Surviving, thriving After 50 years, Taylor’s Market continues to be ‘Unofficial Community Center’ of Land Park
By CORRIE PELC Valley Community Newspapers writer firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1962, Roy Taylor and Ed Schell opened Taylor’s Market as a neighborhood grocery store on Freeport Boulevard in Land Park.
Now 50 years later, Taylor’s boasts a website that ships worldwide, the restaurant Taylor’s Kitchen, and butchering classes that have given them national notice.
The secret’s out
“We’re an old-fashioned neighborhood store like there used to be on every corner of every big city,” explained Danny Johnson, co-owner of Taylor’s Market with his wife, Kathaleen. “You can get eye drops here if you want and you can get a T-bone steak and everything in between.”
Johnson said neighborhood grocery stores like this can still be found in cities like New York and San Francisco, but in Sacramento they’re a dying breed.
“It’s something that’s not around anymore, so we’re kind of a throwback,” he said.
So what’s the secret that has kept Taylor’s Market going while others have not? Johnson said the answer is to give patrons great customer service, a great product, and just do things that other people can’t find in other places.
“This has been called sometimes the unofficial community center of Land Park and Curtis Park – people come in here shopping and they meet their neighbors and we’ve had people standing in the produce for a couple of hours talking,” Johnson explained. “You can stand outside the store and be talking to someone and someone goes by and honks and you know who they are. That’s kind of cool in a big city.”
Brian McNeil, ecommerce manager for Taylor’s Market, said it’s also the personal relationships the store has with its neighborhood customers that larger stores are missing out on.
“Many of us both work and live in the same area, and a customer sees me in front of my house and they can come right up and tell me what’s going on,” he explained. “We want to continue to have that total personal relationship with everyone that comes into the store.”
On the web
McNeil said Taylor’s continues its personal relationship with its customers through its website, www.taylorsmarket.com
“Our website has gone from being something that was done out of our break room to a full-time operation now with six employees – it’s one of the fastest growing departments in our store,” he said.
Johnson said everything Taylor’s Market offers in the store is available for purchase online.
“We ship everywhere – we ship to Brazil, we ship to Iraq, we ship to Australia, we ship to Europe a lot,” Johnson added.
“Our goal is to bring Taylor’s to outside of Sacramento to everyone else across the nation and try to deliver the same customer service level that we have within the store to people nationwide,” McNeil explained.
For customers closer to home, Taylor’s Market offers a number of classes throughout the year, such as pairing cheeses with beer and wine, and Johnson said they are looking at offering baking and pasta making classes in the future.
However, the most popular classes at Taylor’s are the butchering classes, of which Johnson said they offer eight to 10 each year. The classes typically sell out. Taylor’s Market began offering the classes due to customers always asking questions of meat department staff.
“It was only natural to be able to teach it if there’s a huge interest in it,” he added.
McNeil said Taylor’s butchering classes have become so popular, they’ve caused them to have national notoriety as they were mentioned in an article in TIME Magazine.
“We’re getting quite a bit of recognition – it’s just been a big draw,” he added. “And it helps the consumer to learn what pieces of meat they should select, what they should be looking for, and even how they can break it down at home to save some money for them as well.”
On July 10, Taylor’s is taking their butchering class up a notch by offering the Lava Lake Lamb Dinner & Butchering 101 Class.
“The owners of the (Lava Lake) Ranch will be here and Danny will break down a whole lamb at that time,” McNeil said.
And in October, Johnson said they are planning a field day at Wintun Ranch in Roseville that will include a butchering class and cooking dinner on the ranch.
In the kitchen
What allowed Taylor’s Market to start offering butchering classes was the opening of Taylor’s Kitchen in October 2009. Although Johnson said he never thought the building the Kitchen is housed in would become a restaurant (he does say his wife always did, though), he said it ended up becoming a restaurant out of necessity to generate income due to the economic crash.
“And it’s worked out, it’s excellent,” he said. “I call it an accident; my wife had the vision that it was going to be a restaurant.”
Currently, Taylor’s Kitchen is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and recently they started serving Sunday brunch, which Johnson said has been a huge hit.
McNeil said the Kitchen has become a showcase of all the ingredients customers can purchase at Taylor’s Market and make dishes at home.
“And it’s just become a neighborhood go-to place,” he added. “It’s within walking distance of almost everyone who lives in the area.”
With an obviously strong connection to the Land Park community, Taylor’s Market does what it can to give back. McNeil said one of Taylor’s main benefactors is the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center.
“Probably a good third of our customer (based) and some of our employees are members of that community and we support them whole-heartedly,” he said.
Additionally, Johnson said Taylor’s Market has been supporting the Crocker Riverside Pancake Breakfast for years, and supports many of the clubs and student activities at McClatchy High School. And for Taylor’s 50th Anniversary Gala five-course dinner event on Aug. 12, all proceeds will benefit the Sacramento Children’s Home.
So why does Taylor’s Market feel it’s important to give back to their community? Johnson simply said it’s because they like to help the community.
“Without the community’s support, the store won’t survive, and that’s why we give back to the community – it’s a two-way street,” he explained.
And what about the next 50 years?
“Taylor’s will always be here as long as it’s taken care of the right way and stays with Roy Taylor’s original vision, which was ‘small neighborhood store with good customer service,’” Johnson said. “It will survive, if not thrive.”