Express recognized Norma’s in a 2014 report.
Alammari is now expanding the market’s footprint with a new building for a Laundromat, which will locate in a parking lot just south of the market. The Laundromat will have 24 medium sized machines, Alammari said, adding they’re “very pleased” to open the new service in the community.