Note: This article is one of a series celebrating Mariposa Memories and was originally published during 2009
A Grand Opening on the evening of July 1st was held for the locals to say 'Thank You', for their support. Kirstie comments, "I wondered if it was ever going to happen. The locals were very supportive and without them I don't know if I could have done it." The old store burned down on April 21, 2008 a few weeks after Kirstie took possession. She opened the new store on May 28, 2009. The people of El Portal get special privileges like a Coffee Club and Personal Accounts. The market is open from 7:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. everyday and has seven full-time employees.
The market is stocked with a little of everything for locals and tourists. Organic produce and a good size local wine section, most under $20 can be found. The Deli section has fresh sandwiches and salads. The tables in front of the fireplace make a nice place to enjoy your lunch. The clientele is made up of residents and tourists. It is the only store between Midpines and Yosemite Park on the drive along the Merced River Canyon. The river is steps away across the road and the entrance to Yosemite is a few miles up the highway.
The market was so busy, Kirstie found it hard to find time to answer questions. The customers lined up at the two checkout registers. The locals all expressed happiness at having the store open again. Artist Susan Bolen was hanging some of her paintings on the walls and is very pleased to have a place to display and sell her art locally. Another local artist, Penny Otwell has one of her works of art already hung up on the walls.
It was sad to see the old store burn, but everyone hopes that the new store will thrive and prosper.Linda Gast