Jasmyn Soldatos of Novato has a lot on her plate. She is manager of the newly opened Dean’s Produce in San Mateo by day and is finishing her master’s degree in history at San Francisco State University by night.
Just last week, the market celebrated its grand opening at 44 E 4th Ave., down the street from Draeger’s Market. This is their second location, with their first location opening in downtown Millbrae eight years ago.
“Customers from the area kept asking us to open a closer location,” she said. “We want to make this a destination spot in downtown. We try to keep produce as local as possible and provide conventional, healthy produce, offering number one quality for a low price.”
The Soldatos family runs the store, which occupies the space that was most recently filled by Blockbuster Video. Jasmyn’s father Vasilios is the owner of both stores and originally hails from Athens, Greece and has been in the produce industry for 25 years. She said that through her Greek heritage, the family is very passionate about food and love to get immersed in it. The family resides in Novato.
She noted that they offer a wide array of international delicacies from Greece and Italy, as well as kosher products, which she says are often overpriced elsewhere.
Jasmyn said her favorite part about running the store is teaching customers about food and how to cook it.
“I’m a people person; I like to talk to people,” she said. “People are afraid to try some foods because they just don’t know what to do with it or cook it, so that’s where I like to help.”
What advice does Jasmyn offer to those looking to open a business?
“Scope out clientele and adapt to what they request,” she said. “Cater to them. They will ask for certain products. For example, in Millbrae we have less organic produce because customers care for them less. Check out public information from the city on demographics to see what might interest them as well.”
They decided to name the store after Jasmyn’s younger brother Dean, since they felt it rolls off the tongue and can be easily remembered. Jasmyn hopes to go into teaching upon completing her graduate degree, but says the shop is a great fallback.
Although the store is not actively hiring at the moment, they are accepting applications. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
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