An open letter to Robert Fujimoto, the new manager of Monterey Market:
I have shopped at Monterey for more than 30 years—beginning when your parents, Tom and Mary Fujimoto, were in the store on a daily basis. Like many other patrons, I respected them for their hard work and was pleased that your brothers, Bill and Kenny, continued the business. In all these years it has flourished, mostly under the guidance of Bill, together with his wife, Judy, and your sister, Gloria. However, since the resignation of Bill and Judy Fujimoto, the place has not been the same.
In the past two weeks I have talked with many former customers, most of whom are dismayed by recent developments. The selection is limited, certain produce suppliers and restaurateurs have withdrawn their patronage, and there is an air of uncertainty.
Consequently, painful as it is, many of us have chosen to boycott the business until this market returns to its high standards, led by Bill and Judy.
I have heard that you and your sons wish to “modernize” the market. I’m uncertain what that means to you, but I am quite certain that if you polled the patrons of Monterey Market, most would not vote for modernization; we can find that at other locations. Monterey Market is our farm stand in the city, our destination for healthy, affordable produce. It’s a place where people come together, people from all parts of the Bay Area and from many countries. It is an institution unique in the Bay Area.
I am not privy to the disagreements within your family corporation, but I do know that Bill Fujimoto has been a driving force in the development of both sustainable agriculture and a market for the highest quality fresh produce in the Bay Area. He is a leader in the field who knows the business inside and out and impresses everyone with his dedication to hard work and low-key, friendly demeanor.
Disagreements within families are not unusual, and sometimes we make unwise decisions, but there is still time to correct mistakes. Please don’t make this cherished community institution the victim of shortsightedness and a refusal to resolve differences. Monterey Market needs to be run by people who understand its position in the fresh food business, not as just another up-scale supermarket. We need Monterey Market and Bill and Judy!
Veronika S. Fukson