By Mike Kinney
Lovingly known as The Blue Store because of the building’s bright blue exterior, the market at 23rd Street and Maricopa Avenue in Richmond has both a legacy and a relatively new owner in Nash Alawdi.
The good news is Alawdi says he’s dedicated to providing a full-service grocery store to serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods in Richmond and San Pablo.
In fact, Alawdi, who purchased the business about four years ago, said he’s invested about $45,000 to upgrade the store with new hardwood floors and a new kitchen to serve food.
“I work very hard to ensure that The Blue Store has all of the groceries, meat and produce like any large supermarket does in order to provide my customers the best of everything they may require,” he said.
The Blue Store was built in 1940 and housed Weston’s Pharmacy and Medical Uniform Shop in the 1950s, which served the needs of the patients and medical staff that worked at the historic Richmond Hospital several blocks away along 23rd Street.
Over the past five decades the building has been host to different businesses, but in more recent times it has been a neighborhood convenience store. Alawdi is stepping up the concept of convenience.
“When I saw the Blue Store, I saw it as an awesome business opportunity and I jumped on it right away,” he said.
Alawdi is a Richmond resident who has worked in the retail convenience store business for many years. He previously owned a 7-Eleven franchise in Moraga but “wanted to do something different.”
At The Blue Store, Alawdi takes pride in creating “a shopping environment for my customers that provides a great diversity of healthy foods and products to choose from.”
“I sell only fresh vegetables and fruits so my customers will have a large selection to help keep them and their families healthy,” he said. “I have a great meat department, where there is a nice selection and variety of meats and meat cuts. Steak, chicken and pork are some of our most popular selections with our customers. We hope to start an online third party delivery service for the convenience of our customers.”
Besides the color blue, what stands out the most at this story is customer service, Alawdi said.
“When people come here ,we treat customers like family,” he said. “Good service and looking out for our customers is our number one priority.”
When Alawdi isn’t working, he’s busy as a father of five children, and one of their favorite family activities is playing soccer.
The Blue Store is located at 1170 23rd Street in Richmond. Its hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight. For more information, contact the store at (510) 307-5669.