Monday, January 16, 2012

Dogwood's No More


Dogwood's, I was surprised to find last Saturday, is closing its doors for good.

I was shocked. I was just there a couple weeks ago to pick up some things. Everything seemed normal at the time ... vibrant ... busy. Customers were bustling in the aisles, inspecting fruit, loading up on spinach, comparing onions.

But the signs outside the store were definitive: "Closing Our Doors" is what they said glaringly on white banners with red letters. Time to go.

Dogwood's in Monrovia, CA was a community store selling produce, breads and specialty items. They had a deli specializing in interesting ethnic foods. Exotic breads were available. A salad bar. Baklava. Pickled this and marinated that. Sauces. Spices. Fresh roasted nuts. Cookies. Strange sodas.

All of it ... now gone. If I go there today, they're stripping the innards out of the place. Very sad.

The attraction of Dogwood's was the interesting and fantastic array of produce you could acquire. And for a song. Literally.

Brussel's sprouts available at Ralph's down the street for $1.99/lb. (more at times) were a mere 25¢/lb at Dogwood's. Caulifower? Not $1.99 a pound, 99¢ each ... and quite often twice the size of the ones purchased at the usual grocer's. Cherries for $1.50/lb, not $5.99/lb ... and Rainier cherries, too.

I used to love getting freshly roasted pumpkin seeds there. (I'm a pumpkin seed freak.) Pounds of spinach for creamed spinach. Squash at an insane price comparable no where else for miles and miles around.

There was an outside seating with a Hookah pipe for the gentlemen as the ladies shopped inside, complete with a "No Smoking" sign etched into the glass right beside it. (I never partook, but what a cool little distraction at a community market.)

I sought out the proprietor of the place, an amiable and smiling Persian fellow by the name Ali Baba. (No ... I'm not kidding.) He redesigned the place to his needs before he originally moved in, but found it too small for his ultimate needs. It was 5,000 square feet of building and he really needed twice that. He had sold it to some Asian investors and was in process of looking for another, larger location in Pasadena. I pumped his hand, told him a tale or two of my experiences in the place (all good) and that he and the store would be greatly missed when all was said and done. He thanked me and gave me leave to shoot some of the -photos you see here.

There wasn't much left in Dogwood's when I went in Sunday afternoon. I bought a couple bags of red pears (why in the world were there still red pears left ... ?!?), cranberries and Fuji apples.

The wind - so long fluttering in the sails of the store for years - had been taken out of Dogwood's ... and I'm going to miss it dearly.

................... Ruprecht ( STOP )