The little town of San Martin, California in 1934 was rural, a day's travel from the "big city" and sorely in need of a market to supplement the food people grew for their own tables.
John Bonfante's determination to provide such a service, much like Tom Raley's determination to build a Placerville store in 1935, had more to do with youthful enthusiasm and gutsy attitude than with cold, hard common sense. After all, it was the middle of the greatest economic depression the country had ever seen.
But soon, the sale of butter at cost, the addition of self-service baskets and a preference for cash instead of charges, found John asking his brother Mike to join him as they opened a second store in San Juan Bautista. The more service they extended, the more customers they attracted.
In 1949, Mike struck out on his own just north of Morgan Hill. The cities and towns changed, but the philosophy never wavered. In fact, the commitment to fine perishables and extraordinary service became more intense as Mike prepared to realize his dream: the 1961 opening of a brand-new, ultra-modern supermarket in Morgan Hill.
After his son Michael joined him, the two expanded the business to a huge store in Gilroy. The 1970s brought expansion to the San Jose area, where the Nob Hill name and reputation quickly caught on. There were 10 stores by 1978. The '80s brought more stores and the addition of service seafood, deli and bakery departments, all adding to the Nob Hill image.
With so many similarities to Raley's, Nob Hill Foods' 1998 welcome into the Raley's family of stores was a natural. Today, Nob Hill has 22 stores, all staffed by employees willing to go the extra mile to maintain service standards set by Mike and John Bonfante so many years ago.