To Sue and Phil Oak, shopping at the Scolari’s Food & Drug Company store in Gardnerville has long been more than a shopping experience.
Friday marked the last visit for the Oak family and other regular shoppers, however, when Scolari’s closed its doors after more than 23 years of operation.
“It’s sad … I want to cry,” Sue Oak said after saying her last goodbyes at the check-out stand. “This has been a really nice place to shop. You get to know everybody; they’re like family, it seems.”
Visits to Scolari’s have been a weekly ritual ever since the retirees moved to the Carson Valley in 1999, she added.
“We used to come in every Tuesday morning,” Sue said. “We always looked forward to those days.”
Scolari’s was the second major grocery store in Gardnerville when it opened July 20, 1990. Gary Allen became a regular customer from the beginning.
“I’m pretty sad about this,” he said. “I made a lot of friends here. Everybody knew my grandkids and my daughters by name.
Longtime employee John Flaherty described his departure from the store as an emotional one.
“This last week has been tough,” he noted in an email. “I can’t believe the outpouring of support from the community. I have talked to at least 100 people a day for the last week … all sorry we’re going.
“You couldn’t help but get tight with the people who shopped there. Some of my best friends are customers that I have met right here at work over the years. I’m not gonna miss them because I will still keep in touch.”
A farewell party for Scolari’s employees and customers — past and present will be held this coming Friday from 5 p.m. until midnight at Sharkey’s. Two bands will be on hand for entertainment and anyone is invited to bring a dish to share for dinner. Call Craig Ziglar for information at 265-4409.
“I’m gonna miss the whole thing,” Flaherty said. “I have seen kids go from the womb to college (customers and employees) right here in my store. It’s been a great experience.”
Two regular customers who identified themselves only as Zack and Rachel can relate to what Flaherty said about watching customers grow up.
“We wanted to come in here and say our goodbyes today,” Zack said.
Added Rachel: “We were born and raised here (in the Carson Valley), so we’ve been coming to Scolari’s since we were kids. This has been a wonderful store; the customer service has always been great.”
The company offered a brief statement after the closing was announced early last month.
“After 23 years of operation, the difficult decision to close this store was based on a number of business factors,” according to a statement issued by the Reno-based company. “Store associates will be offered jobs at other Scolari’s locations.”
Scolari’s was also the location of the Department of Motor Vehicles kiosk for Carson Valley residents that opened in 2011. No official announcement for a new kiosk location has been announced by DMV.