Notes from Glen Ellen: Meet 7 of the good folks from Glen Ellen Market
It’s about time we got acquainted with the good folks at the Glen Ellen Village Market. We see and greet them every day over the asparagus or in the wine aisle, so just who are these friendly people?
Gary is the happiest check-out clerk the world has ever known. He was raised in the icy northern temperatures of Maine, but came to warmer surroundings 30 years ago, never returning to the rocky shores of the northeast. He transferred to the West Coast on business, fell in love with the expansive possibilities of the West and has lived here ever since.
Living for years in San Francisco, Gary moved up to Glen Ellen from the city when he retired. His current role at the market is “more like a hobby” to him, and, noticeably a social soul, he adores it. Gary’s sunny, cheery greetings can lift you out of the shopping doldrums in a flash. When not uplifting us from his perch behind the check-out counter, he concedes that he loves gardening and landscaping. Oh, and his dogs.
Bianca Blair Ruffin
Bee is a force of nature from behind the check-out stand. With her background in marketing, she has worked at Massage Envy in Sonoma for several years, and also worked promoting North Shore resorts.
From Berkeley originally, Bee is now living on Warm Springs Road. When asked about her interests, she laughs and bursts out with “Fingernails!” and indeed her glowing pink nails are on prominent display. “I take pleasure in being girlie,” she exclaims and, strangely, she loves cleaning the house.
Bee lost her auto in the flames of 2017 and is hoping that in 2020 a good car will come her way. Then, she says, “I can hustle and bustle.”
Joe is the 39-year-old full-time manager of the market. Joe is always running, sorting out problems, gently nudging shoplifters, restocking shelves, but always open to banter with locals.
Part Samoan, Joe sports a traditional Samoan tattoo on his arm. A graduate of St. Helena High School in Napa Valley, he is raising his three kids, Keoni, Makai and Kulani, in Napa.
At a loss for words when asked about his outside interests, he finally exclaims, “My chickens! We have seven chickens in our yard that we love.”
Joe’s vision for the market is to engage more local vendors. Local farmers and producers should contact Joe, and he’ll promote your harvest on the market shelves.
Mitch is the meat-manager guy in the white smock behind the crabs and sirloins. “I’m a 40-year meat guy,” he said last month while taking a break from ordering Christmas hams, salmon and goose.
Mitch has spent most of his life in the Valley, now living in Bennett Valley near the golf course. When not organizing the meat counter, Mitch is a big runner and cycler, loving nothing more than running the wet and muddy trails of Trione-Annadel State Park this time of year. An all-around sports guy, he’s completed triathlons and other endurance races, adores snowboarding, and putters around the golf course, preferring the Oakmont course. But, above all, he loves the trails of Sugarloaf, Trione-Annadel and Sonoma Mountain.
He loves to “nourish” Glen Ellen with his meats, and feels “it’s an honor and pleasure to serve the people of Glen Ellen.”