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Long-time Naples market looks to future

Photos

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Vasiliy Baziuk

Amber Rushman, 14, and Shelby Moschiano, 17, of Naples play with the new interactive touch screen kiosk at Rennoldson's Market in Naples on Thursday, Feb. 3.

  
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By Mike Maslanik, staff writer
Posted Feb 13, 2011 @ 05:00 AM
 
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A new name is just the first of several changes in the works for a downtown fixture where residents have gone grocery shopping for the last 65 years.

In November, Bob and Irv’s changed the name of the venerable business to Rennoldson’s Market. Soon after, the store launched a website and installed a touch-screen display that helps customers find recipes. In the coming year, the store will undergo an extensive renovation and expansion project to enhance its appearance and shopping experience.

Steve Rennoldson, whose grandfather started the business, said he wanted to change the name to honor his ancestors while moving the business into the future.

“We want to continue to operate a full-service supermarket right downtown,” Rennoldson said. “I think we do try to stay up on, if not ahead, of the trends.”

He noted that the grocery store was among the earliest independent stores to carry organic and natural foods.

The store’s origins began soon after World War II, when Bob Rennoldson and his military buddy Irv Barber decided to go into business. So they purchased the old Meyer Meat Market, which used to be at the site of the Naples Library.

The two changed the name of the store to Bob and Irv’s and operated out of that location until 1952, when the business moved to its current location, which was at the time an automotive garage.

In 1972, Bob Rennoldson’s sons, Rick and John, bought out their father’s share and partnered with Barber until they bought him out in the late 1980s.

After Steve’s uncle John retired in 2003 and his father Rick stepped aside in 2008, he found himself sole owner of the grocery store, the first in its long history.

Just as the grocery has become part of the community, so has the family that owns it. Rennoldson coaches youth soccer, and his wife, Renae, is president of the Naples Community Park Board.

Like many independent shop owners, Rennoldson said his business faces stiff competition from bigger stores, such as Wegmans and Walmart.

“My challenge is to remove the reason for customers to leave town,” he said. “So we try to offer everything we can and hope people factor in the cost of gas and the value of their time.”

To keep up with changing shopping habits, the store prides itself on making hot, pre-made meals and offering a wide selection of fresh meats and produce. Rennoldson hopes the new addition to the store will also keep residents and tourists in town to do their shopping.

The good selection at a fair price is what keeps Carol Martino of South Bristol shopping at the store.

“They have really good meats here,” Martino said, as she perused cuts of beef. “I’d rather buy my meat here than anywhere else.”

Rennoldson said he is proud to continue the family business and looks forward to perhaps passing it on himself.

“I have a daughter who says she wants to be the fourth-generation owner of the store,” he said. “She also wants to be the first female owner of Rennoldson’s.”