Sunday, May 31, 2009

After speaking with Bill...

After speaking with Bill (who legally cannot say a lot of things before he leaves), it looks like he has decided to move on from MM completely.

The idea behind the petition was to put so much economic pressure on Bill's siblings after they take over the market that they would be forced to sell the place to Bill. I never wanted to suggest that we put the market out of business--I especially feel bad about what that would do to the employees, many of whom have worked there for 10 or 20 years.

I have reposted this page with the petition removed. It can be a place where people can share information about the market, but I do not want to be behind something as irresponsible as an effort whose goal is forcing the market to close.

I feel as if I have acted based solely on raw emotion, and I apologize. My only goal was to get the community to demonstrate support for Bill, but I did so in a hasty way. Please forgive me. I apologize for taking action before I waited for the events to play out a little more--I regret that a lot.

I look forward to hearing your opinions on what can be done at this point.


  1. There is a tremendous loss to the community if Bill is gone from the Monterey Market. You can voice your feelings as much as you want but if you do not take action, time will pass, and Bill will have setup shop somewhere far enough from this community. The only action we as community members can take, is to boycott the store immediately. You must make Bill's family know that Bill is the Monterey Market. The action has to be swift, as the family can see there is a one to one correlation between Bill and the success of the market. Do not worry about the employees of the MM, as I'm sure everyone of them will leave anyway without Bill. I intend to let the Market know that I will not support the Market without Bill. It is also important to let everyone of your friends and neighbors know. Time is of the essence. I also plan to be at the market on Wednesday to show my support of Bill, on his last day.


  2. It's never wrong to express your feelings...thank goodness we live in a place where we can do so freely.

    I've felt that Bill leaving may be a done deal, but if something is important to me I'm going to make an effort to let people know that. At the least, Bill will move forward knowing how important he is to the community and how many people are thankful of his time and energy.

    Anyone can run a business and put profits first, but it takes a true entrepreneur to create a company that transcends money...that becomes an icon for a city and other businesses.

    The bottom line is that if prices increase, produce quality decreases, policies change, staff aren't happy, etc...then customers will shop elsewhere. That speaks volumes. With the new BB store opening it's suprising that the Market owners would be willing to risk losing their core customer base.

  3. EJ, just where do you think the employees of the market will go? Have you observed what is going on with job losses in the SF Bay Area lately?

    I don't way to call your attitude immature, but it sure reads that way.

  4. Please forgive me--i have no intention of [ab]using this site to further my own agenda; however, I am very interested to hear some thoughts (encouragement and criticism) regarding the possibility for and potential efficacy of an employee strike. it seems to me that, without Bill's knowledge, rapport, and enthusiasm, Monterey Market is going to deteriorate in quality and, therefore, appeal over time. This, in turn, could threaten the jobs of the employees. Could this, paired with a shared desire for Bill's return, "save" the market? Furthermore, could this effort attract the additional support of a clientele conglomerate.
    Lastly, while i somewhat fear revealing this following fact, i want to lend some reality to the scenario that i have proposed above; thus, you should know that I am a current employee at Monterey Market.

  5. I am interested in hearing from produce suppliers whether they are still able to make deliveries to MM. As a seasonal stone fruit supplier to the market, it appears to me that things must be in turmoil right now. After repeated phone calls, faxes, and messages I have been unable to reach a produce buyer there to arrange my first deliveries of the season.

    Strangely, I was even told by one of the new people that Bill would definitely be interested to know my fruit was ready and would get back to me to arrange my delivery - this was two days AFTER Bill's last day there.

    Is there a strike or boycott going on? Are the owners in denial that Bill is really gone? Has anyone been able to arrange deliveries as usual? How can they run a business if a supplier cannot make contact with their produce buyer?

  6. I stopped by a couple of times this week to see how everyone was doing, and the mood is really sad. All of the guys are really depressed--I nearly cried.

    I know some of the guys are planning to get out ASAP. Others will follow Bill if he opens another place. But it's not pretty.

    You should call and ask for Chuy. I know he was buying stone fruit last week, so he might be a good contact for you.

  7. Some of us - simply put - don't want to shop at the Monterey Market until this matter has been resolved between the Fujimoto family members. It is our choice to do that.

    However, in doing so, we also do not wish to "punish" the other businesses on Hopkins & Monterey and are going out of our way to support them. I would urge everyone to consider this option.

  8. Funny. I love Bill but he is gone and the staff and customers have already moved on. The new management is actually more involved and hands on than Bill who was not really involved with the store for the past few years. The staff have told customers that they are very happy with the new managers.

    The new managers are very pleasant and have many new ideas to improve the produce and help customers. The store is cleaner than before and the produce seems fresher.

    Fresh new blood usually rejuvenates a stagnant business and it appears the case with the new Monterey Market.

    Its a win win for Bill since his new business can compete with the new managers. Probably healthy for everyone, including the customers.

  9. Au contraire. Every time I've spoken to the cashiers, they expressed sadness about Bill's departure, spoke in hushed voices about the new management, and seemed generally concerned.

  10. I have been Bill's friend for many years. But, I do agree with the post about Bill moving on since I know about the family dispute. There are always two sides to every dispute. Bill, its time for you to move to greener pastures. Maybe set up another market?

    I've been to the store this past Saturday. The crowds were bigger than ever, the produce was fresh and the employees seemed happy.

    No one in the public wants to meddle in your family affairs. But, you've got your fame and your fortune.

    I was saddened when you encouraged the farmer and restaurant boycotts to hurt your dear business. Really, the farmers need to sell and the restaurants need your produce. What's the point?

    Perhaps, you may consider the wishes of others in your family, regardless of whatever dispute and feelings may exist.

    Your party on June 28 will mark the new beginning for you and fond remembrance of the past. I will be there with you to celebratge your new beginning.

    Please don't make your many years of hard work turn sour and ugly for the customers, the employees, your family and yourself.

    Best wishes

  11. Re: June 13

    Scott, you're such a bad liar.

  12. To J - Clearly you are not a good friend of Bill's because you don't know what you're talking about. Bill never encouraged the farmers or restaurant owners to boycott MM; shame on you for spreading such boldfaced lies.

  13. I'm a very regular Monterey Market shopper and have been a fanatic supporter of it for years. However, I'm just now learning about the recent changes at the market. I knew that Bill was resigning--that in itself was traumatic enough, but I had no idea about the family dispute. I am heartbroken! Can anyone provide an update? Most of these posts are almost a month old. Is the boycott still in effect? Has it had an effect? Is it still being advocated? I just went to Berkeley Bowl for the first time yesterday--I've always insisted on going to Monterey Market--since 1997 when I moved to the area. It brought tears to my eyes to be there--I really don't want to stop shopping at MM, but will do so if that's what's best. Please advise--many people are just now learning about what happened.

  14. What's the status of MM? I went there this past weekend and it seemed like the amount of organic produce had increased. Is there still a dispute? Have we moved on from this and life is good again?


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