Bobby’s Market, a unique and fun community market, opened at 1717 M Street, on the corner of M and Arbor Lane in Merced, on Aug. 12. It’s a short walk from the El Capitan Hotel.
The market features a selection of locally grown products and travel essentials and includes a build-your-own trail mix bar with locally grown nuts and fruits.
At the opening, balloons on the sidewalk next to the store looked festive blowing in the breeze, and an array of luscious-looking fresh vegetables near the entrance were alluring.
Ashley Mendez, Bobby’s Market retail clerk, was enthusiastic about the turn-out on its first day in business.
“We offer a little bit of everything,” she said, “and it’s great for anyone who needs to get a quick snack or groceries on the go. … We have rare organic flowers from a local farm 20 minutes from Merced, as well as local fresh vegetables.
“A fun feature is the trail mix bar. Customers can mix and match dark chocolate, different types of nuts, pumpkin seeds, and raisins in a bag. A lot of these items are locally grown. The bag of trail mix costs $8, no matter what type of trail mix items it’s filled with.
“A lot of our things are organic. For example, we sell organic oats and soy milk and plant-based cookies and organic jam.
“We have pasta, sauces, tofu, salsa, yogurt, cheeses, salami, chorizo and other meats, and crackers, and cold beverages.
“There is wine, beer, pre-mixed drinks, and hard seltzers.
“We have toothbrushes, toilet paper, cleaning products and eating utensils.
“On the table with the big and small bunches of fresh flowers, we have items like candles and cashmere and fig hand lotion. There are many more unique and necessary items at the market.”
Robin Donovan, managing director of the El Capitan Hotel, told the Times, “Currently, Bobby’s Market is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
“It’s the only market of its type in Merced, and is so well curated with everything from fresh vegetables and fresh flowers from a local farm, Humble Rice Farms, to snacks, drinks, pre-made cocktails, local honeys and Yeti products. [Yeti is a company founded in 2006 and based in Austin, Texas specializing in products such as ice chests, vacuum-insulated stainless-steel drinkware, soft coolers, and related accessories.] Bobby’s Market has Yeti lunch bags, a very hipster, cool product.
“Our mission is to enhance the downtown area, bring something that the downtown area doesn’t have, and provide jobs. We now have 130 employees, between El Capitan Hotel, The Mainzer, and Bobby’s. This is our way of giving back and being good neighbors to our downtown residents.
“Our goal is to be there for downtown residents, as well as our guests who are staying at El Capitan Hotel. Also, the market is a couple of blocks from The Tioga, and it would be convenient for the apartment residents to pick up pasta and sauce or other food items for a quick meal.
“Our guests traveling to and from Yosemite might be patrons. Other customers might be on a business trip, and they can stop in and get the items they need.
“Small bundles and bunches of fresh flowers come in every few days, so it would be nice for our guests who want fresh flowers for their dinner table that night.
“Bobby’s name has a history. On M Street, where the original part of the El Capitan Hotel is, there was once a baseball card shop called Bobby’s. It was on M Street where our Courtyard is, and we thought we’d pay homage to that. If you go into the market, you can see decorative collector’s item baseball cards from someone’s personal collection. It’s a nod to Merced’s history.
“Bobby’s Market is within walking distance of UC Merced’s downtown offices and the Merced County District Attorney’s Office and we’re hoping we’ll see some patronage from those mainstays of downtown.”